Reserve Bank testing new payment system in South Africa – launching this year

 ·25 Jan 2023

BankservAfrica is currently testing a new rapid payments programme (RPP) platform in South Africa.

The new system forms part of the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) Vision 2025, simplifying and making real-time payments more affordable and efficient – even for those without a bank account.

Summarily, it will allow people to make almost instant payments using simple identifiers such as a mobile number or email address.

BankservAfrica said that it expects the RPP, which will be launched under the brand Payshap, to become the preferred e-payment option in South Africa soon after launch, reported Daily Investor.

“It will deepen financial inclusion and contribute to building a safe, reliable, and efficient National Payments System,” said BankservAfrica.

The CEO of BankservAfrica, Jan Pilbauer, said that the new system would mean that a customer does not need a bank account number or a branch code to transfer money.

The project is expected to go live later this year.

In June 2022, the SARB said that the RPP, when fully implemented, would support retail payment use cases and was under the leadership of the Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) and BankservAfrica to develop the legal construct, namely the formation of the payment clearing house and the establishment of the RPP scheme.

How it will hold up

The Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) has broken down just how much new and old systems of payment in the country compare to international standards.

According to the group South Africa is at the forefront of implementing global payment standards and is an active contributor to those standards.

Mariekie Mincher, the manager for operations support at PASA, said that the new RPP programme (PayShap) will utilise the universal standard of ISO 20022.

ISO 20022 is a global standard for financial transaction messaging that was only adopted by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) in November last year.

The central bank said that ISO 20022 would introduce a harmonised message exchange mechanism for payment across the globe, allowing for richer, better-quality data in payment processing and settlements.

“Under the leadership of BankservAfrica and PASA, this industry-led initiative promises a cost-effective instant payment service across banks, a proxy service to embed user banking details (e.g. the ability to pay to a mobile number), a request-to-pay service, and support for several known retail payment use cases,” said PASA.

“Importantly, the new system will provide rapid payment functionality to unbanked consumers who would benefit from digital payment facilities. Of course, banked consumers will also enjoy greater convenience and easier transacting with the introduction of Payshap.”

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