Broll’s latest SA Retail Snapshot puts the spotlight on cashless payment systems

Shopper spending habits and how consumers purchase goods and services have changed significantly especially over the last few decades with the advent of cashless payment systems and contactless connectivity.

The biggest driver of this has been technology and the retail sector has been largely receptive of this, evolving and keeping pace with new digital technologies and consequent changes in consumer shopping behaviour.

In light of these changes, Broll Property Group’s quarterly SA Retail Snapshot Report (Q1: 2019) investigates cashless systems and contactless connectivity. The latest report was published in May by Broll Property Intel, which is the research division of leading Pan-African commercial property services group, Broll.

Elaine Wilson, director of Broll Property Intel, comments: “The report gives some progressive insight into what’s happening in the cashless and digital payments space globally and looks at how some South African retailers and banks are embracing these changes. However, we also question whether the existence of these new payment systems is beneficial for all parties?”

The 12-page report first takes a brief look at the origins of “flat money” (coins and paper money) and later other payments systems such as “representative money” (cheques) and credit cards. It then zones into changes in the last 20 years with mobile banking, contactless payments cards; and, more recently, how mobile payment systems and virtual currencies have been developed on the back of the smartphone tech revolution.

Broll Property Intel’s researchers query in the report: “If flat money has been utilised as the primary method of payment for centuries, why is that society is gearing towards a cashless, contactless culture?”

As mentioned in The Evolution of Retail Report 2019, Broll notes that technology, especially around smartphones, is one of the major driving forces that has led to the changes in the way humans interact on a daily basis.

The latest SA Retail Snapshot Report, reiterates: “Retailers and landlords are having to take into account these factors in an ever-evolving retail environment, thus supporting the need to have a physical presence as well as a digital connection. Additionally, since smartphones were invented in the early 2010s and have gained popularity by becoming more affordable and accessible, digital transformation and integration have permeated lives for better and for worse in certain instances. Various retailers have incorporated technological aspects and are thus bringing digital integration to consumers.”

The report highlights some of the digital integration innovations that both international and local South African retail brands have introduced, through smartphone apps and other instore technologies to improve the shopping experience.

For example, the report notes that Builders Warehouse’s new flagship store in Boksburg, Gauteng, has incorporated various technology-driven elements into the store such as 3D printers, pool water analysis, in-store online shopping touch screens and mobile scan-and-pay scanners. “All these tech and payment options are anticipated to enhance the shopping experience and provide convenience, thus giving instant gratification for time-conscious customers,” it adds.

Cellphone and digital banking making waves

In terms of mobile or cellphone banking, Broll’s researchers examined how USSD (unstructured supplementary service data) mobile communication technology was the forerunner to cellphone banking as we know it today. In its report, Broll highlights Kenya’s highly successful m-pesa mobile money system, which was launched off USSD technology for ordinary cellphones, before the arrival of smartphones.

With new digital banks making waves in the South African market, the report also highlights some of the new players such as TymeBank and Discovery Bank. In addition, it zones into various contactless payment offerings such as Tap-and-Go; e-wallets; smartphone-specific contactless payment options such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay; wearable devices and apps, such as Fitbit and Fitbit Pay; QR code options like Standard Bank’s SnapScan and Alibaba’s AliPay; as well as biometric and voice-enabled payment systems.

Contactless payment and wearables

“Most credit cards and debit cards nowadays have an embedded microchip. When in close proximity, the microchip exchanges payment details that are safely and securely transmitted, making payment interactions/transactions contactless with use of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology,” notes the report.

“RFID technology has many perks, which allows for the embedding of microchips into almost anything, such as clothing (Lyle & Scott and Barclaycard’s world-first contactless payment jacket) and accessories (payment sunglasses and the world’s first contactless payment ring – K Ring). Contactless payment methods colloquially known as Tap-to-Pay, Tap-and-Go or just Tap, enables for quick, secure and convenient transactions, all while one’s card remains safely in their possession,” it explains.

The technology has seen smart devices becoming increasingly popular, with the tech enhancements in such devices and so-called wearables providing owners with a practical, multi-functional daily tool. “Synchronised with a corresponding app or software, where a user’s credit card and/or debit card credentials are securely stored, these wearables allow for seamless and more importantly, cardless payments,” notes the report.

