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Digital technology has facilitated the invention of various payment gateways. It was initially complicated to send money internationally and across continents. Currency change was the least of your worries. There was, and still is, the issue of trust and time to process transfers and payments. They make it possible to send money to Africa or anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. Payment gateways are convenient for personal transactions and you can integrate them as an essential web management tool for your business. They are convenient for various online businesses like online food delivery, or online courses. 

What Is a Payment Gateway?

A payment gateway is an eCommerce service that uses secure internet connections to process, verify, accept (or deny) credit card or direct payments for merchants. It is essential because it facilitates transactions and sends information of transactions to your bank or a front end processor. 

Payment gateways use verification technology and special encryption to make online shopping and transactions more secure. They use these features to eliminate the risks of long-distance transactions and anonymity. 

Some of the best payment gateways to use in Africa include:

1. PayPal

Paypal is a digital service that facilitates online shopping and, in some cases, brick and mortar retail shopping. The platform stores and secures customer information, including credit card or bank account info. 

Paypal members have access to the following services:

  • Transfer money in and out of your account, including business and person to person (P2P) transactions
  • Access to credit card cash advance
  • Ge a Paypal debit card to engage in brick and mortar transactions
  • A mailed check on your PayPal balance

As a buyer, you get to use PayPal for free. However, sellers have to pay a fee that varies on their location, whether you are a non-profit or not. 

Numerous top eCommerce platforms and other brands use PayPal to facilitate their transactions. Examples include eBay, Etsy, Adidas, and more. 

2. Skrill

Skrill is a global payment gateway developed in the U.K. You can buy products, services or even make international transactions. Skrill connects to your Master Card or your bank account to enable transactions. 

The platform has an app version, keeps your payment secure, and is free to create an account. However, Skrill charges a processing rate of 1.9%. Its main features include: 

  • You can integrate it with various third party shopping carts
  • Hosts payment page
  • In-app payments are possible
  • Supports over 30 currencies
  • Email transactions
  • One Place data
  • Free to create an account

3. VoguePay

VoguePay is a payment gateway from Nigeria. It facilitates global transactions between people and business in all major currencies. You can transact using VoguePay from anywhere in the world. It offers various features, including:

  • A wallet to indicate your balance
  • Analytics to monitor cash flow, sales, and revenue
  • Free website extensions to platforms like WordPress, WooCommerce, Joomla, and more
  • A 30% developer commission if you develop an extension or plugin not available on VoguePay.

International merchants using VoguePay outside Nigeria will pay the following charges:

  • A setup fee of $19.99
  • Card processing fees of $0.50 + at least 3.8%
  • Transaction fees of 1% for every transfer from your VoguePay wallet. 

4. Paystack

Paystack is a modern payment gateway that facilitates offline and online payments in Africa. Accounts in Africa can receive and send cash from all over the world. There are more than 60,000 businesses that use Paystack as a payment Gateway. These businesses can accept payments from credit cards or debit cards. Moreover, you can transfer your money from Paystack into any bank in Africa. 

You can integrate Paystack in your e-commerce campaign without the need to have coding knowledge. Paystack charges a 1.5% transaction fee for transactions within Africa. If you make international transactions, they charge 3.9% of your transaction. Paystack has partnered with top brands like MTN, Domino’s, and Bolt, formerly Taxify.

5. Western Union

Western Union is an organization that helps people and businesses to move money to different parts of the world. The network is a global leader as it is available in 200 countries worldwide. Previously, you had to visit an agent to withdraw the money physically. However, Western Union has also integrated online money transfer for faster and more convenient movement of money. 

Initially, Western Union started as a telegraph service in Rochester, New York, in 1851. They ventured into the transfer of money in 1871. 

6. Flutterwave

Flutterwave is a platform that facilitates payments between banks and businesses across Africa. On the other hand, it lets customers conveniently pay for goods and services in their local currencies. 

Businesses do not have to undertake the burden of having to integrate various payment services and banks. Flutterwave has integrated credit or debit payment systems from over 154 countries through a product they call Rave. Rave supports Mastercard, Visa, and Verve. 

They charge a 1.3% transaction fee on local transactions and 3.5% on international transactions. 

7. M-Pesa

Payment gateways

M-Pesa is a mobile money transfer and banking service owned by East African telecommunication giant Safaricom. They launched the platform in 2007 in Kenya. After that, it grew and inspired other telecommunications companies to create their mobile banking service. In 2019 alone, the platform facilitated over 12 billion transactions. 

The letter ‘M’ in the name stands for mobile. On the other hand, ‘Pesa’ is a Swahili word that stands for money. Apart from personal transactions and banking services, businesses in the area will also benefit primarily from the service. 

Business entities can set up accounts for customers to either pay bills or buy goods and services. If you have an official relationship with your customers, you can set up a PayPal account to receive payments. Your customers will pay from anywhere, and each will have a unique account number. The Paybill has been adopted to pay ordinary bills like electricity and water bills.  

Another option for businesses, including small business, is the ‘Buy Goods and Services’ option. The option mainly facilitates retail purchases. M-Pesa charges business entities a maximum of 0.5% of their transactions. The amount does not exceed KSH 200. 

Conclusion

There are many payment gateways in Africa and across the world. It would be best to consider various factors like the countries they operate in, country of origin, their rates and fees, the currencies they use, and more. For example, M-Pesa is currently limited to the Kenyan, Ugandan, and Tanzanian Shillings transfer.