(Instagram, @virginmoneysouthafrica)
(Instagram, @virginmoneysouthafrica)
  • Virgin Money's cash-less platform, which is similar to Snapscan, was launched last year.
  • Consumers can use Virgin Money Spot by transferring money from their bank accounts to the platform. It is then converted into its own digital currency. 
  • Virgin Money said the cryptocurrency makes the platform safer, and allows for zero-fee transactions. 
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Virgin Money is taking on Standard Bank’s Snapscan in South Africa with a mobile payment platform utilizing QR-codes. 

Like Snapscan, Virgin Money Spot allows consumers to pay at a variety of South African stores, including Vida e Caffé, Burger King and Hungry Lion, through a cashless cardless payment system. 

Unlike Snapscan, Virgin Money Spot makes use of its own digital currency and payments are not directly linked to a user’s bank account.

Andre Hugo, CEO of Virgin Money South Africa, told Business Insider South Africa that the platform has gathered over 400,000 users since its launch in February 2018. 

Also read: Discovery Bank is building its own ‘e-money structure’ – and it is definitely not like eBucks

Clients can access the platform by transferring money from their ordinary bank account to the platform in exchange for its own digital currency, Virgin Tokens. 

He said the Virgin Money make use of Virgin Tokens as it allows consumers to send money without having to share bank account details, and also helps to ensure zero fees. 

(screenshot)
(screenshot)

Each Virgin Token is pegged 1:1 to the rand. One Virgin token, therefore, equals R1. 

The cryptocurrency, built and developed in South Africa, was a finalist at the international Enterprise Blockchain 2019 Awards in the enterprise transformation category - the only African entry to be recognised. 

 “While the public may never realise the watertight sophistication of the blockchain technology powering the use of the app, they can be assured of tapping into a seriously innovative platform, internationally recognised for being secure,” Hugo said. 

He said the long term strategy is to build out the Virgin Token platform to allow for other services such as credit cards and loans.

Virgin Money, a private company partly owned by the Virgin Group, generates an income from the platform through its commercial partners paying it to have Virgin Money Spot facilities. 

The company will soon allow consumers to pay municipal bills, buy electricity and pay traffic fines through the application. 

Hugo said the company, which currently does not have a banking licence in South Africa, plans to launch a zero fee digital transactional account by the end of 2019. 

Also read: FNB’s entry-level account is now cheaper than Capitec - here’s how it compares to Standard Bank, Absa and the others

Several South African banks have introduced zero fee accounts the past year as new digital entrants offer cheaper services.

He said Virgin Money SA is targeting two million customers in the next two years as it believes South Africa will be an engine for growth in the fintech space. 

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