Disadvantages of contactless payments

Broll’s report also zones into some of the disadvantages of contactless payments.

“While technology has amplified convenience and efficiency in stores and restaurants globally, some countries and cities such as Philadelphia and New Jersey have already banned retailers from accepting and implementing cashless-payments-only systems,” notes the report.

Wilson comments: “Our latest SA Retail Snapshot Report (Q1: 2019) provides in-depth insight on the impact of cashless payment systems in today’s ever-evolving world and how its users have utilised the multitude of contactless payment platforms, and where retailers and landlords are having to adapt and embrace the new technologies.”

The full report is readily available for download. Please click here: https://www.broll.com/publications/

Maxiflex opens the door to modernity and security for students

Students living at the stylish and secure My Domain student apartments in Cape Town enjoy easy, safe access to their underground parking bays, thanks to the innovative high-speed door from Maxiflex.

Featuring study areas, recreational spaces as well as a fitness centre, this designer facility offers students an ideal balance between academic and social life. With residents’ safety as a central focus, My Domain provides round-the-clock security through biometric access and CCTV cameras.

With emphasis on safety also extended to the facility’s underground parking bay which houses approximately 60 vehicles, a door was required that would secure the parking bay for the safety of the students and their vehicles while also delivering seamless and reliable operation.

“Our RR3000R high-speed door model from the ASSA ABLOY stable presented the ultimate heavy-duty security solution for this application,” states Maxiflex MD, Bram Janssen. “The high-performance door perfectly combines aesthetics and style with reliability and security to fit in with My Domain’s modern architecture.

“In addition, the rugged door effortlessly meets the demands typical of a high traffic area, reliably operating at very high cycles per hour ensuring that the safety of the students is maintained.” The high-speed door is fitted with an MCC frequency converter control that aids high opening and closing speeds of up to 2,0/0,6 m/s and a quiet, low-wear motion sequence.

The high-speed door’s exceptional capabilities include clear window slats incorporated into the door curtain which gives students a clear view of the outside to detect any possible threats to their safety. Emphasising its safety-centric design, the high-speed door features numerous safety devices including a contact-free pre-running safety photocell and a door line photocell that prevents the door from closing when there are people or objects in the closing plane.

With size dimensions of 6000 x 3000 mm, the ASSA ABLOY RR3000R high-speed door is ideal for use in locations where reduced space is required over the lintel. The robust high-speed door features self-supporting galvanized steel-edged side frames. The door’s anodized aluminum lamella door curtain is connected by flexible wearless heavy belts that wind up without contacting each other ensuring extended life cycle. These unique design features deliver an extremely long service life coupled with low maintenance needs.

During a power failure the door can be opened manually with the brake release handle by a spring system in the side frames. With class 3 – 4 (EN 12424) wind resistance, the high-speed door is unaffected by Cape Town’s notoriously strong winds. The door is also able to operate hassle-free in extreme temperatures ranging from −20°C to +60°C.

The owner of My Domain, Theo Soeker, praised the smoothness, speed, aesthetics and security capabilities of the ASSA ABLOY high-speed door. He was also highly impressed by the quick response displayed by the after-sales support of the Maxiflex Western Cape team in addressing any concerns with the doors.

“As a door and docking solutions specialist, we strive to offer modern, cutting-edge door solutions and we are particularly proud of this installation and our sales team did a great job in specifying the correct product for this application; it assists our customer in providing a student-centred experience at My Domain where students can live and study secure in the knowledge that their vehicles and themselves are well-protected,” concludes Janssen.

 

Consumer education crucial to making SA’s savings month dream a reality

July was national savings month in South Africa, and there is a clear link between the implementation of the National Credit Act (NCA) in our financial services sector and the country’s overall ability to create a sustainable savings culture.

The NCA came into effect in 2006 and changed the way businesses interact with South Africans. One of the most important functions of the act is to create a level playing field between brands and consumers. It achieves this by forcing companies to meet clear communication and information transparency standards.

“Companies are required by the NCA to ensure that they communicate clearly and simply with consumers,” says Nkazi Sokhulu, co-founder and CEO at Credit Life Insurance brand, Yalu. “In theory, this stops service providers from hiding contract details within the fine print, or from talking in a generally confusing way about a product or service.”

