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Pick n Pay. Picture: SUPPLIED
Pick n Pay. Picture: SUPPLIED

Pick n Pay’s in-store cryptocurrency payments system, which allows shoppers to pay in bitcoin, is gaining traction with R1m a month in spending on groceries, data, airtime and municipal bills.

Pick n Pay, which recently reported the first annual loss in its 57-year history, is the only large retail store in SA that accepts cryptocurrency, a move that taps into the growing market of tech-savvy consumers who are ready to embrace the future of finance.

Deven Moodley, Pick n Pay’s head of value-added services, financial services and mobile division, has overseen the growth of crypto transactions from R25,000 a month.

The surge is most pronounced in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. Half of all transactions are R500 and under, and the transaction amount is capped at R10,000.

“For years, crypto was something only computer boffins knew about, but Pick n Pay has paved the way for our shoppers to be early adopters in using their digital currency as a method of everyday payment,” Moodley said.

“Crypto payments, which continue to grow month on month, fit into our Ways2Pay strategy of giving more customers mechanisms to pay in our stores,” he said.

This was part of Pick n Pay’s journey to an economy that was less dependent on cash, and one that drove financial inclusion, which was a priority for the company, Moodley said.

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated demand for contactless payments and cashless options, with digital tokens and unbacked crypto assets, such as bitcoin, gaining popularity.

Pick n Pay decided to allow crypto payments after the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) in October 2022 declared designated crypto assets as financial products.

Carel van Wyk, founder of Money Badger, a business that focuses on making bitcoin payments simpler and safer, has played a crucial role in bridging the gap between Pick n Pay and crypto platforms.

“There has been a shift away from the use of crypto as a purely speculative asset towards what it was originally intended for — to be engaged with as a digital currency, increasing spending, which has led to an increase in merchant demand,” Van Wyk said.

With nearly 10% of South Africans owning crypto assets, according to a 2023 report by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority report, the country is mimicking global trends.

Pick n Pay shares were up 2.7% in intraday trade on Wednesday before trending down to end 0.61% weaker at R24.61.

gumedemi@businesslive.co.za

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