Solved

Payment Gateway options in South Africa

AM13
Excursionist
11 0 6

Hello,

I am just starting my business and my website. I’m based in South Africa, but much of my client base is located in the US and Europe. I’ve almost finish building my website on Shopify only to discover how limited my payment gateway options are. Payfast and Paypal are available to me but Paypal only works with USD, not allowing checkout in ZAR, and Payfast has a very low maximum payment limit. If I change my store currency to USD then, from what I’ve read, I must then open a bank account in the US. I do have a bank account in the US already, but then taxes, accounting and actually getting my money would be more of a nightmare than they already are.

All the apps able to solve my problem only work fully with Shopify Payments, which is not yet available in South Africa

Can someone please clarify for me if there is a straightforward solution to this problem? I've read through related topics on the forum and not found any answers. Maybe there is some updated information on it that I haven’t run across?

Thanks!!

Accepted Solution (1)

Nick
Shopify Staff (Retired)
4531 434 1020

This is an accepted solution.

Hi @AM13,

 

Nick here from Shopify. 

 

Really good questions! I completely see where you are coming from if your client base is mainly in the US and Europe. If it was me I would stick to keeping things with your native currency as that is where your business is set up and registered. I would recommend using one of the gateways Shopify is partnered with, in South Africa which you can see here

 

You can change your currency if you like, but what you get paid out and what kind of bank account you need to accept it depends on the payment method you are using to collect the money. You can set your store so your customers see their native currency with a currency converter app from the Shopify App Store. The checkout would display in ZAR though. 

 

Hopefully, this helps answer your question and gives you an idea of the next steps to take. 

 

All the best, Nick

To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Community Blog.

View solution in original post

Replies 48 (48)

Nick
Shopify Staff (Retired)
4531 434 1020

This is an accepted solution.

Hi @AM13,

 

Nick here from Shopify. 

 

Really good questions! I completely see where you are coming from if your client base is mainly in the US and Europe. If it was me I would stick to keeping things with your native currency as that is where your business is set up and registered. I would recommend using one of the gateways Shopify is partnered with, in South Africa which you can see here

 

You can change your currency if you like, but what you get paid out and what kind of bank account you need to accept it depends on the payment method you are using to collect the money. You can set your store so your customers see their native currency with a currency converter app from the Shopify App Store. The checkout would display in ZAR though. 

 

Hopefully, this helps answer your question and gives you an idea of the next steps to take. 

 

All the best, Nick

To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Community Blog.

Diana20
Visitor
1 0 0

Hey, 

I´m also comfronting with the same problem, we got two shops and the both of them are working on the same credit card. On the first shop we already bought a new domain to change it from .myshopify in just .com .. so on the second shop we tried to do the same but it´s showing me the same warning and I´m not able to buy it.. I already tried your steps to clear the browser or to verify my Information. I also tried to switch different Browser and still not working.. what should I do to be able to buy a new domain for the second store?

 

Sorry for writing here but I really do need help and I would be greatful if you´d help me

AM13
Excursionist
11 0 6

Hi Nick,

Thanks so much for your reply! You've confirmed what I had been able to discover and I appreciate the advice.

 

I will check out the currency converter apps and hopefully at some point in the near future more options will be available here through Shopify.

 

The only question I have now is whether Paypal Express will work. It's listed as an option in SA but when I "check out" in test mode it says it doesn't support my currency. I guess I'll have to contact them directly?

 

Thanks again and all the best,

Amber 

Nick
Shopify Staff (Retired)
4531 434 1020

No worries at all @AM13, glad to know it helped you. 

 


The only question I have now is whether Paypal Express will work. It's listed as an option in SA but when I "check out" in test mode it says it doesn't support my currency. I guess I'll have to contact them directly?

That's exactly right. Your best bet here is to talk to PayPal directly about this. Shopify wouldn't have any control or say over a third party payment gateway and which currencies they support. 

To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Community Blog.