Credit life insurance, for example, covers borrowers against their debt in the case of retrenchment, disability or death. This type of insurance is often (but not always) legally required for certain types of debt and is generally provided by the same financial institution offering the loan. Many borrowers don’t know much about their credit life insurance policies, including the fact that they have the right to choose their own provider. The fees charged for such policies can vary dramatically, and as a result a lot of consumers unwittingly pay the maximum possible premium every month.

Yalu customer, Theeran Chetty, offers a case study in how consumers can access hidden monthly revenue. He will save R1 765 over the lifetime of his credit life Insurance policy, after switching to Yalu. “I was interested in seeing whether it was a worthwhile consideration,” he says. “In addition to the potential savings shown on the mobile application, I was quite impressed with the convenience and ease offered. I decided to try it out.”

“Theera’s savings were created by a combination of awareness and ease of use,” says Sokhulu. “His story illustrates how important it is to educate consumers about all the possibilities that are out there to save money on existing contracts and policies.”

While the NCA ensures that consumers like Theeran Chetty are able take advantage of a transparent information environment to switch providers and save money, Sokhulu explains that strong, ongoing education is still necessary for a genuine savings culture to be enabled in South Africa.

“Consumers should know what other, cheaper alternatives exist,” he says. “But it’s equally important that they understand the terms and conditions of their existing agreements, and that they are equipped to demand that their current service providers stick to the legal terms of their contracts.”

“We also keep count of how much our customers are losing out on in savings, simply because their current service providers have delayed doing the paperwork that enables a switch to a new provider,” adds Sokhulu.

“Sadly, a decision to switch providers often has to be matched by an insistence that financial service brands do the necessary paperwork within legally required time frames,” Sokhulu concludes. “This isn’t the way it should be, but if we improve education and awareness levels there is no doubt ordinary South Africans will be in a much better position to grow their savings by making sure providers meet their legal obligations.”

 

Amazon beats Google in the e-tail search

By Michael King: head of Reprise Digital South Africa, an IPG Mediabrands company

When thinking “search”, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Google leads the pack. A global study has shown that consumers begin their retail related searches on Amazon first (46%) followed by Google searches (34%). That may seem surprising considering that Google has traditionally dominated the online product search space – that is up until a few years ago, when Amazon grew exponentially and became the front runner for retail-related searches.

Between 2015 and 2018, Amazon grew from 46% to 54% with Google declining from 54% to 46%. Amazon is so popular that the site has grown 46% per annum with ad spend on the site reaching $6,3 billion. These are impressive figures indeed, especially over such a short period of time.

Consumer purchasing behaviour has undoubtedly changed over the past few years with more and more people (87% in 2018) beginning their product searches on a digital channel vs 71% in 2017. If we look at local online behaviour here in South Africa, we can absolutely see the same pattern emerging.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Google though – they remain the search powerhouse with just over 1,2 trillion overall queries captured compared to Amazon’s 2,6 billion product-related searches. Thirty-five percent of Google’s searches resulted in actual transactions within five days, versus a 20% transaction rate from Amazon. If local brands follow the online purchase funnel, these results are not extreme in the least and can in fact only improve.

In the future, we predict that Google Images and image-based apps will play a bigger role in product searches. We’ve also seen an increase in voice search at a global level and it’s only a matter of time before this morphs into visual shopping.  What this new purchase behaviour will look like is still unclear, but the capability to take a picture and get immediate product related information already exists. This is before we even look at AI and how it has the potential to change the shopping game completely.

There’s no clear indication (yet) that Amazon will reach South Africa’s shores but this is telling consumer behaviour that retailers should be cognisant of. It’s interesting to note that as an example, Takealot has had been growing at a compound rate of 107% over the last few years, and by all indications e-tailing behaviour in South Africa is following the same kind of trend.

It’s certainly an interesting space for brands to be playing in.

Reprise Digital SA DNA

Reprise is a digital-first agency, and everything we do is rooted in understanding how consumers interact across apps, sites, IOT-devices, bots, search engines, and social platforms. We uncover your audience based upon their digital fingerprints – and build a media approach to help transform your business digitally. Reprise has the ability to fuse smart digital approaches for our media agency partners in smart and sophisticated ways.

