Payment Gateways in South Africa
A payment gateway service (or payment processing service) is required before you can accept credit card payments via your website. The payment processor is responsible for facilitating for a secure transaction, and for authorizing the transaction. This is usually done by providing a customisable page on a secure connection (SSL) where the customer enters their credit card details.
You might want to offer an online payments facility for your online shop, or even if your product / service is mainly purchased offline, you could offer an online payments page as an additional payment method (for your client's convenience).
In South Africa we now have quite a number of service providers, each with different requirements (such as a merchant account with your bank) and different pricing structures (ie. a higher transaction fee or a higher monthly fee).
In South Africa we have the following key players in the Payment Gateway arena.
This is one of the newest players in the market, currently working with First National Bank.
MyGate also offer a debit order facility for subscription services.
Edit, Aug 2011:
Mygate.co.za now allows you to integrate with Absa Bank, Standard Bank, Nedbank.
They have completed integration into Mauritius Commercial Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland to facilitate multpile currency processing for South African merchants.
Netcash is used primarily as a debit order collection service, which can be done via your customers' bank account or credit card. As of December 2007, Netcash now also offer a payment gateway service for your shopping cart. Netcash only display the Rand currency on their payment pages - if your prices are shown in a different currency they will need to be converted before taking the customer to the payment page.
Virtual Card Services
VCS work with ABSA, Nedbank, Standard Bank and First National. They too have a strict policy on including documentation on your website such as a privacy statement, disclaimer, return policy and so on.
What About PayPal?
Did you know that PayPal was developed by a South African?
Despite this PayPal do not currently offer merchant services to South African companies - although South Africans are able to pay for a product via PayPal, they are not able to receive funds. If, however, you have a bank account in the US or UK, for example, PayPal might be a good option. As of April 2010, South Africans can finally receive funds using PayPal. However, the PayPal payment page will not display the order value in ZAR (South African Rands).