Mobile money could make a resurgence if network operators’ talks with the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) progress well. If the technology does get the go-ahead, the use of mobile money to distribute grants would probably be a win-win for operators and beneficiaries. It could reduce fraud, cut costs, save recipients from having to travel long distances to collect cash and, importantly, it could help to formalise the informal economy.Mobile money largely disappeared from the South African market in 2016 when Vodacom and MTN pulled the plug on their offerings. But a Sassa representative told Business Day the technology "is under consideration for future use, and consultations are under way". Vodacom has confirmed that it is in talks with the agency, which is looking for new ways to distribute grants when its contract with Cash Paymaster Services comes to an end. Mobile money could be used to facilitate trade in the informal economy — much the same as the M-Pesa platform i...

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