South African Payment Gateways

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New Member
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Hi there! 

I am located in the UK, but in the process of building a website for the South African part of our business. 

Does anyone have any advise on payment options on Shopify for South Africa? 

I want to be able to have the pricing in South African Rand, rather than using a currency converter app, where the price would fluctuate as the exchange rate fluctates. 

Any advise would be massively appreciated!!

Thanks, 

Zarah

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Community Moderator
Community Moderator
3078 232 505

Hi there, 

Nick here from Shopify. 

Great question. Shopify has a document going through all the different payment gateway options available in South Africa. Shopify has partnered with these gateways so store owners like yourself can find one which fits your business. You can see a list of the gateways from the link here

Just to note, if you are based in the UK and have UK credentials for your store, you would be better off using a payment gateway from the UK. We would only advise using a South African payment gateway if the rest of your store is set up as if it was based in South Africa. 

All the best, Nick

Nick | Community Moderator @ Shopify
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New Member
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Hi Nick, 

I am setting up the website for my South African colleagues, so the store details would be based in South Africa. I looked at PayPal Express checkout on this list previously, however, I am unable to select Rand with this? 

Many thanks, 
Zarah

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Community Moderator
Community Moderator
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Hi Zarah, 

Ah ok, brilliant. In this instance, they would be best to use one of the South African payment gateways as I mentioned above. 

I'm not sure why that may be. I just reached out to Paypal for you about this and they said the South African Rand is not available. While Paypal does run in South Africa, this is not an option. The reason would be because different countries have different financial regulations. 

Hope that helps clarify it for you. 

Nick

Nick | Community Moderator @ Shopify
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New Member
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Hi Nick, 

Sorry I'm still not clear what my options are for customers paying in Rand, at a fixed price, and not using a currency converter?

Many thanks, 

Zarah

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Community Moderator
Community Moderator
3078 232 505

Hi Zarah, 

No worries, I'll elaborate a little more for you. You can set up your payment gateway with any of the gateways listed for South Africa in the help document here. This sets up your store to accept payments in South African Rand to the account you associate with your store and sets your store prices to South African Rand automatically without a currency converter. Shopify has partnered with these gateways for South Africa and choosing which one to go with would be up to you. I will investigate the Paypal Express being mentioned here further with the team. 

All the best, Nick

Nick | Community Moderator @ Shopify
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Excursionist
17 0 9

In case it helps anyone, this is what I've gathered:

  • For South African Shopify, stores, you can only have 1 currency (unlike other countries). You can still choose to use USD or ZAR, but after your first order, the currency you've chosen becomes 'locked'.
  • If you choose 'ZAR', it won't work with PayPal as a gateway, because PayPal does not support that currency for payments.
  • If you choose 'USD', it won't work with South African gateways, e.g. PayFast, because they require transactions be done in ZAR.

So effectively, you are damned the one way, and damned the other way.


On the one hand, PayPal is more important to have, because it's trusted and used all around the world.

On the other hand, a South African gateway is important, because they can accept instant payments by bank transfer, as well as transactions in ZAR.

So you need to take into account a few things depending on who you are selling to:

  • If your customers are predominantly outside of South Africa:
    Set your currency to USD/EUR/AUD, and use PayPal as your main gateway
  • If your customers are predominantly inside South Africa:
    Set your currency to ZAR and use a gateway such as PayFast or 2Checkout

One more thing:
If you decide to only use PayPal, it's not possible to have the credit card symbols show during checkout (see screenshot below).
"Why?", you might ask? Well the answer is simple: Cos Shopify sucks.

PayPal - credit card logo.png

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