South Africa: Payment Journey and Key Trends
South Africa is steadily moving towards a less cash depend society. This is demonstrated by comparing transaction volumes for different payment methods from 2009 to 2013.
What is clear to tell is that electronic payment transaction volumes (e.g. cards, credit transfers and direct debits) continue to increase year-on-year. Card payments specifically increased the most with a 16% compound annual growth rate over the 5 years reaching 1.6 billion transactions in 2013, according to the BIS. This compared to cash payment transaction volumes (e.g. ATM cash withdrawals and cheques) that either had slow growth or even a decrease in the case of cheques over the same period. ATM cash withdrawal transaction volumes increased from 2009 to 2011, but then started to decrease through to 2013.
This all while electronic payment volumes had substantial increases over the same period. Cheques displayed a steady decrease in transaction volumes since 2009 and even a more notable decrease in value from R2.4 trillion ($198 billion) in 2009 to only R500 billion ($42 billion) in 2013.
Evolution of Payment Regulations
The SARBs main objective is to ensure the safety and efficiency of the National Payment System. The South African regulations has been aligned, developed and refined to provide for the domestic payment system, and at the same time adhere to international best practice. The scope of the South African regulations includes both banks and non-bank participants. The SARB works closely with other regulatory authorities to ensure that the initiatives and policies are implemented efficiently and that all participants adhere to the relevant regulations.