It is estimated that 67% of the adult population in South Africa is unbanked, and that 37% live in rural areas. When it comes to the security of payments, working to eliminate fraud in this environment is of upmost importance for business owners.

Did you know that in Africa, 90% of retail payments are made in cash? South Africa, however, is slowing moving into a cash-less economy, so how can you make your business less vulnerable to fraud?

The best form of collecting payments and accounting for every last rand is to have an electronic form of collection.

When choosing your partner for payment collections you need to consider these eight points:

1. Do they have a good reputation?

Ask people you trust if they are familiar with the company and do your own online research. Ask your potential partner for references, and ask to be taken on a site visit.

2. Get quotes but remember to compare apples with apples to ensure you get a fair rate.

3. What other value-added services can their payment devices offer? And ask, can these value-added services apply to your existing client base and possibly generate additional income for your business?

4. Is the device truly mobile?

Can it operate without power and connectivity means? Does it operate over hard lines which are prone to network related issues, or do they operate on GSM networks? And if so, is redundancy provided (different cell providers)? What if the unit cannot access power for several days, can it continue to run? How long will it last, are there other charging alternatives (car charging, solar options, etc.)?

5. What backups do they operate and what is their up time?

If it does go wrong what is their standard practice, and how quick will they have you up and running? What is their customer service reputation? What SLAs do they offer/guarantee?

6. Can they facilitate transactions from all types of cards (if card payments are used/offered, VISA and MasterCard), including cheque cards from all banks?

7. What kind of auditing tools and/or reports are available to retrieve historical and real-time transactional information?

8. Can it easily integrate with your back-end administration/accounting system, if not what are the available options to get this transactional information into your system?

Remember, the most important thing to consider when choosing a payment partner is the system’s integrity, security and how it will benefit your business.