Snap and shop!

snapscan3Have you ever wondered what the cryptic image (see right) at some restaurants, coffee shops and markets is? Here’s a hint – it’s not some secret code of a society you don’t belong to. On the contrary, it’s something useful guaranteed to make your life somewhat easier.

SnapScan is a smartphone payment app developed right here in Stellenbosch by technology start-up company FireID, located in Tegnopark – Stellenbosch’s own Silicon Valley. The guys from FireID realised that a cashless society, where payments were easier and faster to make, is became a necessity.

In 2013 SnapScan won the South African App of the year and it has been featured on Business Insider’s Top 12 African Start-ups list. In May of this year it joined in partnership with Standard Bank.

SnapScan benefits both the customer and the merchant. For the customer it provides an alternative for cash and credit cards, it’s faster and is meant to be more secure.

You no longer have to wait to have a payment processed at a terminal or risk carrying a credit card with you. You simply take a picture of the merchant’s unique QR code (the cryptic image) with your phone, enter your pin and the amount you want to pay. After the transaction is completed the customer and merchant receives an SMS notification to confirm.

The merchant never handles your credit card or details. Your card details are stored securely on your phone, encrypted and protected by a pin you select yourself.

It doesn’t cost you anything, no sign-up fee, setup, installation or monthly fee. All you need to do is download the app from the Apple or Google Play store, fill in your card details and you’re good to go. The app is available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry.

For merchants the application is easy and fast. All they need is a cell phone and they can process payments, whether it’s a coffee shop or an informal trader at a market. The Big Issue, the non-profit magazine sold at intersections, vendors have recently been enabled to use SnapScan.

Not too bad for something starting out only in a number of stores around in Stellenbosch – from 600 merchants at the end of 2013 to 12 000 at present. So what are you waiting for? Start snapping!

More info on SnapScan:


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