South African consumers are now able to pay merchants directly for goods purchased online, without the need of a credit card. 

POLi, a web-based payment system service launched by Setcom, lets users pay directly out of their bank accounts, David Liu, MD of Setcom, comments: “The introduction of POLi effectively re-invents the payment industry and allows Internet users without credit cards to shop in a completely secure online environment for the first time.
"It also saves merchants – and users – significantly on fees without taking market share away from anyone, including the banks. POLi simply broadens the market.
"While it saves merchants and users on transactional costs, it also protects merchants from the ever-present risk of ‘charge-backs’ where transactions are illegally or fraudulently conducted on credit cards – costs that they invariably have to carry."
South Africa is the second country in the world to make use of POLi, following an agreement between Setcom and POLi developer Centricom.
The company believes the system will be welcomed by users who may find it difficult to get credit cards, although they may have access to Internet banking.
"We believe we are lowering the barriers to entry in the on-line payment space because POLi broadens the playing field and the overall size of the on-line transactional market,” says Liu.
Setcom is already processing in excess of R7-million worth of transactions per month using POLi, a figure that is expected to rise to R1-billion during the next 12 months.
Customers from the big four South African banks and Investec are able to transact online using POLi.
“POLi allows users to make use of their accounts (savings or cheque) to make payments directly into the merchant’s bank account and receive an instant receipt of the completed transaction. This can be likened to the role of EFT in the traditional retail world,” explains Liu.