Written by 10:28 am Bitcoin

Pick n Pay will soon accept bitcoin at all its till points

Pick n Pay, which has been experimenting with cryptocurrency payments for several years, is expanding its crypto offering, allowing consumers to pay for groceries with crypto at 39 stores nationwide.

It plans to roll out the crypto service to all of its stores in the “coming months”, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

This ground-breaking development in the world of crypto follows the conclusion of a first phase of a new pilot by the retailer that allows customers to pay using cryptocurrency on their smartphones using a “trusted app”.

“While for many years crypto was something for specialists on their computers, or used by early adopters trying it out, things are changing. The Financial Sector Conduct Authority’s recent announcement paves the way for cryptocurrency as a mainstream method of payment,” the retailer said in the statement.

“Increasingly cryptocurrency is being used by those underserved by traditional banking systems, or by those wanting to pay and exchange money in a cheaper and convenient way. Many companies are responding to this by accepting bitcoin,” it added.

In its latest pilot, Pick n Pay said it tested a payment service technology that allows customers to buy groceries with cryptocurrency at till points with any bitcoin lightning-enabled app, including BlueWallet and Muun. The lightning protocol speeds up transactions on the bitcoin network.

Minimal service fee

“The transaction is as easy and secure as swiping a debit or credit card. Customers scan a QR code from the app and accept the rand conversion rate on their smartphone at the time of the transaction. The service fee for each transaction is minimal, costing the customer on average 70c, and takes less than 30 seconds.”

The retailer said it ran the pilot in 10 Western Cape stores over the past five months with pre-selected testers. This included Bitcoin Ekasi in Mossel Bay, which pays non-profit organisation The Surfer Kids coaches in bitcoin while simultaneously onboarding township vendors to accept bitcoin as payment. “As the local Pick n Pay store now accepts bitcoin, the coaches and children can spend their earnings more widely and conveniently than before.”

Pick n Pay has now extended the pilot to a further 29 stores for testing with customers, with the intention to roll it out to all stores in the coming months, it said.

The participating stores are:

  • Langeberg Mall, Mosselbay
  • Sedgefield
  • Stellenbosch Central and Stellenbosch Square
  • Paarl Mall
  • Willowbridge
  • Local Big Bay
  • Table Bay Mall
  • Cavendish
  • Kenilworth
  • Kenilworth Campus
  • Kenilworth Pam Golding
  • Seapoint
  • Waterfront
  • Mall of Africa
  • Mall of the North
  • Mall of the South
  • Menlyn Mall
  • Nelspruit
  • PnP on Nicol
  • Liberty Midlands Mall
  • The Pavilion
  • Tshwane Mall
  • Beacon Bay
  • Uitenhage
  • Bedfordview
  • Centurion
  • Fourways Mall
  • PnP Qualisave Carlton Centre
  • PnP Qualisave Diepsloot
  • PnP Qualisave Midrand
  • PnP Qualisave Rustenburg
  • PnP Qualisave Commercial Road
  • PnP Qualisave North Beach
  • PnP Qualisave The Workshop
  • PnP Qualisave Goodwood
  • Hyper Bloemfontein
  • Hyper Durban North
  • Hyper Northgate
  • Hyper Ottery

The retailer first started experimenting with bitcoin five years ago, when it ran a pilot in the staff canteen store at its head office in Cape Town. “It proved the concept, but the available technology at the time was too expensive for shoppers and it took too long to finalise the transaction to make it sustainable,” it said.

“This new technology means we can provide an affordable service for high volume, low-value transactions that will promote financial inclusion in South Africa,” said Pick n Pay group executive for IT, Chris Shortt.

Pick n Pay partnered with Electrum and CryptoConvert for the latest pilot. Electrum’s payment platform connects Cryptoconvert and Pick n Pay, letting customers pay with the bitcoin lightning technology at the till point.  — (c) 2022 NewsCentral Media

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