When it comes to retail and e-commerce, you don't have to re-invent the wheel in everything. We're a relatively small community here in South Africa, and we can learn from one another.
This is especially important when it comes to navigating the annoyances of setting up a payment gateway. It's a tension, isn't it? On the one hand, e-commercers need to make online purchasing as easy, stress-free, safe and streamlined as possible, but on the other hand, we don't have many online payment options yet in our South African environment.
So what to do?
Indiemode, a homegrown ladies fashion e-commerce store that nurtures the best in locally-designed fashion, talked frankly about the dilemma and the best solutions.
According to Marius de Villiers, head web developer at Indiemode, there are a few options for payment gateways currently available in South Africa.
Once Indiemode had built their site, they launched with payments via EFT transfer, followed in record time by credit card payments.
“We did some extensive research and found Payu to be one of the better options because of its wide selection of payment options. The problem was that we didn’t have a merchant account and therefore we couldn’t make use of their services.”
“So we kept researching and found two companies offering a merchant account together with a payment gateway. One is an international company called 2Checkout and the other is a South African company called Virtual Card Services. We decided to go with the international company, mainly because we could brand the checkout pages and make them blend in with the look and feel of our store.”
De Villiers says that another advantage of using one of the aforementioned companies is that they take care of all the necessary security for the online payments. Just like anywhere else in the world, credit card fraud is a reality. A good payment company will include this in their services.
De Villiers says that as soon as Indiemode obtains their own merchant account they plan to switch to Payu due to the myriad of payment methods supported.
Payu, about which IOL Retail Zone ran an earlier article, supports American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa credit cards. It also supports other payment methods including PayU, Auto Pay, Standard Bank, Cell Pay Point, FNB, eBucks, MiMoney, PayPal, Nedbank Secure Payment, Ukash, and WiWallet.
“In the beginning we managed to set up a payment section for PayPal on our checkout pages, but then we realised that the Rand is not a PayPal currency and so a conversion from US Dollars would be required for a purchase. We decided it wasn’t worth it and we removed the PayPal option. It’s simply not viable to lose money especially with the recent foreign exchange fluctuations,” says De Villiers.