HIGH TECH HITS THE STREET

HIGH TECH HITS THE STREET

Welcome to the new age of cashless tipping for car guards and digital payments for street vendors

Imagine you want to tip your friendly car guard or buy a gorgeous woven grass laundry basket from a vendor on the side of the road, but you have no cash on you. The guard/vendor doesn’t have access to card payment options, and you simply don’t have time to draw cash and come

back to tip or make the purchase.

Street Wallet offers an easy and straightforward solution. It’s quick and effective, with no downloading of apps and no need for a card machine or entering credit card details. Instead, each car guard/ vendor wears a card with a QR code around their neck. Scan the QR code, and you will automatically be taken to their personal

page. Once there, you can pay by Snapscan, Zapper or Master Pass. On this page you can also learn all about them – their name, where they are from, their business, who their kids are, etc.

“It’s an exciting way of paying and also tipping,” says Kosta Scholiadis, the founder of Street Wallet. “With one scan, you can pay or tip immediately, and the vendor or guard does not need to have an app, download anything or have the additional cost of a credit card machine. We will convert the payment to the receiver for you, so there is no exchange of cash. It is easy for both parties and in the future, we hope to roll out on Apple and Google Pay, too.”

The story of Street Wallet began with the recognition that street vendors have often been excluded from the fast-moving digital economy. With a focus on inclusivity, Street Wallet has created a unique platform that gives service providers opportunities to market themselves and earn more, bridging the gap between the cash economy and he digital economy in ways never seen before.

In 2023, it has become the fastest- growing informal platform and is also a solution being used to tip car guards, taking the hassle out of always needing change for parking tips.

“What’s very cool about Street Wallet is that the vendors or car guards do not need a bank account, which can be problematic for non-South African nationals. Instead, they are immediately paid out with a voucher. Vouchers can be redeemed from all the large retailers and other supermarkets and paid out in cash within 24 hours.”

Street Wallet is not Kosta’s first foray into digital tech. “I worked in the football industry and built a sports database called Sportnet. It showcases underprivileged footballers, giving them a platform for meaningful connections with those in the sporting sector.”

Kosta and his co-founder, Nicole Voutsas, created Street Wallet to transform the industry. “Street Wallet is about pushing the boundaries of how things were traditionally done. The street vendor and the car guard are a minority who struggle to get into the digital market. We have simplified the process for them, so it is an inclusive and empowering product.”

On 30 May, the Waterfall City Management team and Deloitte rolled out Street Wallet to two shopping centres’ car guards in the Waterfall City area, namely Polofields Crossing and Waterfall Wilds. This means that any visitor to these centres who wants to tip the car guards can now do so through this easy-to-use solution. Simply scan the QR code using your phone camera, open the link and make the tip payment. The recipient will receive an SMS confirmation and the voucher will be received within 24 hours. Simple and convenient.

“It doesn’t matter if it is a small amount because, thanks to our great business partners, we don’t get charged a minimum fee, so any transaction has value,” says Kosta. “While we were under the impression that people traditionally would pay R5 or R10 in tips, the experience is that on average, it’s closer to R30 to R45. This solution also creates an interaction by introducing the client to the vendor or car guard’s background and family. We have found that people like this and are willing to give more to the right people.”

“It works because Street Wallet paints a feel-good picture. We didn’t want to build just another payment solution, another boring tool. That would not have been fulfilling for us. We love the engagement side, which connects the

two parties, vendor/car guard and have anything in common with each other. By creating a personalised profile, you learn about the person you are paying, which creates a rapport and connection.

The team at Deloitte approached Kosta after being introduced to Street Wallet in Cape Town. They were intrigued by the tech. They believed tech could make a positive impact on the lives of car guards and vendors, and decided to become activators of Street Wallet in Waterfall City. They were involved in rolling out the initiative to the shopping centres that agreed to onboard the solution, working tirelessly to ensure that all car guards are educated on the platform – and more importantly – signed up

“The team at Deloitte are our feet on the ground in Waterfall City and have volunteered to go out and sign up the car guards to the system. They also train them and ensure that they have the necessary requirements in place to use

and benefit from the system. They are an awesome brand and team, and we are grateful for their support,” adds Kosta.

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