Online Payment Options - What's available to eCommerce merchants in South Africa?

You've reached the point where you're ready to launch your online store and need a convenient and fast way to allow your customers to buy your goods.   Where do you start?  What options are available?  What do you need to take into consideration?  Is it safe?  Hopefully this blog will help you make a choice you can be happy with so you can start enjoying come well-deserved online sales.

One very important thing to remember is that South Africans are very suspicious in general for fear of being ripped off and online shopping is no exception, so you need to make sure you show your fans and customers that you are legit. There are various ways to do this, but here's the essential list:

  • Make sure your website looks professional and neat.
  • Your products and descriptions must be clear and it helps to show which payment methods you offer. 
  • You can even get a 'trust' symbol to add to the footer if you want to.
  • The site must be secured as well via the appropriate SSL certificates, etc, particularly checkout, so hackers can’t steal information.   

Payment Gateways are under huge pressure to make sure they are secure and most are compliant to PCI DSS Level 1 and the sites are encrypted.  Every little helps to ease shoppers' minds about making a good buying decision, just don't take it too far otherwise it will look like you're trying too hard, which in turn will make you look suspicious.

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The most popular payment methods for online shopping are credit or cheque card, some debit cards are also valid, Instant EFT or even normal EFT/bank transfer (if you love waiting for your money and the extra admin). The above options are available from the likes of PayFast and PayGate.  They are both very good payment gateways, it all depends what works best for your business model.  Then  there are alternative options such as SnapScan or Zapper.  The latest financial supermodel on the eCommerce block is, surprise surprise, lay-by! Lay-bys are becoming a very popular way to shop online and there are one or two very good options in SA, both from a merchant’s point of view because the value of your customer’s basket tends to be higher if they can buy now, pay later; and from a shopper’s point of view, because now you can afford something slightly more expensive without having to pay the full fee right away.  The best SA lay-by options would be Pay Just Now and mobiCred, both have their own fee and interest structure, so make sure to check them both out.

Receiving payment online is a very important part of the process, but luckily it's very easy to get right.  Check out the various companies mentioned in this blog and get selling!

If you'd like more information about the various payment options available or have a question about something in this blog, feel free to call Jenn on 074 674 3194 or email for more information.

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