Slide app makes per­son-to-per­son pay­ments via phone easy

Pretoria News Weekend - - OPINION - SIZWE DLAMINI

EVER won­dered how you can eas­ily make per­son-to-per­son pay­ments via cell­phone? Won­der no more. South Africa has just got its own ver­sion of Venmo.

Venmo is one of the United States’s most suc­cess­ful pay­ment plat­forms. Owned by PayPal, it pro­cesses about $25 bil­lion (R356bn) in per­son-to-per­son pay­ments an­nu­ally.

The Slide app, founded by three young South Africans who re­cently re­turned from liv­ing in the US, has been de­vel­oped to change the way South Africans pay each other.

Co-founder Ir­shad Kathrada says: “In the US, we wit­nessed the huge growth in pay­ment meth­ods and how easy it was to pay peo­ple. So we de­vel­oped Slide, a safe, sim­ple and free way of send­ing money from one per­son to an­other us­ing a mo­bile phone. Making a pay­ment is as easy as send­ing a mes­sage. It saves you hav­ing to carry cash or know­ing some­one’s bank ac­count de­tails.

“It also doesn’t mat­ter which bank or mo­bile net­work op­er­a­tor the sender or re­ceiver uses. Slide is ideal for par­ents send­ing money to their chil­dren and for shar­ing costs like rent, con­cert tick­ets or a restau­rant bill. A worker who wants to send money to his fam­ily within South Africa can now do it at no cost.”

An­other ben­e­fit is that Slide is so­cial: it looks like a What­sApp or Face­book mes­sage when you use it.

To get the app, search for Slide Fi­nan­cial in the Google Play or Ap­ple Store and com­plete the sign-up form. Slide will link with your con­tacts so you can choose whom to pay, or add a new contact with a cell­phone num­ber or email ad­dress. Then add how much you want to pay, per­son­alise your pay­ment with a mes­sage, and au­tho­rise and send the money by se­lect­ing the bank you use.

Pay­ments are funded us­ing EFT se­cure tech­nol­ogy di­rectly from the sender’s bank ac­count.

The re­cip­i­ent will be no­ti­fied by SMS and email and prompted to down­load the app. The money can be cashed out at any time into his or her bank ac­count with one click. The money typ­i­cally ap­pears the next busi­ness day, ir­re­spec­tive of the bank. The sender will re­ceive a con­fir­ma­tion that the funds have been re­ceived.

LIKE SEND­ING A MES­SAGE

Kathrada says: “As Slide is a so­cial pay­ment mech­a­nism, pay­ments be­tween con­tacts are as easy as send­ing a mes­sage.”

Per­son-to-per­son pay­ments are a large part of the South African econ­omy, with con­sumers seek­ing more con­ve­nient and cost-ef­fec­tive ways to do this.

Kathrada says: “Stan­dard pay­ments are of­ten ex­pen­sive and in­con­ve­nient, while cash is un­safe, and not ev­ery­one has easy ac­cess to an ATM. This opened up the op­por­tu­nity for Slide. Mo­bile­phone pen­e­tra­tion is grow­ing quickly across South Africa. Low­er­ing the bar­ri­ers to send­ing and re­ceiv­ing money can have a ma­te­rial im­pact on fi­nan­cial co­he­sion across the coun­try.”

When asked about the ori­gin of Slide, Kathrada de­scribed the day ear­lier this year when he found him­self hav­ing to pay co-founder Alon Stern for pick­ing up lunch, but didn’t have cash on him. “It was in that mo­ment that we re­alised how nec­es­sary a pay­ment plat­form like Venmo is to en­sure that money flows around the South African econ­omy sim­ply and se­curely.

“We re­searched the mar­ket and re­viewed pay­ments apps that have worked in South Africa and those that have failed. Those fin­tech busi­nesses that failed tried to en­ter the per­son-top­er­son pay­ments mar­ket want­ing to pass the costs on to the sender and/or re­ceiver, and in some cases re­stricted use to cer­tain mo­bile or bank networks, which lim­its who you can send money to or re­ceive from. We used this in­for­ma­tion to de­velop an en­hanced so­lu­tion.”

Pay­ments into the Slide net­work use the same se­cu­rity pro­to­cols as in­ter­net bank­ing.

sizwe.dlamini@inl.co.za

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