Apple brings iTunes vouchers to SA

The vouchers, which are already available at selected Pick n Pay stores, will soon be available in a range of outlets. However, they will only work in the South African versions of the iTunes Store and App Store. By Duncan McLeod.

iTunes vouchers on sale at Pick n Pay (image: Greg Mahlknecht)

iTunes Store and App Store vouchers on sale at Pick n Pay (image: Greg Mahlknecht)

Apple this week began selling iTunes Store and App Store vouchers in South Africa through Pick n Pay retail outlets, TechCentral has established. They will soon be available through iStore, Hi-Fi Corp, Makro, Dion Wired and Game outlets, too.

The iTunes Store and App Store vouchers will be available in three denominations each, R150, R250 and R450. There will also be a “variable denomination” voucher available at selected stores, including iStore outlets, where shoppers will be able decide the value — anything between R150 and R5 000 — at the point of sale.

The vouchers are being made available through a local company called OpenGate, which specialises in providing services to issuers of private-label gift and payment cards and businesses that operate online.

OpenGate’s head of channel partners, Bradley Turkington, tells TechCentral that the project to sell iTunes and App Store vouchers in South Africa has been underway since 2012. He explains that Apple wanted the cards to be made available initially in South African stores that sell Apple products. They will become available at other retailers later.

Turkington explains that OpenGate has an exclusive relationship with a Nasdaq-listed company called Blackhawk Network, which is contracted to Apple, allowing it to sell the vouchers in South Africa.

He emphasises that the vouchers will only work in the South African version of the App Store and the iTunes Store. Anyone with a US iTunes account, for example, will not be able to use the vouchers to buy music. “It’s been ring-fenced for exchange control reasons,” he says. “You buy in rand and spend in rand and we remit the funds in terms of exchange control regulations.”

Although many South Africans use their credit cards to buy music and apps from Apple, Turkington believes there is still a big market for physical vouchers. He says there is a prepaid culture in South Africa, even among people with bank accounts and credit cards. And many people are still averse to using their credit cards online.

In addition, vouchers have a strong appeal in the youth market. Parents are reluctant to hand over their credit card details to their children to shop on iTunes, so vouchers may prove appealing.

Gifting is also a big market, Turkington says. OpenGate has plans to offer iTunes vouchers in the corporate gifting market, too.

Meanwhile, Apple is rumoured to be planning to introduce games to the South African App Store soon. Technology site htxt.africa said on Thursday that it appeared the company was clearing the way to the long-awaited introduction of games in the local store.

Taryn Hyam, communications manager at Core Group, Apple’s South African distributor, says only that the company doesn’t have further information available yet. “Nothing is confirmed from our side,” she says.  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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  • dealer

    Things seem to be lining up for SA. iOS games and now the vouchers… Once I bought a $10 voucher for R130 to use in the US for game purchase. No more!

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    >> Although many South Africans use their credit cards to buy music and apps from Apple, Turkington believes there is still a big market for physical vouchers. He says there is a prepaid culture in South Africa, even among people with bank accounts and credit cards.

    I would go onto adding that many South Africans do not have credit cards and this will no doubt be the payment gateway of choice for the masses. With this approach I can definitely see the iTunes store becoming more accessible to a massive SA market. Nice one OpenGate!

  • Jack Black

    iStore went live on Saturday with the iTunes- and App Store pre Paid cards!
    Apple Inc further announced on Friday that Games are now available on the App Store!

  • Michael Ntho

    Good iTunes. Never been easier. Now i can buy music at ease!

  • Michael Ntho

    True bro & i been wanting to buy on iTunes but it was quite a hustle for me cos i don’t use Credit Card or Paypal. This voucher thing does it for me. That’s it!

  • Edward Young

    This is great that they are finally offering itunes vouchers to South Africa! However, the problem is that their itunes store is not as big as the US one and they can’t buy apps and music from it.

    I still buy my itunes vouchers from http://www.itunescarddelivery.com because I can get access to the US itunes store in South Africa.

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