It seems like there has always been an issue with South Africans trying to stay ahead in the Internet Business game. This issue is the one of having a way to accept online payments from clients. In most other countries in the world you have always had a multitude of options, but we always struggled along trying to find one option. Recently though a lot more companies have come to light.
Although I don’t personally use most of them, in one way or form I’ve had to work with each one of the following. I do a lot of web development work, and 80% of the time a payment solution is also required. Due to this I’ve had to implement most, if not all, of the payment gateways that are available for South Africans. Each one of them has their upsides and their downsides.
This is one of the first payment gateways I had to integrate with a website for a client. What I liked about this was that it provides a simple and secure interface for the client to fill in their credit card details, and then they get directed back to your site for your software to process the order. You are also able to customize the interface using your own logo, so that it feels to the client that they never leave your site.
VCS also offers recurring credit card payments, which makes it ideal for membership sites. The last time I checked, you still needed to have a special Standard Bank account to be able to use VCS.
Setcom / Monsterpay
Setcom was one of the first PayPal-type payment gateways in South Africa that I knew of. When I say PayPal-type, I mean that the purchaser had to also create an account with Setcom, before being able to purchase something from you.
We used this exclusively on our ITC Check website for quite some time. My biggest gripe was that we were losing clients due to people being too lazy to register for an account to be able to pay for their service. The other problem was that Setcom is always on the buyer’s side. This means that if a client has a problem with the product or service they received, Setcom would just refund their money. Sometimes without even consulting us.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to accept payments, I can recommend this service. If you’re just starting out, it also helps that there is no monthly fee associated with this account.
The reason we started using Netcash, was to have a debit order facility for our business, CM Computer Services. This is a great facility to have if you have monthly clients, as it helps with cash flow. There is a secure interface where you load up your client’s banking details, and then every month you enter the debit order details that need to go off their account and into yours.
One client requested that we integrate their accounting system with Netcash’s debit order system. This was done and works seamlessly with their accounting software. Each month the accounting package would just “tell” Netcash how much to withdraw from each client’s bank account.
They then released their Credit Card Payment Gateway service as well. It was similar to VCS, with the distinct difference that you didn’t need a separate banking account. I think the same afternoon I learned about this new service, I signed up and integrated it into our Credit Report site. The integration was done easily, and we haven’t had problems with them since day 1.
This is the one payment gateway I recommend to people whenever they ask me what to use on their site.
I’ve done a lot of integration with Netcash’s Credit Card Payment service. From small 1 product sites, to large multi product shopping carts.
Until recently, South Africans could only use PayPal’s service to purchase things from other countries. I must say, with the support that you get from PayPal, your mind is put at ease when you purchase something from a person you’ve never met. There have been a few instances where I’ve requested a refund, and PayPal has helped me. There has just been once where they have not been able to help me, and that certainly has left a bad taste for me.
Anyways, skipping to the present, FNB has now been able to secure a deal where we can use PayPal’s service to also accept payments in South Africa. This is definitely something to explore, because after doing a few integrations for clients on their websites, it’s quite clear that PayPal offers an awesome service. One downside, and quite a big one, is that if you are South African trying to sell to South Africans, you might have a problem. You’re not able to sell your products in Rands. And although other countries might not see this as a problem, a lot of South Africans will still be concerned when they see a site trying to sell something in $. After all, we’ve been taught that $ is evil
On the international sites, I haven’t had any problems. In fact, since introducing PayPal as an option on my Karma Sutra Positions website, the sales have definitely improved. The reason PayPal works so well as a payment gateway is because EVERYONE knows about it and trusts it.
Once you have an account, you can quickly add a Pay by PayPal button on their website that is linked to a unique product code and price that you can easily track within PayPal.
This is another payment gateway where I only have experience in implementing the credit card gateway for a client’s online shopping cart. Documentation and implementation guides are very adequate, and it was easy to get this working. It’s also a very similar interface to Netcash and VCS.
An added bonus of this service is that they also offer a debit order service, and from what I understand you don’t need to have a separate Internet merchant bank account to make use of their service.
I have not used this on any of my own sites, but I’ve had to do work for 1 client. It was to integrate it into their online shopping cart. The developers documentation and integration procedure was much like that of Netcash and VCS, so it went fairly quickly.
With PayGate you also need to have a special Internet Merchant banking account. And although it’s probably not such a big thing, it does make the whole process of getting the account a lot longer.
Having had this account for ages, I recently decided to test it out. I’ve done multiple integrations for other people using 2CheckOut, so I knew the process fairly well. Once you’re logged into your account, you can easily add and edit products you want to sell. Then it’s just a case of adding your links to your website to easily track your sales.
The client is presented with a simple screen where they enter their details, and you select what must happen once the transaction goes through. Either a simple email to them, or you can integrate it into your website management software.
I’ve noticed they do random fraud checks on transactions as well, so this helps to make sure you don’t get screwed at the end of the month.
2CheckOut is the preferred payment gateway used in the Global Warriors Community.
As with ClickBank, you can also list your products on their Affiliates pages, which allows other people to sell your product for a certain commission.
The only time I’ve made use of ClickBank, was as a promoter of their affiliate products. Recently having had an Illustrated Karma Sutra Positions eBook developed, I looked at all the different ways of selling it. ClickBank is one of them, and the advantage is that thousands of other people can promote your product as well. You need to have a payment system in place already, but this is a nice additional feature to have someone sort out your affiliate payments. So although not strictly a payment gateway, it’s definitely worth knowing about.
You’ll see I don’t mention the pricing structures for these different services here. The reason for that is simple, they are all pretty much the same, or very close to being the same.
Each Payment Gateway Service has their own Terms and Conditions. This will include a list of products and services you are allowed to sell through their service. Always make sure to check that out first, before signing up!
I know it can be difficult to choose a payment gateway supplier. If you want, you can contact me for some feedback on which solution will work best for your needs.