Capitec Bank and MasterCard Southern Africa today announced a pilot of the world's first pre-authorised debit card based on the EMV standard, in the Qwa-Qwa town of Phuthadjitjaba in the Free State province.
The new debit card, issued by Maestro, is specifically designed to provide a straightforward, low-cost banking product with easy access to the mass market and comes with a PIN-protected microchip.
The EMV chip technology behind the enhanced Maestro debit card means that participating retailers no longer need to depend on an expensive 'always online' telecom infrastructure in order to securely accept debit cards.
Mastercard says the pilot will contribute toward the challenge of converting the estimated two out of three South African consumers who are currently unbanked, into banked customers and payment cardholders.
Capitec Bank CEO, Riaan Stassen, says the technology will enable secure, cost-efficient card usage for retailers and consumers, in locations that were previously unfeasible in South Africa.
He says: "In emerging regions, the majority of retailers are unable to have online telecommunication on a continuous basis, making magnetic stripe cards ineffective for both retailers and cardholders."