Blog » Payfast puts AI centre stage at Leaderex 2023

Payfast puts AI centre stage at Leaderex 2023

Online payment gateway Payfast has set the stage for innovation in the payments industry. As the hosts of this year’s dedicated ecommerce section at Leaderex 2023 – South Africa’s largest gathering of business experts, entrepreneurs, and professionals – the online payment gateway brought together like-minded leaders to unpack everything from the application of AI in fintech, to the need for financial inclusion. 

In conversation with an AI version of himself, Payfast Managing Director Brendon Williamson unpacked the top payment trends of 2024; “The future is definitely cashless. With options like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay becoming embedded in our daily lives, digital wallets are expected to account for more than half of ecommerce payments by the end of 2024. That means physical wallets are going to be a thing of the past, in the very near future.”

Brendon Williamson Leaderex

Williamson noted that AI is a frontier that the payments and ecommerce industry is gearing up to explore; “Hyper-personalised shopping experiences – like your car asking you if you want to order takeaways on your way home from work – are right around the corner. We’re also going to see chatbots that offer instant assistance becoming better equipped to actually help us. It’s all driven by convenience for the consumer.”

Artificial intelligence is also going to play a major role behind the scenes; “The reality is that AI in the provision of a payment gateway service is crucial for things like fraud screening and conversion analysis – which are critical to driving business efficiency, bringing down operational costs, and innovating the customer journey,” said David Adams, Chief Commercial Officer at Payfast, who presented a talk on the evolution of payment gateways. 

“The three main pillars that merchants need to consider when it comes to delivering the ultimate consumer payment experience are seamless, frictionless, and embedded. But they can’t achieve this on their own – payment gateways need to evolve to support merchants. In turn, merchants need to be working with the right partner to elevate their offerings to their customers,” said Adams. 

Other speakers and topics on the payments stage included – but were not limited to – Shabir Ahmed, Vice President of Customer Solutions Southern Africa at Mastercard, who unpacked digital transformation in payments; Cat Denoon-Stevens, Head of Product Incubation at Mukuru, who spoke about empowering Africa on a progressive journey to financial inclusion; and Luca Merlo, Product Manager at Retail Capital, who discussed sustainability as a strategic necessity for SMEs in South Africa. 

Payfast by Network is South Africa’s leading online payment gateway. Founded in 2007, Payfast was acquired by Network International in 2019, joining forces with Paygate under Network’s ownership. Their cutting-edge payment solutions revolutionise the way that businesses process and accept payments. Serving 80 000 businesses, Payfast is dedicated to developing innovative payment solutions ensuring the highest level of convenience and trust for both merchants and customers alike. For more information visit