Early Christmas for informal workers with launch of cashless tipping tool

With most people not carrying around cash any more, new tipping app helps steady informal workers’ income

19 December 2022 - 20:03
By Claire Keeton
Joseph Mafu is a carguard in Gardens, who relies on his tips to eat.
Image: Ruvan Boshoff HOT TIP Joseph Mafu is a carguard in Gardens, who relies on his tips to eat.

When Stevie Puka’s hands are full releasing knots in a client’s neck, he can’t accept money from another one wanting to buy a coffee. But the new cashless digital platform, TiPPED, has him covered.

TiPPED makes it easy to pay anybody working in the informal economy — including car guards, petrol attendants, masseurs, taxi drivers, hotel staff and porters, golf caddies, domestic workers and street traders — using a smartphone. Just in time for Christmas 2022.

“I felt frustrated at not being able to tip someone deserving, and felt disappointed knowing I couldn’t help,” says founder and CEO, Kimlynn Temple. “I needed to do something and thought, 'How can I fix this?’.”

The answer: a digital wallet in an individual’s name, allowing them to get money, make payments and save, all on a safe platform.

Founder Kimlynn Temple meets with Stevie Puka, an enthusiastic supporter of TiPPED.
Image: Supplied Founder Kimlynn Temple meets with Stevie Puka, an enthusiastic supporter of TiPPED.

“We launched TiPPED in February during the pandemic. The car guards (in this trial) were able to increase their revenue by 23% within a week, and by 48% within a month,” says Temple, her eyes brightening at the memory.

Many car guards are migrants from other African countries and TiPPED makes it easy for them to register. They can use a wide range of identity documents, including foreign passports and asylum seeker permits.

“I realised TiPPED could be so much bigger and more powerful than we thought, it could be used to transform people's lives!” says the innovator, who has been working with other non-profit organisations to develop it further.

By the first quarter of next year, she hopes that people will be able to pay for shelter vouchers or retail vouchers as a tipping alternative. James Masango, 47, works as a car guard at a shopping centre in Centurion. At the end of each day, he must scrape together his earnings, mostly coins, to buy food for his three-year-old girl and other children.

“The problem these days is clients are not carrying cash,” says Masango, who has been a car guard for nearly 10 years.  At least the tipping platform has improved his prospects. “TiPPED is very nice for me. If there was no app, I would be getting nothing and now I’m getting a lot of tips.”

Wanting a seamless way to tip car guards, inspired Temple to throw her heart, and energy, into founding the cashless payment progressive web app with the mantra: “Changing the tipping interface and lives, one tip at a time”.

The problem these days is clients are not carrying cash ... I would be getting nothing and now I’m getting a lot of tips.
Car guard, James Masango

Temple says its development began three years ago after she realised the need for a digital platform to make tipping quick and effortless.

She says: “The car guards were my initial target market so I launched the proof of concept with 21 car guards, to see how they would receive it and what the problem areas would be.

“I met with every car guard and got them on board. All we needed was proof of identification to start the process of verification to open an account,” she says.

Once their identification documents were verified and a selfie taken, each of them was assigned a unique QR code on a lanyard, and their own digital wallet.

Tip4Change is another cashless and flexible platform that makes tipping simple, allowing people to show “instant gratitude” to local service attendants

Jewellery-maker and mother of three, Nicola Cole, says she was one of the first people to try TiPPED last year and she loves it.

Cole, who uses her phone to tap and pay for most things, says: “It is not often I have cash and it is super convenient to pay. On TiPPED it takes less than a minute to pay and is easy to use.”

The TiPPED team has worked hard to get it up to speed, however, the journey has been a “complete rollercoaster”, says Temple. The first “direct wallet” partner they worked with, pulled out of South Africa, pausing the development.

Women of Stature

Kimlynn Temple is a ‘Woman in Technology’ finalist for the 2023 Women of Stature awards for the vision and execution of TiPPED.

Ukheshe, a fintech partner committed to empowering people with tech tools, was Temple’s first choice to take the project live and investors stepped up to provide the funds needed, and they have developed it into a versatile platform to improve people’s lives.

Puka, who set up Stevie’s Beauty Spa at a horse-riding school in Midrand, says: “TiPPED is efficient and has made a huge difference to me. “I can treat mothers while, on the side, I’m selling coffee and cokes. It is easy for people to serve themselves and I do not need to give receipts.”

The TiPPED wallet design supports his commitment to save money says the 43-year-old from Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria. “I see the balance and then I do not want to take money out.”

“TiPPED allows people who have to give to people who don’t have.” Through this Temple hopes the spirit of Christmas will open people’s hearts (and digital wallets).