Bottled water bottles do not contain BPA, are reusable

“Bottled water bottles do not contain BPA and therefore cannot leach BPA into the water they contain. On the contrary, bottled water bottles are made from PET, a food-grade plastic that is biologically inert if ingested, is safe during handling, and is not a hazard if inhaled. As importantly, they can be reused and recycled.”

This is the message from Charlotte Metcalf, the executive director of the South African National Bottled Water Association in response to consumer queries received after a newspaper article asked ‘Is my bottled water bottle killing me?’

“The answer is a simple NO,” Metcalf said. “In South Africa, bottled water is legislated as a food product, and must be packaged in PET (or PETE) bottles if packaged in plastic as opposed to glass. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is approved as safe for food and beverage contact by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States and similar regulatory agencies throughout the world, and has been for over 33 years.

“According to the International Life Sciences Institute Report Packaging Materials 1. Polyethylene Terephthalate PET for Food Packaging Applications, published in 2000, PET is biologically inert if ingested, is safe during handling, and is not a hazard if inhaled.”

According to one of Coca-Cola Africa’s technical specialists, Dr Casper Durandt, the bottled water industry unfairly shoulders the brunt of unsubstantiated claims. Durandt advised concerned consumers to:

  • Look for the SANBWA seal – this guarantees membership of SANBWA and adherence to its strict health & safety regulations, including bottling in PET.
  • Look for the plastic resin code3 in the “recycle triangle” that must, by law, be printed or embossed into the container. Those numbered 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 are most often used for food and beverage packaging in South Africa; 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7 are most highly rated as “safe” by the FDA.
  • Recycle all your plastic.

Metcalf’s assertions were also confirmed by Chandru Wadhwani, joint MD of Extrupet, a leading recycler of PET in Johannesburg:

“There are numerous urban myths around bottled water bottles, myths which have been thoroughly debunked by many credible scientific sources in recent years. The most common is the idea that plastic water bottles can leach chemicals – such as Bisphenol A (abbreviated to BPA), dioxin, and DEHA – into the water.”

“The truth is that BPA is not used to make PET, nor is it used to make any of the component materials used to make PET. There is also no dioxin1 in PET, nor is DEHA2 present in PET either as a raw material or as a decomposition product,” Wandhwani added.

Gert Claasen, Safripol’s technology and innovation executive, concluded: “The safety of our polymers is extremely important for us and our customers, and therefore the Safripol product range complies to all the safety and food regulations which are regulated by the European Commission, REACH, as well as the FDA in the United States of America. These regulations are updated constantly, and we ensure that our products immediately comply when they are.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Busting the gaming stereotype

South Africa’s gamers are educated, healthy, well-off and live life to the full

By Rachel Thompson, insights director at GfK South Africa

Perceptions that gamers are predominantly young, geeky, and male persist, despite the reality that playing videogames has become mainstream.

Our consumer research at GfK shows that playing games today spans generations and genders. Today, most people in the mid and upper LSMs play games at least sometimes, with around 72% of internet-connected South Africans playing games across their devices at least once a month.

Our GfK Consumer Life study – surveying 1 000 South African consumers who are representative of the online population – indicates that the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices is the catalyst for the mainstream gaming explosion. Some 54% of the respondent base are playing from mobile phones. Around a fifth (20%) own a dedicated gaming console.

The data reveals that 12% of these connected consumers own a gaming console and play games every week, while 6% play every day. Daily gamers are more likely to be members of Generation Z, but there are significant numbers of older daily gamers, too.

Regular gamers are more likely to live in high-income households and to have a good education – 30% of daily gamers are LSM 10 and 23% have a university degree. While half of regular gamers work full time, the more frequent daily gamers are more likely to be students (30%) or unemployed (20%).

The profile of the gamer is that of a person living life to the full – regular gamers are more likely than the average online South African to socialise, exercise, play sport, go to gym, and shop online. They are also more likely to stream online movies and drink alcohol. Consider that 49% of daily gamers use vitamin and mineral supplements compared to 39% of online South Africans, for example, and that 82% of daily gamers exercise to look their best (all online consumers  ̶  71%).

