Over 11 million South Africans do not have a bank account and, in lockdown, receiving wages is logistically challenging. Many businesses have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and employees have been laid off. People are running out of cash and hunger is now a more immediate threat than the virus. The payment needs of vulnerable individuals must quickly be met if widespread civil unrest is to be averted.
6DOT50 is stepping in with a new way to pay for essential goods, as COVID-19 takes its toll on the South African economy. As a platform, focused on financial inclusion of unbanked and underbanked customers in emerging markets, 6DOT50 has introduced Digital Rands to assist people to pay for much needed food items.
“These unprecedented times demand agile, relevant and collaborative responses to addressing the needs of South Africa’s poor and vulnerable. With robust, well-tested technology in place and with the support of South Africa’s best known and most trusted retail brands we believe that Digital Rands will meet the critical need for a new way to pay in South Africa, during COVID-19 and beyond,” says Warren Venter, Director of 6DOT50.
As COVID-19 cases continue to grow, the World Health Organisation has flagged cash as a conduit for the spread of coronavirus. Digital Rands have the added advantage of reducing the physical exchange of currency and, with it, the risk of contagion.
People needing help to pay for essential goods and food, can JOIN 6DOT50 for free on www.6dot50.com. All that’s needed to open a 6DOT50 account is a mobile number. They then need to upload a photo of their identity document or passport to qualify immediately for assistance.
People wanting to help those in need can buy Digital Rands and either send them directly to any 6DOT50 member to use or contribute them to the 6DOT50 COVID-19 Account. Digital Rands can be bought by logging into www.6dot50.com, getting a quote and making payment - either by using a bank card on-line or by using cash at major retail store outlets including Pick n Pay, Checkers, Shoprite, Makro, Boxer, Spar, Usave, Game and through thousands of Flash traders. A small transaction fee to cover the retailer fees is charged.
6DOT50 Digital Rands are accepted, as payment, at all Shoprite, Shoprite K’nect, Checkers and Usave outlets countrywide with other merchants coming on board shortly.
“We have also made it super simple for any spaza shop or informal merchant to register with us and accept Digital Rands as a contactless payment alternative to cash,” says Venter.
The 6DOT50 solution has been built over several years. A standard architecture design has been applied across distinct platforms, that allows for easy maintenance, distributed cloud architecture, consistent performance and the ability to scale easily as new requirements surface. The platform is hosted on Microsoft Azure and managed by Cyberlogic. The core platforms have been deployed and used by large insurance organizations with various components still used under license to assist with managing cross border money remittance services. Users can access 6DOT50’s solution via responsive web with Android and iOS native applications to follow soon.
According to Venter, outdated modes of payment have left 2 billion emerging market customers facing a dead end in the digitally connected global economy. 6DOT50’s mission is to bridge this gap with innovative alternatives to cash, bank cards, cheques and EFT. The introduction of Digital Rands sets the scene for further 6DOT50 offerings, including Digital Dollars, in the course of 2020.
COVID-19 Hunger Relief Contributions: People can buy and contribute Digital Rands to the 6DOT50 COVID-19 Account on the website www.6dot50.com. Funds will be distributed daily to qualifying members across South Africa. All members who have verified their 6DOT50 account, by submitting a copy of their identity documents, qualify for assistance.
Companies making contributions can send 6DOT50 proof of payment with a company logo attached. 6DOT50 will then upload their logo on the COVID-19 Account page.
Groups (including religious and other communities) looking to distribute value to specified mobile numbers may upload their user lists and contribute to the COVID-19 Account. 6DOT50 will send Digital Rands to qualifying members. A 6DOT50 redemption code will be sent via SMS to those that do not register as members.
The COVID-19 Account will be operated subject to the Account Rules published on the 6DOT50 website.