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MasterCard sets sights on SA’s transit sector

By , IT in government editor
South Africa , 18 Sep 2014

MasterCard sets sights on SA’s transit sector

Electronic payments company MasterCard is increasingly eyeing South Africa's transit sector.

This is according to newly appointed division president for South Africa, Mark Elliott, who told ITWeb Africa that MasterCard's key strategy is to provide solutions, such as contactless cards, for the underserved.

Elliott, who was previously the global products and solutions lead for Middle East and Africa (MEA), is now responsible for the strategic direction and development of MasterCard in South Africa.

And the country's transit system is a great opportunity for MasterCard, he told ITWeb Africa.

"When you think about all the money that is spent on travel and transport everyday and the ability to give some sort of solution to customers, where they don't have to carry cash on them and worry about the security of carrying cash," Elliott told ITWeb Africa.

To date MasterCard has partnered with four stakeholders in South Africa's transit sector as it has introduced the likes of its contactless functionality to commuters.

The MasterCard branded transit cards allow commuters to travel without the hassle of paper tickets or having to carry cash.

In Johannesburg, commuters who use the Rea Vaya bus service are issued with a prepaid MasterCard transit card.

Meanwhile, in Cape Town the MyCiti prepaid MasterCard contactless functionality can be used to pay for a bus ride.

In South Africa, there are approximately 3.9 million public transport commuters, according to the country's road safety initiative Arrive Alive.

Statistics also show that 2.5 million taxi commuters account for over 63% of public transport work trips in South Africa, while bus services account for 22%. The rest of South Africa's public transport commuters use the train to get to work.

According to MasterCard, transit cards can also be used to pay for goods at stores wherever MasterCard is accepted.

The card contains a reloadable wallet on the chip which means that commuters do not need to have a bank account to use these cards in retail, says MasterCard.

In South Africa MasterCard wants to partner where possible to deliver contactless solutions that will work for the ecosystem.

"Contactless is important for the South African market to enhance the consumer experience at point of sale, to make it faster, to make it simpler, and recognise that it is going to be below that threshold of R200," Elliott concluded.

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