What’s more, 69% prefer to buy fewer higher quality items (all online consumers  ̶ 49%), 56% pamper themselves regularly (all online consumers  ̶  44%), and 72% reflect their individuality through what they buy and wear (all online consumers  ̶  48%). This no doubt reflects the fact that gamers are often from higher income households than the average and that many are students who have time on their hands. However, it does dispel the myth that they focus on their gaming hobby to the exclusion of real life.

Compared to the typical South African, gamers also have a progressive outlook on technology adoption. Some 60% of daily gamers describe themselves as “passionate about technology” and 80% planned to purchase home electronics in the next 12 months at the time they were surveyed. Compared to just 43% of all online consumers in South Africa, 65% said they had knowledge and experience of technology. They are also more likely to purchase online (85% vs 68%).

All of these stats paint a picture of the avid gamer as an adventurous person who treasures their freedom and individuality. They understand the power of tech to elevate their individualism and they are looking for products that are tailored to their personal needs.

 

Yuppiechef launches Johannesburg stores

Kitchen and homeware retailer Yuppiechef celebrated the opening of two new stores in Johannesburg, on the same day. The six-time winner of the South African eCommerce awards and relative newcomer to the world of physical retail, Yuppiechef opened its doors in both Sandton City and Mall of Africa on Friday, 28th June 2019.

Yuppiechef CEO, Andrew Smith, says that the two Johannesburg stores represent a new era for the award-winning brand. “Since the launch of our first physical store two years ago, and with four Cape Town branches now thriving, we’ve always had Joburg customers asking us when their turn was coming, and now we’ve opened two at once. We’ve found the right locations in two world-class centres, in Sandton City and Mall of Africa, and we’re thrilled to finally see our brand brought to life in Gauteng.”

Yuppiechef has pioneered the concept of omnichannel retail in South Africa and Smith says that the vision for Yuppiechef in Johannesburg is no different. “We’re hoping that our customers in Gauteng will see us as Yuppiechef – not an online store, or a shop they pass in their local mall – but rather a single retail brand that they can choose to interact with on their terms, wherever and whenever they feel like it.”

The two new Yuppiechef stores will carry a selection of the products available on yuppiechef.com, but should an item not be available in the store, customers can order it while visiting the store and have it delivered to their preferred address. “Through the combination of our online and physical stores our customers have access to a much broader range, bigger than any single store offering,” says Smith.

The Johannesburg stores will follow the design principles of the other four Yuppiechef stores with an industrial feel and premium features including the iconic wooden panelling and engineered quartz countertops. The stores boast a “no queue” point-of-sale system which means that customers can pay for their basket of items at any position in the store, aided by a store assistant.

Smith says he’s excited about the possibilities that the new stores present for Yuppiechef, “We want to reach as many people as we can, because ultimately, our belief is that quality kitchen tools and ingredients can change the way you feel about being in the kitchen and help you be a better cook – and that’s in our DNA across all of our channels.”

Yuppiechef was founded in 2006 by two good friends and only 32 products in a lounge in Plumstead, Cape Town. More than a decade later, our simple goal remains: To offer you the best kitchen and home products—and to be the very best at doing it. Yuppiechef emerged out of co-founder Shane Dryden’s love for cooking and cool kitchen tools.

Yuppiechef is South Africa’s premier kitchen and homeware store, stocking 700 of the world’s leading brands. From knives, cookware and appliances, to soft furnishings, craft beer and the finest food ingredients; we’ve tried, tested and sourced the best quality products we can find, for you: people who really care about cooking, entertaining and hosting at home.

Katale Square to bring a new shopping experience to rural Marapyane

MDS Architecture has designed a 11 000 m2 shopping complex in Marapyane outside Settlers in Mpumalanga province for clients, McCormick Developments.

“The area is flat and arid, so the design includes both internal and externally focused areas. While the design is utilitarian, it also promotes human interaction and a sense of fun,” explains Aki Savva, MDS Architecture’s partner leading the project.

The restaurants open out on the lifestyle and children’s play area, features water fountains and protection from the hot sun. Shaded canopies can also be found throughout the complex.

Playful elements have been incorporated into the flooring and paving at the entrances. Natural light in abundance is provided by clerestory windows. While uniformity across the shopfronts creates consistency, stepped bulkheads feature side cladding using external roof cladding for interest. Illuminated 3D signs give a contemporary feel.

