What do Beijing and Stellenbosch have in common? What do Beijing and...
SnapScan app

What do Beijing and Stellenbosch have in common?


15 Oct, 2020
SnapScan Campus Prepaid Student card illustration

On September 1st, 2016, I arrived in Beijing for my masters degree, bleary-eyed after 24 hours of travel. I was handed my new bank card, sim card, room card, and student card – immediately plugged into this new city. The next evening we were told to download Alipay for payments, Taobao for ecommerce, and El.eme for takeouts – by this point we already all had WeChat on our phones. 

My life in China was incredibly digital. Without my phone I was disconnected, not just socially, but financially, too. Everyone carried a power bank with them because a dead phone was not a mere inconvenience, it was the equivalent of losing your wallet. 

Read more: Everything you need to know about the SnapScan Wallet

During my 18 months in Beijing, I got used to this very digital way of living. I was reliant on a bunch of apps, apps were connected to each other, and physical spaces were connected to apps. For example, I would use Alipay to recharge my student card, which I’d then swipe to pay for meals in the various canteens throughout campus. This was a small convenience that I really valued – it contrasted massively to my experience back home, where you could only recharge a student card with cash at designated machines on campus (which seemed to always be broken when you needed them).

Taking university payments online

Fast forward 3 years and I was working on a similar product for SnapScan and Stellenbosch University. Being able to top up on the go saved me a lot of time while I was a student because I didn’t know when I was going to need various services, or when my previous top-up had run out. Stellenbosch University students can now purchase prepaid services for the university through the SnapScan app – saving time and effort by cutting out a trip to the university’s cashiers in the central administration building.

Students can top up prepaid services:

  • Printing
  • Meals
  • Laundry

Pay Stellenbosch University student accounts

What’s more is that Stellenbosch University has been added to the Bills section of the SnapScan app, which means that app users can now pay university fees via SnapScan.

Read more: More than QR codes: how to pay with your SnapScan app

Parents, students or any fee payer can settle student accounts using the SnapScan app and the relevant student number. This will be much faster than having to add a beneficiary on a banking app, and one doesn’t need to worry about getting the reference or account number wrong. People can even activate proof of payment via e-mail in the menu of their SnapScan app. Here’s how it works:

Working on this campaign was a really awesome personal milestone. A system that I had benefited from and enjoyed while living overseas was being incorporated into the South African context. As classes and campuses enter a digital age, why would we leave payments behind? SU is just the beginning – SnapScan looks forward to providing faster and safer options for more and more South Africans in the future.

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