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Absa serves up new tech for SMEs

Innovative SmartPay device is mobile, flexible – and smart.

If there’s one thing entrepreneurs and business owners in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) space have come to appreciate, it’s this: customers want to able to make payments quickly and easily.

There is nothing more demoralising or damaging than securing a sale, then being unable to process the payment. It’s bad for the immediate bottom line, and it can do immense damage to one’s brand and professional reputation, affecting future earnings too.

Absa stepped in to assist with its Payment Pebble product in 2013 and, with the benefit of this experience (some operational difficulties were identified) as well as the improvements to technology seen in the past five years, launched its new-generation replacement – the Absa SmartPay device – in December

More than 1 000 SmartPay devices have already been taken up, according to Antoinette Barnard, head of business merchants and merchant events at Absa.

The SmartPay product offering will grow in line with the requirements of the SME market, she says. “We will bundle products that are SME-specific under SmartPay, with the first being a new mobile point-of-sale device.”

The target market is SMEs with an annual turnover of R5 million or less.

Mobile, compatible

While traditional point-of-sale (POS) devices are aimed at brick-and-mortar businesses, the SmartPay device is aimed at entrepreneurs and small businesses who are on the move and require a mobile payment solution.

Merchants will be able to accept Visa, MasterCard and UnionPay credit and debit cards, be they chip, magnetic stripe or Tap ’n Go PIN cards.

Additional features coming soon will include Pay In Your Currency, which allows international cardholders with a PIN card to pay for their transactions in their own currency as well as the acceptance of American Express and Diners International cards.

The SmartPay device is also compatible with Samsung Pay, which makes use of Near Field Communication (NFC) to give Samsung users the ability to make payments using their smartphone or even their Samsung Gear smartwatch. It adds an additional layer of security in that the consumer’s bank card remains safely in their wallet.

Uninterrupted connectivity

The new device works independently of a smartphone or tablet and comes with a dual SIM facility. Absa has partnered with MTN and Vodacom to ensure that SmartPay users always have coverage and never need to worry about connectivity issues.

“We have previously seen clients struggle with smartphone compatibility, network coverage problems, and constantly needing to upgrade their Android or Apple software,” says Barnard. “The dual SIM capability on the SmartPay device neatly addresses all those issues.” If one of the networks is experiencing problems, the SmartPay device automatically switches to the other network, ensuring that the client has uninterrupted service.

SME businesses can now also go paperless using the option to send clients an electronic receipt – either via SMS or email, at no additional cost.

No contract required

Rather than tie the SME business into a contract, SmartPay is offered at a monthly rate of R199 per device with a requirement of 30 days’ notice.

The dual SIM card, SMSs and email receipts are included at a transactional fee of 2.5% on both credit and debit cards and 2.75% on international cards. Users have the option of choosing to be billed for transactional fees at month-end or they can be billed net settlement the next morning.

The device is delivered directly to the client via courier at a cost of R250 for the first three devices in the same delivery. If the client requires more than three devices, the delivery charge drops to R100 per additional device in the same delivery.

Devices that are not in use will need to be returned, and a courier fee of R250 will apply. However, considering this fee versus the monthly rental of R199, it makes more sense for a business owner to simply keep the device – and thus the service – if they are only going to shut down for one month, as when taking a holiday, says Barnard.

Online support

Absa’s SmartPay offers an online merchant portal, where users can monitor transactions on a real-time basis.

“For example, a merchant who has three different outlets using three SmartPay devices can view all three outlet transactions on a single-access website,” says Barnard.

The online service also allows the merchant to download transactional reports and resend receipts if required. Unlike traditional POS devices, no minimum monthly transaction volume is required.

Brought to you by Absa.

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Just don’t try to change your address. Two months and still counting. Go ABSA go.

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