The future of plastic cards in South Africa

August 2020

With FNB recently launching their pioneering online card functionality, many consumers will be asking themselves what the future of conventional plastic credit and loyalty cards is in South Africa.

No doubt there is activity from brands to start introducing electronic card functionalities which are accommodated through using a mobile application.

The biggest factor In South Africa preventing brands from completely eradicating the use of the conventional plastic card is that the majority of the country do not own smart phones.

The type of smart phone that is needed to allow consumers to use a mobile application in place of the conventional plastic card, is expensive and out of budget for many South Africans.

However, to solve this issue, many brands in South Africa have started offering the use of the QR code in place of the conventional plastic card.

Several brands have started recognizing the impact QR codes can have on the effectiveness of their loyalty programs.

Consumers are given the opportunity to simply scan a certain QR code displayed at the point of sale counter, and benefit in the same way they would by using their plastic loyalty card.

Although effective, one needs to ask themselves, does using a QR code resonate the same way using a physical plastic card does?

In the event of your best friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband’s birthday, there is something about receiving a tangible gift card and I am not sure being told to scan a QR code would convey the same emotions as an actual gift card does.

Although there is activity from brands to go over to the electronic side, it looks like the use of the traditional plastic card will still rule the roost for several years to come.

Whether you are looking to buy your loved one a gift card for their birthday or get yourself some awesome plastic business cards, our team of at Cards Plus will be more than happy to help you.

Contact us on or alternatively +27 11 894 3914