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Youth Driving Change and Innovation – The Rise of QR Payments

An image of a  young woman in denim dungarees smiling while using her phone overlayed by the text “The Youth Embracing Innovation with the Rise of QR Code Payments”. Visa and Mastercard’s logos are in the bottom right corner, and Scan to Pay’s full size logo in the top right corner

If the so called fourth industrial revolution has left many Baby Boomers and even Generation Xers bewildered, the millennials and Gen Z’s are the digital natives that have grown up with technology and are comfortable using it for everything from dating to shopping. These early adopters of everything digital have never seen a cheque book and those that may have had a bank card, are throwing them away in favour of contactless payment methods. 

Armed with nothing but their cell phones and smart devices, Gen Z’s (born between 1997 and 2012) are out in the online world researching, shopping, paying bills as well as accessing a myriad of products and services via QR codes provided by e-commerce sites and over 600 000 other merchant locations across South Africa. 


Pointing your phone at a black and white static square and deriving a bunch of information and prices from it is far from being an alien concept to Gen Z’s. For them, it’s their everyday normal, and they would doubtless like to see more opportunities to interact with their chosen service providers in this way. 


Post the Covid pandemic, which accelerated the e-commerce phenomenon and the need for contactless methods of payment in physical stores and restaurants, the safety, ease and speed of QR payments has ensured that it remains the preferred method of remitting payment for many, in particular the youth, fuelled by their widespread use of cell phones.  


Good for marketing 

Scan to Pay technology has revolutionised the payment landscape in South Africa, providing not only a secure and rapid payment platform, but offering a significant opportunity for businesses to engage with this tech savvy demographic. QR codes can gather user information - trends, preferences and shopping patterns and habits, allowing product and service providers to tailor and focus their marketing and messaging. 


The introduction of QR technology into the user experience of online shopping, the physical retail, food and beverage environment and its inclusion in the ‘pay bills’ option of multiple service providers of a QR scan to pay code, is making life simpler for young people.  

Already, they can use this technology in many of their preferred outlets including youth fashion retailer Cotton On, telecoms giants MTN and Vodacom (Gen Z’s would cease to exist without data!), grocery retailers Pick ‘n Pay and Checkers, at Engen petrol stations and their forecourt convenience stores as well as Makro and Takealot. 


Scan to Pay gift vouchers 

Given the eagerness with which young people have adopted QR code technology, and its extensive availability at their favourite outlets, Scan to Pay has extended the technology’s usefulness of the technology making it easy to purchase and gift vouchers to anyone. In this way, recipients can choose how and where they spend their gift money, making these vouchers a more attractive option than store or mall vouchers. For students, far from home and trying to learn the art of budgeting, this is an innovative gifting option and what could be more apt in this June Youth Month? 


Paying varsity fees 

Furthermore, students at UCT (where there are almost 30 000 undergraduate and postgraduate students) can opt to pay for their varsity fees using the ‘bill payments’ section in the Scan to Pay app, removing the frustration of exceeding daily online banking limits with EFTs or incurring interest payments on credit cards. 


With young people turning their cell phones and smart devices into replacements for books, radios, MP3 players, cameras, social meeting places, maps, letters and so much more, using them as their 21st century cheque book or bank card and tapping to pay wherever they go, makes complete sense.  


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