Where to start? There are a mind-boggling number of payment gateways in the world (over 900) and a fair amount of options when choosing a South African Payment Gateway.
What is a Payment Gateway and in what situation would you require a payment gateway?
I’m not going to go into details but basically a payment gateway facilitates transactions between your e-commerce website and a payment processor. One of the most popular payment gateways is Paypal.
You would need a payment gateway if you want to accept payments online (most often through your website) for services or the order of physical products through your website.
I have been doing a lot of research on South African Payment Gateways. From what I’ve gathered from both reading the info on each site and speaking to sales reps – Payfast is the easiest to get started with. They accept payments in ZAR for local and international transactions. You don’t require a merchant bank account (which in FNB’s case starts at R399 per month). Their fees are not the lowest but if you are a small business that is just starting out and you cannot forecast the amount of transactions that you will be processing yet, then Payfast seems the way to go. There are no monthly fees or contracts.
Payfast Simple Signup
After completing the registration, my account was verified within a couple of hours. The process was really simple especially with uploading required documentation for Payfast to verify my account. I’m yet to integrate the gateway onto my site – there is a lot of documentation available on their site to assist with this.
Payfast also has a recurring billing function (still in beta) but is available.
South African Payment Gateways Information Table
The table below is work in progress and is being updated as I gather more info. Listed are just some of the popular options for South African businesses.
Sagepay (formerly Netcash) is another favourite gateway. They provide good support and seem to mostly deal with facilitating debit orders. They don’t provide their fees on the website, but here is the Sage Pay Product Overview that I received after chatting to one of the consultants. The total monthly fee is not clear in the brochure. Possibly dependent on the features you require.
Paypal is a good option, but not for local clients as they do not support accepting payment in ZAR currency yet. There is a 3.9%+$0.30 fee to receive funds to Paypal and FNB charges a fee to withdraw the funds from your Paypal account to your local South African bank account. (Don’t forget exchange rate fees).
Mobile Payment Apps
Another solution that you may consider, is Zapper and Snapscan. When you register, you receive a unique QR code that you can integrate into your online store or include on your invoices. Your client can then use the relevant app to scan the code and make payment. No need for credit card details, merchant accounts or monthly fees. Snapscan is powered by Standard Bank.