Money and Markets

These mobile payment platforms do not need a bank account or credit card

Business Insider SA
Spot Money.
Spot Money.
  • For the population in rural areas who don’t have an address or paperwork to prove it, FICA becomes impossible.
  • Those who are ‘unbanked’ now have more options with financial service providers who are targeting them.
  • Here are four mobile payment platforms to use without a bank account or credit card.
  • For more stories go to

You may have heard the term “unbanked” in the last few years, referring to the population that do not have their own bank accounts. 

Opening an official bank account comes with the expected paperwork that is the FICA process. But it can be challenging for those who live in rural areas and don’t have official addresses or paperwork to prove it. 

That, among other barriers to entry, has given rise to a range of financial services that don’t require a bank account or credit card to make or receive payments. 

Here are 4 examples of mobile platforms that don’t need a bank account or credit card to use: 

Spot Money

spot money
Spot Money.

The Spot Money app relaunched in 2021 as South Africa’s first ‘open banking platform’. It is not tied to a bank and offers deals from third parties. South Africans and foreign nationals can open transactional accounts, generate virtual cards instantly, make payments or purchases with those credentials or apply for a physical debit card. 

The account can be topped up through EFT payments, using the Ozow direct bank transfer option, or a linked card. It supports buying airtime, prepaid electricity, paying bills and buying digital vouchers. Users can also send each other cash instantly from their accounts, which could potentially be used to pay a domestic worker or gardener monthly. Once you apply for a contactless debit card, it can be used at physical stores. The virtual and physical cards are issued by Mastercard. 

The key differentiator with the Spot Money account is that is incurs no monthly fees, and all in-app purchases and payments are free. It also supports other apps like Masterpass, Snapscan, Zapper and wiCode. Cashing out and deposits over a R1,000 incur a small percentage.



The uKheshe app offers a wide range of services such as being a digital wallet, the ability to pay or get paid via a QR code instantly, Tap to Pay on Android devices, card issuing (virtual and physical via Mastercard), and sending money across the border.  

A user does not need a smartphone to create a digital wallet and can transact via USSD, otherwise, Whatsapp chat banking and an app is available. It supports payments between people or merchants, cross-border exchange, crypto transfers, paying for prepaid services or bills and insurance payments. Top-ups and cash-out channels include EFT, retail, digital wallets, cash agents, card top-up and wallet-to-wallet.

When the service first launched, it was positioned as a way to ‘pay it forward’, for tipping or to pay car guards when one does not have cash, via a quick QR code scan.

uKheshe has evolved to be a low-cost solution for contactless payments with end-to-end encryption, KYC verification, and value-added services, backed by Mastercard secure payments.



Mukuru is primarily a money transfer service that allows South Africans to send money to 17 countries within Africa, the UK, China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Other services include applying for a debit card, sending groceries and as an enterprise payment platform.

Users can apply for a Mukuru Card that will allow them to shop online, receive a salary, save money, pay for money transfers, withdraw or top-up cash. Users can also swipe it for free at retailers and can buy airtime or pay for DStv services. Cash can be requested at till points at most supermarkets, Game, Makro, and Builders for anything between R3.70 and R19.99. 

The Mukuru Card be collected at selected Clicks branches Mukuru branches and agents nationwide. Activating it requires a R100 deposit. Unlike the other services mentioned, the card carries a monthly fee of R27, and a once-off activation fee of R46. While swiping at stores, purchasing SA airtime, and receiving EFTs are free, other transactions carry a nominal fee. 

Users from South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe or Botswana can send groceries and stationery to friends and family in Malawi and Zimbabwe, available for pick-up at selected retailers or remittance partners in those foreign markets. 

Telkom Pay

Telkom Pay
Telkom Pay.

The Telkom Pay digital wallet is built inside Whatsapp and allows South Africans with a mobile number to easily make transactions without having to interact in person. Users need a South African ID number to verify themselves at sign-up, and don’t need an existing bank account to make use of the wallet. Sign-up can also be completed through USSD or through a QR code. 

The digital wallet allows users to generate a virtual card that can be used for payments, instead of having to use a physical debit or credit card. Accounts can be topped up via EFT, Nedbank ATMs or at Pick and Pay. Money can also be sent and received between any SA mobile number, and the limit for this is capped at R3000 per day. 

It also supports Scan-to-Pay with QR code, and similar to a please call me, users can send a “please pay me” via Whatsapp. The service also supports sending and receiving money between neighbouring countries. Additional services include buying vouchers for gaming, entertainment, education, transport, shopping, or gifting.

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