Standard Bank
Standard Bank. Rich T Photo / Shutterstock.com

Standard Bank announced on Thursday that its successful virtual card has now been launched in other African markets including Zambia.

Ethel Nyembe, Head, Card and Payments, Standard Bank, said this would make it easier and safer for more everyday Africans to make purchases online.

In 2018, Standard Bank launched Africa’s first prepaid and co-branded virtual card that can be loaded in real-time from any account that a customer has with Standard Bank.

The card is accessible on the Standard Bank mobile app, where it can be created – at no extra charge – and topped up on a regular basis.

Customers can then use a virtual card to make purchases online and access popular apps without exposing details of their main accounts. Within the Standard Bank app, users can select a generic virtual card that allows domestic and international online shopping, or opt for a store-only card as a result of Standard Bank partnering with popular e-tailers Takealot, Uber, Travelstart, Zando and Admyt.

The shift away from cash and towards digital and contactless payment methods has been accelerated by the pandemic. This, Standard Bank believes, will remain at elevated levels and continue to grow under the new normal.

“Digital payments have now become a critical service,” says Nyembe.

“They allow for commerce to continue while reducing the risk of physical interaction and infection. We know that we will be living with the risk of Covid-19 for a long time to come, and need to find ways to continue with life despite it.”

She added that this offering has proved popular among our customers and we have seen significant growth in transactions made using the virtual card in 2019.

“These numbers are accelerating this year, due to the new normal under Covid-19. While South Africans have been embracing virtual cards for some time, the use case for this type of digital payment method has strengthened beyond what we could have ever imagined as a result of the health pandemic.”

At around the same time, the virtual card was launched, Standard Bank added Samsung Pay to its digital payments’ ecosystem. Samsung Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service that lets users make contactless payments using compatible smartphones and other Samsung-produced devices (such as smartwatches) at retail stores across South Africa and globally.

Standard Bank customers have embraced the convenience of Samsung Pay with much enthusiasm. Since launching in 2018, the use of this payment method has grown exponentially, albeit off a small base.

Also read: FNB Launches a Virtual Card

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