An e-commerce hurdle for smaller businesses in South Africa has tumbled with the launch of a new payment collection service from PayGate.
“For a small company that’s turning over less than R100 000 a month, getting an e-commerce merchant account through a bank can be prohibitively difficult and expensive,” says PayGate’s business development manager Brendan Williamson. “Yet there are hundreds of small and home-based businesses in South Africa that are poised for growth, if only they had a realistic way to sell and receive payments online. That’s the gap we’re aiming to fill.”
Williamson says PayGate’s entry level e-commerce platform will allow SMEs to accept a wide range of payment methods, including international credit and debit cards, and get easy access to their money without needing to open a new bank account. “Our Payment Protector realtime fraud monitoring system is part of the package, so people are protected against credit card fraud,” he adds.
Payment methods on offer include Visa and Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro, Diners Club, American Express, SID Instant EFT, PayD, paysum1 and UKash, says Williamson, along with a growing menu of mobile payment options.
The service can be activated within 48 hours, he adds: “The application form is just two pages long, there’s no security required and the approval is quick. This allows small business to collect payments more easily, to project a more professional image and to grow to a different level.”
PayGate will continue to support small businesses as they grow, says Williamson. “There are other services aimed at the SME market, but if a business takes off it can outgrow those really fast – and having to change platforms can be very disruptive. At PayGate we support everything from home-based craft businesses to a major airline, so we’re able to grow with our customers.”
However, he warns that small businesses planning to go online should work hard on their marketing. “You can’t assume that being online automatically sells your product – making your shop window visible is a key challenge. Businesses which are new to e-commerce should make sure they choose web developers who are able to help them with advice on search engine marketing and pay-per-click advertising. Then once the customers are in the door, PayGate will make sure you can collect their money at the till.”