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On-the-go roadside coffee is just a card tap away

Uplifting communities and helping entrepreneurs with card payments on their phones.

Lehubedu Mohlabe, a Gauteng husband and father of 4, is a shining example of entrepreneurial spirit. He experienced a problem and came up with a business solution. Today, he’s running a growing mobile beverage business at a bustling intersection on the R55 in Centurion. It’s called CoffeeToCar and the best part is, he’s not only delivering a much-needed solution, but he’s also using digital payment technology to make life easier for his customers.

‘For many years, I worked in the hospitality sector, but the past few years have been very hard. Travel and tourism were affected badly, and I had to find new employment. I’d travel around Joburg, working odd jobs as a cleaner or in retail. Wherever I could find work, I would take it,’ he says.

Spotting a gap in the market

‘I was making my way to Isando one day where I had yet another temporary position with a retail company,’ Lehubedu explains. ‘I had some biscuits to eat but nothing to drink. I really felt like having a coffee as it was winter and very early.’

‘I got to the traffic light – the same traffic light I run my business from now – got off the taxi and went to look for some coffee. That exercise alone cost me 20 minutes and when I got on my way again, I questioned why is there no one offering coffee at any traffic light?’

That spark ignited the flame that became CoffeeToCar. ‘I thought, selling coffee to motorists at the intersection could be a unique offering helping consumers save time looking for their morning pick-me-up,’ he says.

Armed with piping hot water, kitted out with a purpose-built vest that helps him carry cups and instant beverage mixes, Lehubedu now generates an income while fulfilling a consumer need. But it’s not plain sailing. To keep the coffee and the traffic flowing, he needed a quick and easy way to accept payments from thirsty travellers.

The challenge of accepting cash payments on the road

You can just imagine the challenges of accepting cash for payment at a traffic light. First, there’s the security issue of having money on you in the middle of nowhere. It’s dangerous to carry cash, given the high crime rate in South Africa. That’s why many people prefer paying by card nowadays, and it’s safer for vendors to accept card payments rather than collect a lot of cash over a day’s trading.

‘Nedbank was there for me when I needed them, and the process is just so easy’

Having change when customers pay cash for a coffee or hot chocolate (yes, he’s diversifying already) was also an issue. Lehubedu would have to rummage around for change, slowing down the speed and efficiency of his service. Banking his cash takings for the day would also prove challenging, as he’d have to deposit each day’s revenue at a branch or an ATM. The complexities of handling cash were slowing down his business growth.

Cash-free payments tailored to small and micro businesses

As part of Nedbank’s drive to build communities and provide clients with better money choices, Nedbank offered Lehubedu the Tap-on-phone payment solution to simplify his business. He says it’s been a huge help: ‘Nedbank came to me and showed me how to do the sign up, which was so simple. A couple of minutes and I was able to offer my customers this tap-and-go payment option where they just have to tap their bank card on the back of my phone, and I receive payment to my bank account.’

‘I can confidently say yes, we do take card payments with Tap-on-phone technology, and this solution also helps me to track my payments in real time. I was worried about how much I knew about technology but learnt fast, thanks to the support I received from Nedbank. It’s easy to use, safe, and a quick solution for both my customers and me.’

‘Some customers have suggested other mobile payment machines, but I tell them Nedbank was there for me when I needed them, and the process is just so easy that I don’t want to change. I don’t have to worry about carrying a lot of gadgets, as I’m already wearing my coffee serving gear. Customer feedback has been great so far as I’ve been able to meet their needs – it’s all about speed and efficiency. Coffee or hot chocolate is ready in an instant, and then all I do is enter the payment amount (some customers kindly add a tip). I show them the amount, they tap their card on my smartphone and the payment is made. It doesn’t get easier than that!’

Any South African business can sign up for Tap-on-phone, provided you have a compatible Android phone with near-field communication functionality. Learn more about Nedbank’s easy-to-use, secure Tap-on-phone payment technology.

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