South Africa Profile: Cash and Cards Compete to Dominate Payments Ecosystems

09 Nov, 2020 . 4 minutes

South Africa's population was 59.14 million as of early-2020. The proportion of people aged 60 and older is high with 23.9 percent or about 1.27 million and increasing over time. South Africa’s GDP was $351.43 billion in 2019 and GDP per capita is $7,346, equivalent to 58 percent of the world's average.

Internet penetration is 67.7 percent and South Africa has 32.61 million internet users - or 55.0 percent of the population. Meanwhile, more than 50 percent of South African internet users shop online.

Although 80 percent of South Africans have a bank account most direct transactions are cash based. At a rate of 6 percent to 10 percent a year cash usage continues to grow ahead of inflation. For online transactions, card payments gained a 44 percent market share. Meanwhile, the lack of digital payment adoption in the lower-income market has often been attributed to high bank fees and low levels of financial literacy.

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