Shopping without cards, cash or cables

I don’t carry cash ever. I spend a huge amount of time scrounging for money in my car to pay for parking. I rely solely on my Cheque Card. Which is a problem when you switch from small evening clutches to my daily “carries everything AND the kitchen sink” bag, mainly because I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve forgotten my card in my evening clutch and opened my purse the next day to pay for lunch… only not being able to pay for lunch.

While losing your card is one thing, attempting to pay at a new stall at the likes of Market on Main and being greeted with the “sorry we don’t accept cards line” is enough to send me into a little foot stamping strop. It seems though, that Standard Bank has backed a solution. The new SnapScan App is available for iOS and Android smartphones as well as some Blackberry devices.

Best part about SnapScan? Anyone can use it. You don’t have to be a Standard Bank client – whether seller or buyer – your bank preferences won’t matter. If you manage a small business or weekend store at Neighbourgoods, you’ll be charged a flat fee of 3% per transaction – not to shabby for small business owners.

Okay, here’s how it works:

1. You download the free app on your phone

These male tech journos took some time scanning in their credit card details – we’re presuming you likely know yours off by heart

2. SHOP!!


Love these African Queen wrap bands with inspiration words.
Love these African Queen wrap bands with inspiration words.

3. Open SnapScan, Scan the Snap Code, enter the amount you want to pay & confirm with a four digit pin.

The store receives SMS confirmation of your payment
The store receives SMS confirmation of your payment



There were two issues that concerned me and are likely weighing heavily on your mind too. I think I’ve got them covered:

With our unreliable cellphone networks – what are the chances of being left in the lurch when payments don’t go through, there is no signal or the store owner’s SMS delivery is delayed?

My service provider is notorious for letting me down so there are obviously concerns here. However, according to Shoba, who owns Yogiberry in Maboneng, an issue like that hasn’t happened to her since using SnapScan in her business (she’s been utilising the app for a few months). It’s bound to happen at some point but here’s hoping it is an exception, not the norm.

I’m giving you my credit card details, how secure is this really?

This one always worries me. How safe is our data really? I got a chance to chat to the developers from FireID, Malan Joubert and Kobus Ehlers. Malan explained that SnapScan is likely more secure than your usual card machines. Card machines pull data from your card, while Snap Scan pushes data to the merchant’s phone. They no longer have access to your card at all really. When you register you get a one time pin and an encryption code, so Kobus says your data on the app is safe. In order to make payments your unique pin is needed. If your phone is stolen, these tech geniuses can shut down your account in minutes courtesy of the encryption code.

SnapScan was also the overall winner of the 2013 MTN Business – App of the Year Awards. So I’ll risk it and say we’re safe. The real winners here are Standard Bank, in a smart move they’ve allowed millions of people access to a banking infrastructure usually reserved for those signed up with the bank. A comment that John Campbell, CEO of Standard Bank’s innovation division Beyond Payments, has stuck with me and it is one all companies, not only those in banking, should take head of:

We don’t create things the techies like. We create things that solve real world problems

I'd love to chat to you some more.


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