Nolwandle Mthombeni | Cash is king - it's time we overthrew it

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SA has a long way to go as far as national payment systems are concerned, says the writer. (Getty)
SA has a long way to go as far as national payment systems are concerned, says the writer. (Getty)

The banking sector is facing an intensifying threat from fintech. But banks are playing the long game, and cash is - sadly - still king, says Nolwandle Mthombeni.

With the high level of investment by the banking sector into technology and systems, you may be fooled into thinking that the conversation of banks losing out to fintech may be anachronistic. This is hardly the case. The threat from fintech is ever more intense as the pandemic provided more momentum for alternative payment models and systems globally.

Our banking industry has done a decent job in keeping up with the industry trends and innovating how we bank. It has become very apparent that the South African banks are keeping a close eye on global developments on the technology front. So much so, that our incumbents are more worried by Big Tech than any new entrants into our banking sector. Much like the rest of the world, they have been following what the likes of Alipay did in capturing the Chinese payments system. More than 16 years since its launch, Alipay facilitates over 80% of payments in the country. They achieved this by creating a secure trusted payment system that created value for all parties involved, not only for consumers. Apple with its Apple Pay wishes it could reach the success of Alipay.

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