Monday, 25 July 2011

A new payment system for South Africa

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They may not realise it yet, but millions of South Africans have a free payment system on their cellphones – all they have to do is activate it. SWAP Mobile has launched its innovative, free SWAP Wallet providing every local cellphone user with access to a safe, reliable and easy-to-use payment system.
Cellphone users activate their Wallets for free by dialling *130*1313#. To get money into their Wallets, users can accept transfers from any other Wallet or make electronic transfers to an ABSA account. Debit accounts and credit cards can be linked to a Wallet to add funds anytime they’re needed.

The SWAP Wallet is integrated with SWAP Codes issued to businesses. When a SWAP Code is dialled from a cellphone to make a payment, funds are transferred directly to the business’s bank account.

SWAP is actively recruiting businesses to become SWAP Merchants and accept Wallet payments through SWAP Codes. The company is also inviting members of the public to visit its site at and nominate businesses they’d like to be able to pay using their SWAP Wallets.

At the same time, according to SWAP Sales and Marketing Manager Josh Loock, negotiations are under way with big corporates that issue store debit, credit and loyalty cards to integrate the SWAP Wallet with their mobile strategies. “This,” says Loock, “will provide each corporate with an additional payment channel. Users should be on the lookout for constant Wallet enhancements and for new businesses accepting Wallet payments.”

The SWAP Wallet, he adds, also provides access to SWAP’s Instant Airtime product. It allows prepaid users to purchase airtime for any network, in real time and directly from their cellphones.

A payment system, not a bank
According to SWAP Mobile founder and CEO, Elsabe Donovan, ‘’SWAP is a payment system, not a bank. Mobile banking and bank-based cellphone wallets simply haven’t impressed the market so far because they’re complicated and have failed to eliminate costly banking and transaction fees.”

“What South Africans need,” she continues, “is a payment system that can be used free of charge and that is accessible to anyone, whether they have a bank account or not. Only four percent of the population has adapted to cellphone banking and a small proportion has access to Internet payments.”

Advantages to business
SWAP provides businesses with a means of extending their mobile commerce strategies. Able to offer a safe, cashless, anytime payment channel to customers, they also enjoy the advantage of secure transfers of accumulated transactions directly to their bank accounts. When a business registers online as a SWAP Merchant, it receives its unique SWAP Code that customers dial to make payments. It also gains the ability to accept payments from customer credit cards, even if it isn’t equipped with a conventional credit card POS device.

Because every SWAP Code leads customers to a business’s unique, customised, menu-driven payment screen, each business can present its own contact details, news and special offers to customers directly on their handsets.

According to SWAP Operations Director Jose Gomes, SWAP’s online Web Console allows businesses a high level of control. Through the Console, they can monitor payments, draw statements, choose how they wish to be notified of payments made and update the information screens their customers see. “In addition,” says Gomes, “SWAP has made security a priority. The system is USSD-based – a GSM standard supported by all South African cellphones. It utilises accepted e-commerce hosting, encryption, and communication protocols supported by a security and risk management framework that includes integration with Xpert Decision Systems (XDS), an internationally recognised credit bureau.”


About SWAP

SWAP was established in 2006 to develop and bring to market a superior and innovative cellphone-based payment system structured around affordability, mobility, security and user convenience. A USSD platform was chosen for its inherent and significant cost, flexibility, stability and convenience benefits. The company maintains its headquarters and Customer Care Centre in Brooklyn, Pretoria, has representation throughout South Africa and an Internet presence at

SWAP is a Payer Service Provider in terms of the National Payment System Act, Act 78 or 1998. It is compliant with South African regulation in the form of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, Act 25 of 2002 (the ECT Act) and adheres to all relevant guidelines prescribed by the Reserve Bank and the Payment Association of South Africa.

As a Wireless Application Service Provider (WASP) in its own right, SWAP is registered with the three major cellular network operators and is a full member of WASPA, the South African WASP Association. SWAP has established key working relationships with leading South African service providers, including MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, Internet Solutions, ABSA and NetCash, as well as with attorneys Routledge and Modise in association with Eversheds.

For further information about SWAP and the SWAP Wallet, please visit or contact SWAP Sales and Marketing Manager Josh Loock at 012 460 4254 / 071 1366 790 (cell) / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Invitation to representatives of the media

Representatives of the media are invited to attend the SWAP Wallet launch function at SWAP Head Office in Brooklyn, Pretoria as per the attached invitation.

RSVP, please, by Thursday, 23 October to SWAP Public Relations Manager, Stephan van Vuuren at 012 460 4254 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Stephan may also be contacted for further information regarding the launch function as well as for photographs and illustrative graphic material suitable for publishing.

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