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SnapScan rolls out pilot phase for ecommerce payments

A South African-based mobile payment application, SnapScan, has started rolling out its test phase for ecommerce plugins. The new system will enable customers to purchase from select online stores using the SnapScan application. Up until now, SnapScan has only been available for retail outlets.

The payment process is near identical to standard SnapScan usage. You proceed to the store’s checkout system and select the SnapScan button for payment. You’ll then be presented with a QR code to be “snapped” with the app. Once payment is complete the store and SnapScan will notify you.

Rupert Sully, the head of new business at SnapScan, reiterates how the new system works:

Although SnapScan for eCommerce is still very much in its pilot phase, we’re excited about it and confident that we’ve put together a clear, simple mobile experience, as well as a safer and convenient desktop experience. It’s the same easy payment process our users have become accustomed to when paying for parking or coffee – just online.

Each QR code is embedded with the store’s name, amount required, and an order ID. The order ID is what stores will use to allocate the payments.

This is an interesting approach to online payment methods and the South African payment gateway market. Third party merchants, such as PayFast, store credit card information themselves, which eliminates security risks and red-tape for stores. SnapScan also stores this information and eliminates the need for ecommerce sites to access your credit card information.

Getting set up as a merchant is easy, plus the benefit to the user is clear. You’ll only have to enter your card details once, on your own device, not on the websites themselves. Obviously security is paramount in this space, so we’ve also activated 3D secure for all online merchants (pilot phase included).

There are a handful of stores — Superbalist being one of them — currently testing the new payment gateway. A few ecommerce plugins will also be available.


Besides expanding into ecommerce, SnapScan has been innovating the cashless payment space with their SnapBeacons, parking payments and Big Issue payments. It also took advantage of its simple QR code payment process during to enable online donations for the Volunteer Wildlife Services and SPCA during the Cape Town fires earlier this year. Needless to say, the Standard Bank-backed company has a lot of tricks up its sleeve.

Update: Added clarification on credit card storage.

Author Bio

Graham van der Made: Editor
Graham started out as an electronics manager at Take2 Home Entertainment and went on to spend a further ten years in the South African ecommerce industry. During this time, Graham founded and managed an online geek and hobby shop. He has always had a passion for writing and has... More
  • “Certain stores, such as Takealot, store credit card information for quicker payment processes.” — Is that definitely true? To my knowledge the credit card information is stored with the payment provider/gateway, while Takealot simply store a ‘token’ which provides added security and means Takealot don’t have direct access to your credit card details.

    • Hi Nate. Thank you very much for reading. I called Takealot’s customer services now to confirm and they do indeed store the details. Please bare in mind they do not store the CCV number and require you to manually enter it when placing an order. That adds another layer of security to their system.

      • Yeah, so my feeling is that customer services will say they store the details, because at a visual level, they do. But I would really hope they are storing the token and not the full details. If so they would have to be PCI complaint and a couple of other challenges. And they’d also be putting themselves and their customers at considerable risk.

        Thanks for following up though.

        • You are quite right. I went through and checked their system and Paythru myself now. I’ve amended the article as such.

          If a company as large as Takealot were to store individual’s credit card details they would make sure to adhere to PCI compliance. If not then the backlash would be unfathomable.

          • Andre

            You can ask Takealot to provide proof of there PCI certification to make sure. Same for snapscan

          • Andre

            If they don’t sore the card data then they need to disclose who does and they need to provide the PCI cert

          • Hi Andre. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂 You’ll see in the comments above that Nate and I talk about how the credit card details are kept with Paythru.

      • In fact, I can actually see that when I go to the Credit Card details screen, my URL is at paythru.com (their gateway). So Takealot themselves do not appear to be storing the raw details.

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