FITFLUFFPET
Tourist
7 0 0

Hi there, yes same thing happened to me cos my currency was set in ZAR, but when i changed it to USD it worked fine. My question is if I can set my store currency in USD (same situation as you) and still get paid to my SA Bank account?

 

Have you been able to solve the issue? Im just setting up my store now..

AM13
Excursionist
11 0 6
As far as I've discovered, the easiest way to have international payments
made into your SA account is to set your currency to USD and use PayPal as
your payment gateway. You'll need to have a certain type of account (sorry
I can't remember the name) with FNB for PayPal to work. I think the money
will still go to your own bank account, but the link is with FNB.

Hope this helps
FITFLUFFPET
Tourist
7 0 0

Yes I finally successfully linked my Paypal with FNB after a bit of frustration on the navigation tabs on FNB site, however its now solved. I actually opened an account with FNB just to be sure, however its not really needed to open an actual account with them as on the website you can use other SA bank accounts and still link your Paypal to FNB to receive payouts. Thanks for then input ! 

Nick
Shopify Staff (Retired)
4531 434 1020

Hi @FITFLUFFPET,

This would depend on the gateway you are using. The bank account you have connected to the gateway would more than likely be the one where your payouts would go to regardless of what currency your store is set to. You would also be paid in the currency your account is in, so if your store is set to USD you would still be paid out in SA Rand. This is something you should confirm with the gateway Capitec though as they would be the ones who control these things, Shopify wouldn't have any visibility or control over these settings in any way. 

 

To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Community Blog.

Eucliff
Visitor
2 0 0

Hi Nick I also have same problem I am in South Africa most of my customers are in the United state and my store is in South Africa . My question is how United States customers are going to checkout if my store currency is in rand do they need to open South African bank?

Nick
Shopify Staff (Retired)
4531 434 1020

Hi @Eucliff,

Good question! 

People from any country should be able to check out from your store if you have your currency set to South African Rand. While it will show that as the checkout currency to the customer, their bank will show what the exchange rate is the country/currency they are based in. They wouldn't need to open a bank in South Africa or anything, so you don't have anything to worry about there. 

To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Community Blog.

Tom115
Visitor
2 0 4

Hi Shopify,

I really think you need to look at adding Yoco as an accredited online payment gateway in South Africa. Yoco are SME focused and have better rates than your current listed gateways and their up time and support is great from my understanding from wordpress, Wix, shopstar and woocommerce clients who  currently use Yoco. Somehow Yoco can offer their gateway on these other platforms but not shopify - which is disappointing for me as a mostly satisfied shopify customer. 

FrancoiseV
Visitor
1 0 0

Hello I'm really struggling here and could seriously use some help. 

I set up my online shop with shopify, selling my artwork prints. However in the two years I have had my shop with shopify I have struggled with receiving payments.

My business is based in South Africa and the currency is in ZAR, however my customers are from South Africa as well as Internationally. My orders come from all over the world. I have payfast as my payment gateway on my store as this is what was recommended. However, every single customer not from south africa is unable to process the payment through the website. I'm trying to run a business here, and honestly there is no point to have an online shop with shopify if I cannot receive international payments. 

Please can someone urgently help, as this has been an ongoing issue for 2 years - with no one able to solve or help. 

What do I need to do- to receive international payments???

Nick
Shopify Staff (Retired)
4531 434 1020

Hi @FrancoiseV,

Sorry to hear about you struggling with payments on your store. Something great is that you are getting orders from all around the world but lets look into seeing if we can help you receive your payments better. 

Can I ask where PayFast was recommended to you? It is in the list of gateways Shopify is partenered with in South Africa, but Shopify wouldn' thave any control or say on how a third party payment gateway would work. Have you reached out to PayFast about this at all? PayFast is a South African gateway and maybe that's why there have been issues with international payments. You can reach out to PayFast directly from their support here to discuss with them directly

Alternativley if PayFast isn't enabling you to recieve payments for your international orders, it could be worth your while to investigate using another payment gateway in the list. I know 2Checkout definitley do international payments. Would you be open to possibly changing payment gateway to get this working better? 