“Texture is achieved through the use of a combination of cladding and flush plaster on the walls and ceilings. A floating internal roof has been incorporated into the design which appears to hover above the clerestory windows.

Savva says that clay paving has been used consistently throughout the internal and external areas of the complex, which will feature national tenants like Jet, Pep, Ackermans and OK Furniture as well as Shoprite, Cashbuild and a number of smaller trading stores. “The paving is not only non-slip and hard wearing but brings warmth through the earthy colours and interest via the flooring design,” he says.

Katale Square includes a sewerage plant on site and utilizes borehole water exclusively. A community garden is being created on site where vegetables and food will be grown.

The development has necessitated the upgrade of the road and a new taxi rank area. The complex has plenty of space for possible future phases, including pod buildings or drive-throughs. An existing fuel station is being relocated and upgraded.

Construction began in December 2018 and Katale Square is expected to be completed within just six months from commencement of construction – by end-June 2019.

Professional team

Developer:                                                                      McCormick Property Development

Main contractor:                                                            Tundwe Construction (Pty) Limited

Architect:                                                                        MDS Architecture

Quantity surveyor:                                                        Quanticost Quantity Surveyors

Structural & civil engineer:                                          VSI Consulting Engineers

Electrical engineer:                                                        Ingplan Consulting Engineers

Mechanical engineer:                                                   Pretocon Consulting Engineers

Fire consultants:                                                            Pretocon Consulting Engineers

Health and Safety:                                                         Safe T Worx

McCormick Property Development (MPD) is a market leader in the development of rural and township retail in South Africa, having pioneered the development of these areas since 1983.

From humble beginnings as a family-owned property development company striving to address the retail needs of the lower income bracket, MPD has now completed over 61 developments since its inception.

MPD currently owns and manages a portfolio of 28 shopping malls and centres, totalling over         550 000 m2 GLA, all focussed on the mass market.

With a further 350 000 m of retail in its development pipeline, MPD is continually refining its model to cater for the increasingly aspirant nature of the burgeoning middle-class African market.

Working across the full retail spectrum, MPD weaves global trends into our prime retail developments while maintaining a unique flair tailored to each site. With over 30 years of perfecting the art of rural retail, our journey is just beginning.

La Rosa opens at Time Square

The culinary landscape at Sun International’s Time Square in Menlyn Main continues to evolve. Adding a Mexican twist, the diverse mix of eclectic restaurants at the complex is La Rosa. Offering an authentic Mexican experience, La Rosa Time Square is modeled on the award winning La Rosa Mexican Grille and Tequileria at Honeydew Village. Guests can expect the same energetic vibe, surrounded by vibrant colours, beautifully crafted Mexican-inspired murals etched into the walls and a tequileria bar boasting the widest range of 100% Agave Tequila.

The staff is trained by the best. Under the leadership of a top chef straight out of San Diego, USA, they have learned all there is to know about the fine art of Mexican food and flavours. The menu reflects the playful and flavourful character of true Mexican fare, with tacos and burritos bursting with flavour, as well as a wide variety of starters’ tapas-style. La Rosa is an absolute feast – with its taste bud tingling dishes, lively atmosphere, exceptional décor, bright delights and accents of pink and blue, it is just the spot to indulge in some serious Mexican magic. The fiesta is always on.

La Rosa Times Square owners, Costas and James, have been in the hospitality industry for 30 years having managed and owned several successful restaurants. Tony Rose, creator and owner of the La Rosa brand, explains that in 2010 UNESCO listed Mexican as a world-heritage cuisine and is a favourite in South Africa. “Tequila and Mexican food are the perfect ingredients for a great party,” he says.

Time Square is a destination for gastronomical adventure; where innovative concepts combine. There are 18 bars and restaurants to explore, each individual in concept and character to deliver a distinctive experience. Well known culinary personalities have laid roots at Time Square. Amongst them are Fortunato Mazzone (the charismatic South African chef, radio personality and owner of the multiple award winning Ristorante Ritrovo in Pretoria) who owns Forti Grill on the upper level; Joao da Fonseca (the lead singer of South African house band Mi Casa and well known culinary artiste – aka J’Something) whose first restaurant, Something’s Cooking by J’Something is also located on the upper level, and Guy Fieri (American celebrity chef, restaurateur and TV host of Guy’s Big Bite and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) whose one and only South African restaurant is also at Time Square.

