The Fintech Landscape of South Africa by Richie Santosdiaz for The Fintech Times
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South African Citizen’s Reliance on Cross Border Payments Revealed in Mastercard Report

The cross-border payments network was vital to the financial survival of families around the world at the height of the COVID-19 crisis and continues to play a key role post-pandemic, according to the 2022 Mastercard Borderless Payments Report.

Mastercard surveyed nearly 8,000 consumers across 15 different markets and found that despite evidence of economic recovery – with earnings up globally compared to before the pandemic – and international travel opening up again, all countries are sending and receiving cross-border payments more frequently than 12 months ago, with ‘supporting family’ a key driver for sending money abroad.

Nearly six in 10 people (59 per cent) globally say they send money abroad to support family and friends, by far the most common reason for making a cross-border payment – this rises to 61 per cent in South Africa. With countries around the world bordering on recession or experiencing economic crises, this trend is set to remain.

Globally, over four in 10 (42 per cent) people are making or receiving more cross-border payments than 12 months ago. This is compared to 51 per cent in South Africa. Over the same period, 25 per cent are making or receiving less cross-border payments, higher than the global figure of 19 per cent.

More than two years on, the economic effects of recent years and of other recent global events mean people are still finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of those who make online cross-border payments surveyed globally say that family abroad are still struggling financially and need their financial support, while 40 per cent say their families back home would not have survived the recent times if they hadn’t been able to send money home to help support them. In South Africa, these figures rise to 59 per cent.

And while more than half (54 per cent) say they have relied on online cross-border payments more than ever before, the data suggests the trend is here to stay, with 71 per cent saying that even though they can now travel home, they will continue to send money online for ease. To enable this, it’s important that cross-border payments are fast, transparent, and secure.

Keeping the transaction as well as personal and financial information secure is the most important consideration for people when making a cross-border payment. Over four in 10 (41 per cent) people ranked this as most important – with the figure reaching 46 per cent in South Africa.

Overall, almost nine in 10 (88 per cent) people who make online cross-border payments are confident in the security of online cross-border payments – 91 per cent in South Africa – as the cross-border payments network plays an increasingly central role in the global economy.

Stephen Grainger, executive vice president, Mastercard Cross Border Services said: “A well-functioning cross-border payment ecosystem has long been a crucial element of the global economy and remittances have become even more vital for families to get by given the huge economic challenges countries around the world are facing.

“Cross-border payments provided a lifeline for many during the pandemic and will continue to do so for the months ahead – playing a key role in keeping the economy moving and allowing families to put food on the table.”


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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