Leading South African Retailer Pick n Pay Starts Accepting Bitcoin

Currently 39 Pick n Pay stores are testing the payment method, with plans to roll it out to all stores in the coming months, Sunday Times reports.

Customers in South Africa can now use their bitcoin to purchase regular daily goods at a local food retailer.

Pick n Pay, one of South Africa’s largest retailers, has started rolling out Bitcoin payments in its stores, extending a pilot that began with 10 locations five months ago to a total of 39, local news outlet Sunday Times reported. The retailer said it plans to enable the payment option on all of its stores in coming months.

In addition to supporting on-chain Bitcoin transactions, Pick n Pay’s BTC-enabled payment gateway also allows customers to pay with Lightning wallets, a move that turns even the smallest of payments feasible. With its usage broadly showcased in the adoption of bitcoin by El Salvador last year, Lightning reduces transaction costs to a minimum while ensuring nearly instantaneous settlements. Customers can use the Bitcoin or Lightning wallet of their choice.

“The transaction is as easy and secure as swiping a debit or credit card. Customers scan a QR code from the app and accept the rand conversion rate on their smartphone at the time of the transaction,” Pick n Pay said, per the report.

Pick n Pay added that it will charge a small service fee for payments in BTC, “costing the customer on average 70c” of the local currency, per the report, which currently translates to about $0.04.

“Increasingly cryptocurrency is being used by those under-served by traditional banking systems, or by those wanting to pay and exchange money in a cheaper and really convenient way. Many companies are responding to this by accepting Bitcoin,” Pick n Pay said in a statement, according to a Reuters report.

Pick n Pay has almost 2,000 stores across the country, Business Insider South Africa reported. The firm has a 16% market share of the country’s formal food and grocery sector, per the report.