Like Time Square South Africa on Facebook www.facebook.com/TimeSquareRSA and follow on Twitter @TimeSquareRSA.

Sun International’s Time Square is Sun International’s new, flagship casino and entertainment complex in the green precinct of Menlyn Maine in Pretoria. The complex comprises South Africa’s most technologically advanced casino and a restaurant hub within the green Menlyn Maine Precinct.

The casino itself is currently the largest in Gauteng, with two floors housing 1 750 slots and 50 tables. Time Square boasts 18 restaurants and bars by an eclectic ensemble of South African and international personalities. Each is individual in concept and character to deliver a distinctive experience.

The state-of-the-art, 8 500 seat Sun Arena was opened in November 2017. The only venue of its kind in Pretoria, the arena plays host to international and local concerts, exhibitions and lifestyle events. This was followed by the opening of The Maslow Time Square hotel in March 2018. A first for South Africa, the 238-room specialist business hotel, offers multi-level accommodation options – from standard to premium – all under one roof. The 17-storey hotel is packed with state-of-the-art facilities and technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online banking fraud keeps Banking Ombudsman on its toes

The Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) released its Annual Report highlighting some interesting statistics for its operations for 2018. Key highlights for the year are:

  • 7 307 cases were closed ̶  12% more than in 2017 and an increase of 40% over the last two years
  • ATM fraud complaints dropped by 4% from 18% to 14%
  • The debt stress-related complaints almost doubled from 3,4% to 6,5%
  • The call centre fielded 26 970 calls, an increase of 18% year-on-year and 58% more than the past two years

“Despite the fact that we were busier than ever, we managed to maintain excellent turnaround times, with an average of 41 business days to close a case, and the service standard to resolve complaints within four months was achieved in 95,3% of the cases,” said Reana Steyn, OBS.

Customer complaints about significant issues in the area of internet banking fraud and ATM and credit card-related complaints kept the office busy.

The office opened 1 459 and closed 1 349 internet banking fraud cases for the year. The number for on-line banking related complaints closed by the office in 2018 is slightly less than the previous year; however, it is still the top category of complaints opened and closed for the second year running, making up 22% of all cases opened.

The second category was ATM-related complaints at 14%, a decrease of 4% from 2017. “This is encouraging and may indicate that customers are more aware and careful transacting at ATMs, or that the fraudsters are targeting other avenues,” Steyn said.

“Internet banking, ATM and credit card fraud account for 48% of the complaints in the office. Customers fall victim to various scams and fraudulent activities that target unsuspecting individuals. The fraudsters and hackers seem to be working around the clock to create fake copies of bank websites and impersonate the bank staff.

Out of the 7 115 cases opened, 2 659 (37%) were related to maladministration. This is the description used by the office in instances where, for example, the bank did not follow its own internal procedures which caused a loss, distress or inconvenience for the customer. Another example of maladministration is where a bank fails to conduct an affordability assessment when granting credit as required by the National Credit Act.

The demographic view shows that the bulk of the complaints are from Gauteng at 42%, Western Cape, 15%, and Kwa–Zulu Natal 13%.

“The more significant statistic is that 70% of the complainants are from people over the age of 40. We believe the older generation may be more prone to falling victim to bank fraud and we are targeting our awareness campaigns and consumer education to address this issue.” Steyn said it was also feasible that older customers were more aware of their rights and therefore more likely to complain.

The OBS offers a free alternative dispute resolution service to ensure all bank customers who have complaints that are not satisfactorily resolved at the bank, can exercise their rights and have access to redress.

How to complain

  • Lodge a formal, written complaint directly with your bank’s dispute resolution department
  • Ask for a complaint reference number from your bank
  • Allow the bank 20 working days in which to respond to your complaint
  • Obtain a written response from your bank, OR
  • Consumers can contact the office of the Ombudsman for Banking Services for free assistance if they experience any banking problems or would like us to assist in lodging a complaint against their bank.

https://www.obssa.co.za/