To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Community Blog.

Simeen
Tourist
5 0 0

Shopify team, although this is flagged as an accepted solution, it does not actually solve the problem at hand for any South African Ecomm store wishing to sell internationally. Please bring Shopify payments to our country or charge us lower transaction fees. This is a huge headache and very limiting 

Lorraine_Woolf1
Excursionist
18 0 27

I'm helping set up a store for a friend in South Africa,

and we're facing this same nightmare.

 

Basically, there are no on-site payment options for South Africa, i.e., customers always enter their credit card details on another website, e.g. 2Checkout, PayFast, etc.

This is very disappointing, because studies show less conversions; some customers want to enter their credit card on the merchant website. If they get redirected to some gateway that they've never heard of, e.g. "PayFast" they may rapidly lose trust, and abandon the transaction.

So effectively, South African merchants are handicapped and will have fewer conversions.
This would all be solved if Shopify Payments were available in South Africa, which it isn't, and yet Shopify has the audacity to charge us 2% of all sales for not using it. Despicable. Not to mention all the other ways it handicaps foreign stores, for example the lack of multiple currency support. And yet they charge the same monthly fees as the un-handicapped stores. Shopify should really be ashamed. You suck.

MattHol
Tourist
4 0 4

Good way of explaining it and putting it. They should be ashamed the audacity is disgraceful.

Lorraine_Woolf1
Excursionist
18 0 27

Hi AM13,

 

"..much of my client base is located in the US and Europe. [...] Payfast and Paypal are available to me but Paypal only works with USD, not allowing checkout in ZAR, and Payfast has a very low maximum payment limit. If I change my store currency to USD"

Firstly, we were able to use USD as a currency, which works OK with PayPal,

but then when we tried to use PayFast, it wanted our currency to be in ZAR, which was a deal-breaker, so we have effectively dropped PayFast.

We are now trying 2Checkout, and are waiting for them to activate our account.

But actually, I don't really see the point in any of these companies, since none of them offer on-site checkout; they all complete checkout on their own websites: this creates a "trust issue", when a customer in the USA who has never heard of "PayFast" gets redirect to their website to complete payment.
Contrast that with PayPal, whom almost everyone in the USA is familiar with and have greater "trust" in.
Therefore, we will probably just stick to PayPal Express as a checkout method.

The problem we then ran into, was that it doesn't show the credit card logos:

PayPal - credit card logo.png

I hope some of this is helpful,

and yeah, Shopify should be ashamed of the way they treat merchants in developing nations; these countries are already handicapped when it comes to doing business online, and Shopify just make it so much harder.

 

AM13
Excursionist
11 0 6

Hi L

 

Lorraine_Woolf1
Excursionist
18 0 27

Hi

We are still submitting verification documents for 2Checkout, so its gateway isn't live/connected for us yet,

so indeed we are waiting to see what the deal is with currency.

I did notice however, that for their withdrawl options, the options are basically PayPal, or Wire Transfer,
and this strongly implies that USD is going to be OK.
Other South African gateways insisted we have our store in ZAR, which doesn't work well for us, because we're not really trying to pass as a South African store; the only reason it's a South African store is because the merchant is in South Africa, and will want the funds to end up in his South African bank account -- that's literally the only reason).

AM13
Excursionist
11 0 6

Hi,

 

I hope it works out, it would be great to find a smooth solution in the end. I've just sent an inquiry to them. I was just wondering if the percentage they charge is including or on top of Paypal's usual percentage per purchase. If it's on top of, that would be like 13% per purchase...

 

Your merchants issues and end goal are definitely inline with mine. Thanks for sharing your info with me, I really appreciate it 🙂

SRS52
Visitor
2 0 2

Hi, I'm in the same boat. To the point, where we are considering setting up offshore structures to avoid this. 

