Barely 5 years old, Ozow breaks R10bn transaction barrier, eyes aggressive expansion

Barely 5 years old, Ozow breaks R10bn transaction barrier, eyes aggressive expansion

CAPE TOWN – Barely five years after being founded, South African payment technology platform Ozow announced on Thursday that it had broken through the R10 billion milestone in transactions processed – and was looking at doubling the number of users on its platform in 2020 as part of aggressive expansion plans.

Ozow is an online banking payment solution that enables merchants to receive and process payments from any South African with a bank account across all payment environments, allowing people who do not have debit or credit cards to transact quickly and safely.

Ozow chief executive Thomas Pays said more than 4 million consumers had already used Ozow, which has the vast majority of eCommerce leaders as registered merchants business users in South Africa. These levels of growth will underpin the company’s next venture into the equity market near the end of 2020 to fund its planned expansion.

“South Africa is at the forefront of digital payments on the African continent, with triple digits growth in the last 12 months. It took us two years and nine months to process our first billion rand, but only one month and 27 days to process the last billion. By November, we are looking at processing a minimum of R1.5bn per month alone,” said Pays.

He explained that digital payments were just potentially transformative for South African businesses and consumers, but were “a game-changer” for the entire economy.

“Remove friction and you’ll create stickiness: the easier you make it for your customers to pay for your products and services, the more they’ll buy from you. And in South Africa, where millions of people don’t have a debit or credit card and don’t feel safe paying by cash, giving them another payment option opens up entirely new markets for every business and institution that needs regular payments to survive,” said Pays.

The most popular methods of payment in South Africa are still cash, electronic funds transfer (EFT) and credit cards. But cash is expensive to manage and risky to carry, credit cards are prone to fraud, and manual EFT is cumbersome.

“We allow businesses and consumers to do automated online payments in under 8 seconds without having to register or repeatedly enter card details – and for businesses, at a fraction of the costs,” said Pays.

Ozow was started as i-Pay at the end of 2014 by Thomas Pays, Mitchan Adams and Lyle Eckstein, with the audacious goal of reinventing the digital economy market in Africa. It is estimated there are only 8 million active credit cards in South Africa, but more than 49 million bank accounts.

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