This article provides an overview of the available payment methods in South Africa, exploring their features, advantages, and considerations. In South Africa, a variety of payment methods are available to meet the diverse needs of consumers and businesses. From traditional cash transactions to modern digital solutions, the payment landscape has evolved to offer convenience and efficiency. Whether you’re a tourist or a consumer seeking the most suitable option, or a business owner looking to cater to your customers’ preferences, this guide will help you navigate through the payment options available in the country. Join us as we delve into the world of payments in South Africa and uncover the choices that shape financial transactions in the nation.

9 Available Payment Methods in South Africa:



1) Cash:

Cash has been the most commonly used payment method in South Africa until recently, especially for everyday lower-value purchases. It offers a “plan b” in case of a device’s malfunctions or connectivity failures and helps limit spending since customers have a finite amount of cash in their pocket. However, acquiring cash can be slightly inconvenient as customers need to find ATMs, some of which may charge fees, or visit the bank. The rise of digital payment methods provides additional convenience and security, but cash continues to be widely accepted in South Africa for immediate transactions.

2) Credit Cards:

In South Africa, major credit card issuers like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express provide credit cards that can be used at various businesses,and many international cards are highly accepted as well, all you gotta do is check it out with your card´s provider institution. This method is broadly accepted in SA, so you probably won´t have any trouble finding establishments that will accept your card. With a credit card, cardholders can pay for goods and services and repay the outstanding amount later, usually with interest. One advantage of using credit cards is the added security they provide for online transactions. Most credit card companies offer reimbursement for fraudulent charges up to a certain limit if promptly reported. 


3) Debit Cards:

Debit cards are also widely used in South Africa, allowing individuals to make purchases by directly accessing funds from their bank accounts. So you won’t have any trouble with this method´s availability in SA as well. These cards, often issued by networks such as Visa, Mastercard, or Maestro, offer a convenient cashless payment option. Unlike credit cards, debit cards deduct funds immediately from the linked bank account, ensuring that users spend within their available balance. Debit cards provide the convenience of card payments while eliminating the need to carry physical cash. However, it’s important to keep track of account balances to avoid overdraft fees or insufficient funds.

credit cards in a pocket

credit cards in a pocket

4) Prepaid Cards:

Prepaid cards have gained popularity as a flexible and convenient payment method in South Africa. These cards function similarly to debit or credit cards but do not require a bank account and it’s widely accepted in South Africa. Users can load funds onto the prepaid card, allowing them to make purchases until the balance is depleted. Prepaid cards offer the advantage of controlling spending, as users can only spend what they have loaded onto the card. They are particularly useful for those who prefer not to link their financial transactions to a bank account. However, users should be aware of any associated fees, such as card issuance fees or transaction charges, that may apply to prepaid cards.

5) Mobile Contactless and Wallet Payments: 

In recent years, mobile and contactless payment methods have gained significant traction in South Africa, offering consumers a convenient and secure way to make transactions. These modern payment options have revolutionized the traditional payment landscape and are becoming increasingly popular among businesses and individuals alike, because of its practicality, so you can count on this method as well when purchasing in SA. Mobile payments, facilitated through mobile wallet apps, allow users to link their bank accounts or credit cards to their smartphones. By simply tapping their phones on a contactless payment terminal, they can complete transactions swiftly and efficiently. This eliminates the need for physical cash or cards, providing a seamless payment experience.

6) Payments by Apps: 

Payments by apps such as PayPal, Masterpass,and PayU,  have revolutionized the payment landscape in South Africa. These platforms offer convenience, security, and a wide range of availability for users in South Africa. Consumers can enjoy seamless transactions from their smartphones, while businesses can streamline operations and expand their customer base. With robust security measures in place, payments by apps have become a preferred choice for online purchases, bill payments, and money transfers in South Africa’s digital economy.

contactless payment

contactless payment

7) Online Bank Transfer:

It is a widely used and convenient payment method in South Africa. It allows individuals to transfer money directly from their bank accounts for various online transactions. The key advantage of online bank transfers is the enhanced security it provides, as customers can make payments without sharing sensitive financial information. This method ensures a quick and efficient process, eliminating the need for physical cash or checks. Businesses can also benefit from online bank transfers by receiving large payments without additional fees. However, some customers may have reservations about transferring funds directly from their accounts, and the transaction processing time may vary between banks. Overall, online bank transfers offer a secure and efficient payment option in the digital landscape of South Africa.

8) Email Payments:

This method is popular in South Africa as a convenient and secure method for businesses and individuals to send and receive payments. Customers receive payment requests or invoices via email, allowing them to choose from various payment options and make payments easily, and could save your day in case of failure in other methods of payment.

9) Cheques:

Cheques have been a popular payment method in South Africa for many years, but now it is falling into disuse, offering an emergency way to make payments without the need for cash or electronic transactions. When using a cheque, the payer writes out the amount and recipient’s name on a printed cheque form and signs it. The recipient can then deposit the cheque into their bank account to receive the payment. We don’t recommend counting on this option because every year it’s less and less used, so it should be seen as a precautionary measure.

mobile in a hand


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the most popular online payment methods in South Africa? The most popular online payment methods in South Africa include credit cards, PayPal, app wallets, and cash.
  • Do they accept international payments in South Africa? Yes, with platforms like PayPal, businesses in South Africa can accept international payments from customers around the world.
  • What are the advantages of accepting multiple payment methods? Accepting multiple payment methods increases customer satisfaction, reduces cart abandonment rates, and expands the potential customer base.
  • Are bank transfers secure for online payments? Bank transfers are considered a secure payment method, as they require customers to authorize the transaction and transfer funds directly from their bank accounts.


In summary, South Africa offers a range of payment methods to accommodate the diverse needs of its population. From cash to digital options like debit and credit cards, mobile payments, and online banking, there are solutions available for everyone. While cash remains widely used, alternative methods provide convenience, security, and efficiency. Mobile payments and online banking have transformed the payment landscape, enabling fast and remote transactions. Cheques, although declining in popularity, can still serve as an emergency option. So it’s up to you to define which payment methods to use in South Africa.

Also read: What is Financial Planning, and How to do It?