Has the 2Checkout solution checked out? 

Lorraine_Woolf1
Excursionist
18 0 27

2Checkout came back to us with a generic response asking us to please submit X months worth of sales history.

We were very taken aback because, um, this is a brand new store, we have no sales history.

We need the payment gateway, to get the sales history, to give to 2Checkout.

 

So... we decided to just launch with PayPal (which links to FNB account) and accepts USD.

The primary currency on the website is USD,

and we use an app to facilitate currency conversion,

but when the user checks out it is in USD, and we get paid in USD.

 

Indeed, it would be so much easier if we could just use Shopify Pay.

During my research, I encountered the Stripe Atlas program:

https://stripe.com/atlas

..where for USD 500, they will register a US company for you, and open a bank account for you, in the USA,

thus you can set up a Shopify US store.

 

If you can think of any other way to set up offshore, please share.

It all comes down to creating a foreign bank account. What's the easiest way to do that, without leaving South Africa?

SRS52
Visitor
2 0 2
Great news that you have something up and running. I have also settled on
Paypal and attempted to link my FNB account today.

Do you need the app to facilitate the currency conversation if the primary
currency is USD and the checkout is in USD?

I assume it will be for purchases outside of the US?

I have some research being done in terms of setting up offshore and will
let you know if anything feasible comes up.
AM13
Excursionist
11 0 6

Hi,

 

I finally heard back from 2Checkout. Here are the questions I asked: 

1. Will your service allow my store currency to be in USD and pay ZAR into my South African bank?
2. Does your 2monitize plan include Paypal's percentage? Or would I also be paying a percentage to them on top of this?
 

And this is an abbreviation of the email they sent me:

~"To answer your first question, please be informed that we do not support ZAR as a payout currency. The available payout currencies for your type of account are: USD, EUR or GBP. If most of your sales will be placed in ZAR, then the amounts will be converted to USD and the payment will be released in this currency. If you do not have an USD bank account, then your bank will convert the funds to ZAR.
Regarding your second question, please check our payout options:
Paypal, Payoneer, ACH International Wire, with a fee for the international wire of 15 USD/ GBP/ EURO per payout. 
Also, note that Payoneer is a separate company, and the card is administrated separately. 2Checkout does not charge fees for the transfer of funds to this card, however, there are wires associated with the account that are assessed by Payoneer.
Please see here all the payout details:
https://knowledgecenter.2checkout.com/Onboarding/Payouts
If you are selling physical goods, then I would advise you to apply for 2Sell and in case your business is based on subscriptions mostly, then 2Subscribe model might be a better option. 
2Monetize is a product dedicated only for merchants selling digital goods.
The displayed pricing is the standard one for your country. In case you sell outside your country, then a cross-border fee (+2%) is going to be applied on top of the standard price (there are a few countries for which the cross-border fee does not apply and you can find the entire list here https://knowledgecenter.2checkout.com/Documentation/01Product_catalog/05Pricing_and_charge_scenarios...)
All fees are applied per successful sale. Please note that there is a rolling reserve "fee". The rolling reserve is a built in feature for our system, and helps to mitigate potential chargebacks or refunds that may be necessary in the event you were to leave 2Checkout. These funds are calculated at a set rate for each type of business and at the time a payment is made to you. This same amount is then returned to you in the payment cycle that follows the 90-day hold period.
We are currently set up to send payments once a week (2Checkout release the funds in three currencies - EURO, GBP or USD). In case one of your customers orders using a different currency than the mentioned ones, then a 4% FX fee is going to be applied."~

 

I hope this helps. I think I will also just use PayPal for now. The only other option would be maintaining 2 identical shops and link them. One with the shop currency set to ZAR and the other to USD, then people in SA can use Payfast for the one and everyone else PayPal with the other...grrr...

 

As for the currency conversion app, I have Debut theme and needed one. I use a free app that's working great so far called Auto Currency Switcher, very helpful support staff as well.

