Four digital payment trends to tap into in 2021

2021 will continue to see the digitisation of payments across various industries including retail, professional services and ecommerce. Online payment gateway, PayFast saw unprecedented growth in industries which previously had a limited need for digital payments. These included a 1 787% year-on-year increase for online liquor stores; a 683% uptake in telecommunications services and a 512% increase in restaurant orders. These figures are based on total payment volumes processed in 2020 compared to 2019.  

“We are noticing a big change from the pre-pandemic era, when businesses did not see digital payments as essential. Following on from last year, this has become a top priority as consumers expect personalised, convenient online payment options from local brands,” says Jonathan Smit, Managing Director and Founder of PayFast. 

For many businesses that had previously relied on selling their products or services in person, accepting online payments has been a significant step in digitising their offering to the local market. As ecommerce adoption rates continue to soar, digital payment solutions will need to keep pace to ensure that customers continue to shop online.

Smit predicts that 2021 will continue to see an uptake in ecommerce use and digital payments in the following ways:

  1. Contactless continued – contactless payments have become widely accepted. Whether it be by smartphone, card or wearable device – tap-and-go has become a convenient staple for South African shoppers. Additionally, many are still wary about the COVID-19 virus spreading through surfaces and cash. 
  2. Made for mobile – as more brands make use of social media to build their online stores, consumers will continually look for more seamless payment experiences that are mobile-friendly. This year will see the continued use of smartphones for ecommerce purchases – as well as further penetration of digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Huawei Pay into the local market. 
  3. Scan to pay fast-tracked during the pandemic, QR code and app-based payment method allows buyers to pay without touching any surface other than their own phone. Payments can be made at till points, restaurants, for parking and for online shopping – as vendors across the country adopt the technology. Brick-and-mortar retailers are accelerating this trend by offering a reward programme linked to payments made in-store via their app. 
  4. Flexible payment options – going into the new year, consumers are more financially stretched than ever. This will result in more flexible payment options for retail brands in their ecommerce stores. Solutions like the Buy Now Pay Later model allow local shoppers to make interest-free repayments over a set amount of time, helping with monthly household cash flow.  

In 2019 PayFast became part of the DPO Group, spurring the growth of the largest African payment service provider. As South Africa’s leading online payment gateway, the company enables easy, secure and instant transactions helping online businesses succeed in the digital economy. PayFast offers merchants a variety of payment methods to better serve their customers including credit cards, Instant EFT, debit card, Mobicred and Scode. 

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