The First Digital Wallet In South Africa

I heard there was some sort of digital shopping something-something being launched in SA (the first digital wallet in South Africa), so when Sam asked me to represent Tech Girl at the Standard Bank MasterPass event, I planned my outfit while RSVP’ing (FYI, Bankers wear suits NOT skinny jeans & a skull t-shirt). I’m a girl, who likes to shop and like things simplified, so I they had my interest (bad banking joke) from the get-go.

Arno Carstens serenading us at the launch of Masterpass in SA.
Arno Carstens serenading us at the launch of Masterpass in SA.

What is MasterPass?

MasterPass (a concept from Mastercard international) is essentially an app developed to simplify online shopping.

 How does it work?

If you’ve ever done any online shopping before, you’ll know how infuriating the checkout system is: so many details to fill in, so little time. MasterPass was developed, in essence, to simplify that. All you need to do is:

  1. download the Standard Bank MasterPass app from Apple, Android or BlackBerry app store
  2. add your payment card credentials (credit & debit)
  3. complete your profile

And voila, you’ll have a MasterPass digital wallet.

Huh? What is a digital wallet? Why do I need one?

This digital wallet is a safe-zone which will store all your card details so when making online purchases, you’ll never have to haul out your purse and fill in your credit card details, you’ll just need to select the payment option of MasterPass when checking out and it will remember all of them for you.

Pretty genius.


But what if I don’t bank with Standard Bank?

Standard Bank is the first bank in South Africa to launch a digital wallet. The great news is that you can bank with any SA bank and still be able to utilize the MasterPass technology without incurring any extra costs.

 The downsides

So right now it’s all sounding kind of peachy – a super convenient & safe way to shop online. My personal feeling is that the concept is great; it just needs a bit of time to grow within the South African market before I’d use it.


There are currently only three SA merchants who are utlising the MasterPass technology.




None of which I currently make enough purchases on to justify downloading an app just for them.

When we catch up to global merchant buy-in (in the US alone, Mastercard have got everyone onboard from Starbucks to JCrew) I’ll buy-into the app too.

Oh and if you’re using a Windows operating system on your device, you’ll need to hold on for another 3 months before trying to download the app. They’re working on it though.


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