SnapScan – How it works using a barcode

We at are passionate about providing information and as discussed in this article in the past, there were very few options for how you could pay for your purchases. You could pay with cash or cheque. Later down the line, you could pay via debit or credit cards and even bank transfers known as EFT (Electronic funds transfer). One of the newest developments in barcode technology allows you to pay with your smartphone. In these modern days, people are moving away from carrying cash or even cards due to many reasons, one of them being safety. People use their phones to organise their lives and they have their whole lives on their phones.  Now they can even pay with them! That is where the app called Snapscan comes into play.

It was created by two gentleman by the names of Malan Joubert and Kobus Ehlers from South Africa. From its early beginnings in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, it has spread throughout South Africa at a rapid pace. The app even won the MTN Business’s 2013 App of the Year award for their contribution to barcode technology.  The co-founders have focussed on making sure that it is accepted in as many stores as possible and have done a lot of foot work to ensure this. The more stores that use Snapscan, the more customers will be prepared to commit to this new way of paying. So far, there has been a high incidence of repeat purchases and a very low rate of people abandoning the app. This is especially true for the Stellenbosch area where it was first introduced.

So, how exactly does IT work?  In order to use the payment portal, you need to download the app onto your phone. If you do not have the app installed on your phone at the time of purchase, you can scan the QR code (which would most likely be displayed at the point of sale) which is a format of barcode and it will transfer you to the appropriate app store where you can download it for free. Each retailer will have its own unique Snapscan QR barcode which is a 2d barcode that you scan with your phone, and it directs you to payment, so you do not have to manually enter in banking details of the shop etc. Quick, safe, and simple. You must then load your payment information onto the app itself. This is completely safe and secure, and you only need to load it once.  After this, all you have to do is enter your pin number, use fingerprint, or face authentication in order to gain access. In this way, the retailer does not ever have access to your credit card details, ensuring that it is safe. You do not need to worry that other people will have access to your money. It all works through the use of scanning a barcode.

The way you pay is to follow the following steps. Firstly, you need to scan the Snap Code barcode (QR Code) with the camera on your Smartphone. Next, it is necessary to enter the amount that you would like to pay. Thirdly, you need to click the pay button which will then authorise payment from the debit or credit card that is already loaded onto the app the last step is to authenticate and pay. Two minutes and your payment is complete, Voila! You will also receive a proof of payment email.

It is completely free for customers; it will only be the data used while using the app that costs you via your service provider which is as little as sending a message over WhatsApp Messenger. The way they make their profit is by charging the retailers a small transaction fee on each purchase done through the app. It is able to work with any South African Bank as well as most international credit cards, except for American Express. They work hand in hand with Standard Bank in order to keep all the information encrypted which means you can use your Standard Bank virtual card with the app as well.

Not only does this app have all the above listed benefits for shoppers it also has great benefits for merchants and shop owners. It is a pretty straight forward process for you to sign up on their website as a merchant, please note they will require you to upload your FICA or KYC documentation. You do not need to be a registered company, but you need to still provide ID docs etc to It takes a maximum of a week for them to sign you up and get the ball rolling, but usually much quicker than this. They charge roughly 3% of each payment done via the app but if your turnover increases the percentage drops. You can read more about this on their website They will provide you with displays that you can put up at your tills with the barcode on. They also have a team that you can contact that will assist you in getting this glorious app set up on your website if you happen to be an online store. They have thought of everything and ways in which to benefit your business and profits as well.

Snapscan makes use of one of the most exciting developments in barcode technology. The Quick Response Code, QR code for short.  It consists of black squares set in a square grid structure. The QR barcode can be defined as a two dimensional barcode that can store data such as a URL.  This data can be accessed by scanning the barcode itself with the camera on a Smartphone.  This barcode has revolutionized the retail industry.  It is often used in promotions or as a marketing tool for the business.  It links the clients to a site that has more information regarding what the business has to offer or even a link to a promotion that is running.

Using a barcode in your daily business transactions will put your business ahead of your competitors and enable you to boost awareness of your business and what  it can offer your clients.  In this competitive business world, you need to keep up with all the new developments in barcode technology in order to make sure that your business thrives. We are here to help you do this and provide information and guidelines on all things barcode related.

Image Source: (Licensed)


Related Categories: Work, Reviews
Incredible Things