THE mobile payments space changes every few days, but the industry is only just beginning to understand the market, says SnapScan co-founder and CEO Kobus Ehlers. Which is why the company takes feedback from users and merchants so seriously.

"Rapid iteration is at the core of our business," he says. "That means we release changes to the product every week or two."

SnapScan began as an online checkout product. It evolved into a payment product for small merchants and then medium-sized companies.

Today it provides for payments for a diversity of products and services, including parking, donations and the cup of coffee for which it was originally designed. If there is money that needs to change hands, chances are SnapScan can make it happen.

"On the app side, we are also constantly tweaking the features and design based on tests we run in the market," says Ehlers. "But our approach has always been one of fundamental simplicity.

"In design meetings we always ask, ‘what can be removed?’ rather than ‘what can we add?’

"This is an approach that has been well-received by users," he says.

Last month, SnapScan rolled out a new "frictionless" payment feature called SnapBeacons. Where consumers are within range of a participating merchant’s beacon technology, they are able to simply tap a button on the SnapScan app to initiate a transaction via Bluetooth.

"Beacon technology has been around for a while," says Ehlers. "Several large retailers in the US and Europe have been playing around with potential applications in-store.

"They’ve been doing things like sending push notifications about specials on offer when customers walk past particular aisles, for example. The technology is exciting and we saw it had potential to add value to our in-store payment process."

While SnapBeacons is in a limited launch phase with 40 merchants in Cape Town and Johannesburg up and running, SnapScan continues to advance its functionality and availability in other areas.

"We’ve evolved on several fronts," says Ehlers.

"We’ve expanded app functionality to include features like tipping and payment references, point-of-sale integration, e-mailed receipts and new payment types.

"And while we were initially associated with coffee shops and vendors at markets, we’re constantly expanding our customer base.

"Some of these developments happen spontaneously when, for example, merchants see the potential for new applications for the product. But we’re also constantly developing our own ideas for expansion, pitching them and pursuing them.

"The objective is to continue to drive growth in both our merchant and user network."