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In South Africa SMS-based payment systems are also now available for use by customers of retailers, property management companies, direct marketers and other suppliers of goods and services.

Cobus Potgieter, CEO of MoPay, states: "The incorrect impression has been created lately that only banks are able to offer mobile payment systems to their clients.

The opposite is true, we are currently supplying systems to a number of SA companies, which enable them to offer their customers SMS-based invoices and monthly accounts, which the customer can pay from any SMS-enabled phone, or from any debit/credit card or bank account, from anywhere in the world. There are also many additional capacities, which we can offer to individual enterprises, mobile network operators, card operators and banks."

"A simple installation and 24 x 7 support scenario, without capital expenditure and complicated training procedures, have proved extremely popular with clients in other parts of the world where installations have been done," he adds.

The platform used is claimed to be the most pervasive mobile payments platform globally. The MoPay systems are also available to the SME sector and the educational community, and a bundle of additional support services have been assembled, he says. These are available from MoPay Service Providers spread all over SA.

Additionally, mass registration platforms are available, so that the user community can grow at an expedited rate. "We have adopted a different approach with regards to our Web site - http://www.mopay.co.za - we enable visitors to access in-depth information about the offerings and also to there complete simple online procedures that enable us to generate a service and cost proposal, then to speedily proceed to the installation phase," Potgieter states.

Many of the security issues and risks, specifically pertaining to card details and claw-backs, regarding e-commerce and credit cards generally, are avoided by the MoPay systems, and the progression to m-commerce-enabled Web sites from e-commerce sites is one of the MoPay focus areas, he claims.

SA and the rest of Africa are experiencing an exponential uptake of cellular communication, and MoPay hopes to play a role in offering more services to people with limited access to banking services.