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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.

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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.

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