Yoco announced today that its customer base of small businesses had crossed the 100,000 milestone and to further grow its customer base the South African FinTech firm is launching its first ‘standalone’ card machine.
The ‘standalone’ card machine is known as the Yoco Neo. This device does not require a smart device or bluetooth to enable payments.
Speaking from the Yoco Next, a virtual launch event, Yoco’s founders summarised the product development journey that the FinTech company has been on since the launch of South Africa’s most affordable card machine – the Yoco Go – late last year. Yoco Go is a card machine targeting previously underserved small businesses that have not had access to card payment and Point of Sale technologies.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yoco has released several products and solutions to drive growth in the small business sector.
“This year, with the COVID related challenges and subsequent acceleration away from cash, has reaffirmed Yoco’s vision to open commerce for all by enabling entrepreneurs to get paid effortlessly,” said Yoco’s co-founder and CEO, Katlego Maphai.
“100 000 merchants are now part of the Yoco community, during a year in which so much economic activity came to a pause. We had the firsthand privilege of seeing small businesses retool, rethink and restart.”
Neo, which means gift in the seSotho language, is Yoco’s answer to extensive customer feedback requesting a card machine that stands alone and is affordable.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the structural barriers that exclude small businesses from the financial system. Traditional bank card machines stand alone, but the contracts, red tape, and fees place them out of reach for a vast majority of small business owners,” said Lungisa Matshoba, Yoco’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer.
“Our customer research found that many entrepreneurs were facing a growing consumer demand for cashless payment options (such as contactless, online, or mobile) but faced barriers with the limited options available to small businesses and their associated costs. They needed a device that would allow them to affordable accept card payments, and digitise their business with the simplicity that they’ve come to expect from Yoco,” added Matshoba.
“And it was with this in mind that the Yoco Product team set out to build a solution that is as simple as it is forward-thinking.”
The Yoco Neo is a standalone card machine that is capable of processing payments without needing to connect via bluetooth to a secondary smart device. It comes with an all-day battery, built-in SIM card and unlimited data which enables successful transactions without a dependency on power or WiFi.
The Neo’s SIM card is equipped to roam and connect to the strongest, available network provider and can process payments via tap, swipe, and chip-and-pin.
As far as card machines go, the Neo is an elegant, pocket-sized solution: it has a colour touchscreen, 48 hour on-device sales history, and the ability to send receipts via SMS or email.
“The issue of accessibility runs far deeper than a means to accept card payments. We have to consider the impact it has on a business who is excluded from formalised banking beyond the day-to-day. What we see are businesses who are also excluded from gaining access to other financial services such as funding, credit, and relief aids. Without a formal record of trading, businesses are treated like they do not exist in the financial system,” concluded Maphai.
The Yoco Neo is contactless, paperless, and like its sibling devices, comes as a once-off purchase without a monthly fee, rental or contract. The Yoco Neo will retail at a special launch price of R1599, making it the most affordable standalone reader in South Africa, ever.
As with all Yoco products, the Neo integrates seamlessly into the broader payments’ ecosystem. The Yoco App plays an important role in providing business owners with a robust Point-Of-Sale system in their back pockets, free of charge.
Yoco was founded late 2015, with 500 merchants on the platform, and raised $16 million (R263 million) in September 2018.
At the end of 2016, the company announced it had acquired over 5 000 SME merchants, growing 10x in a year.