South African fintech start-up uKheshe has partnered with Mastercard to allow small traders, street vendors and casual labourers to accept digital payments.

Under the collaboration, uKheshe will enable its merchant partners to leverage Mastercard’s payment service Masterpass for accepting digital payments.

Mastercard estimates that the service will be beneficial for over 11 million users in South African countries, where most of the un/under-banked people still use cash.

uKheshe, supported by banking payments partner Nedbank, allows users without bank accounts or smartphones to get paid via an uKheshe card.

The card is equipped with a Quick Response (QR) code connected to the user’s cell phone number.

Upon scanning the QR code with any Masterpass-supported app such as SnapScan and Zapper, the money is transferred to their e-wallets in real-time.

uKheshe co-founder Clayton Hayward said: “The collaboration between our brands will continue to make a significant difference to micro-enterprises, enabling them to boost their incomes by reaching new customers.”

With Masterpass, users can load a bank card into a digital wallet on the smartphone.

Upon loading the cash, the users can instantly starting using their cards to pay for goods and services without having to enter the sensitive information each time. At present, all the major banks in South Africa provide the service.

Mastercard Southern Africa division president Mark Elliott stated: “Through our partnership with uKheshe, we are making it easy for Masterpass users to pay anyone, from anywhere in a matter of seconds with the device in their pockets – the mobile phone.

“For the informal merchants and traders, we are able helping to connect them to the formal economy and build better futures.”