Lorraine_Woolf1
Excursionist
18 0 27

Hi

Many thanks for sharing that.
A point of confusion with your situation:
As I understood it, you want to primarily sell to South Africans, in ZAR;

South African Shopify stores can only have 1 currency, which is what the customer sees during checkout

(You can use an app to show multiple currencies, but the customer then still sees your primary currency during checkout),

thus you have to choose between ZAR or USD.

If you're selling mostly internationally, the ZAR might throw them,

if you're selling mostly to South Africans, the USD might throw them.

Thus I can understand why you might want to create 2 separate stores:
1 to market internationally, and 

1 to market in South Africa.

(I wonder if the USA Shopify accounts, which apparently support multiple currencies – the South African ones don't without an app – would solve this problem for you).

In our case, we were selling mostly internationally (and pretty much not to South Africa at all), so it did not make any sense whatsoever for us to sell in ZAR,

whereas you seem to be the other way round: you want to avoid USD.

 

With 2Checkout, it's still unclear on whether they can even support a store with ZAR as their primary currency?

Anyway, interesting stuff. 
Yes this has been a total nightmare.

Because of this, I don't think I can recommend Shopify for South African ecommerce; 
but at the same time, I'm not sure what the best alternative will be.

 

Best of luck 🙂

AM13
Excursionist
11 0 6

Hi,

No, sorry for the confusion... I am based in SA but most of my customers are in the US and Europe. I want to be able to accept payments easily from these places, but also want South Africans to not be excluded as customers.

I think I'll stick to PayPal for now with my store currency set to USD. PayPal will at least pay out into my SA bank account. 

It looks like 2Checkout will support it but with lots of different fees. Conversion fee, plus it looks like a $15 fee for Forex or something, where we're based fee... not so clear cut. 

I'm looking in to Peach Payments now as well, just to see, but I've got a feeling it'll be a similar story to Payfast or 2Checkout.

 

I agree with you, Shopify doesn't make it too easy with the payment gateways. I'm always going back to look at other website builders/hosts that would be friendlier to my location (and budget!), but it always feels like starting over and ending up back in the same place. 

Thanks and good luck to you too!

 

 

collarkay
Visitor
1 0 1

Using Paypal is good but my concern is that it doesn't accommodate customers with no Paypal account. I wish there is a Paypal option that allows customers to also pay with their credit/debit cards.

AM13
Excursionist
11 0 6

Oh! just saw that last part... It doesn't look like they support ZAR as the stores main currency...

FITFLUFFPET
Tourist
7 0 0

I now wish I opened my Shopify store while I had my two month vacation in the USA January last year before I got stuck here in SA.  LOL. If only we knew.....

FITFLUFFPET
Tourist
7 0 0

HI there, I have all the same questions and just setting up my store now. Just to verify:

So, I can set up my store in USD and get paid to my SA bank account without any problems? Im with Capitec. Is that what you have been doing?

 

FITFLUFFPET
Tourist
7 0 0

Hi there, have you solved your issue, are you using 2CHECKOUT and is it working ok???? I am checking it out now to try and install in my shop, cos I find that I am loosing sales because I only have PAYPAL as the only way of making payment. I also have my store in USD and my PayPal linked to my FNB account. Our options using third party payment providers are so limited!!! Please let me know how 2 CHECKOUT is working for you, I would really appreciate it, thanks a lot!

Ally09
Visitor
1 0 1

Hey everyone.. So it looks like we are all having the same issue... Like everything in South Africa our payment gate options are as useless as our government...  Anyway.  I hope the following info helps..

PayFast, PayGate, PeachPayments all do NOT support backend default currency in USD... If you are selling only to South Africa then rather have your store currency in ZAR, this just means you cannot intergrade PayPal.. which is fine seeing as thou SA is so backwards that most people don't even know what PayPal is.  BUT if you're target market is outside of Africa then you NEED PayPal and therefore you're default backend currency must be in USD.

Your funds get linked to your SA bank account from PayPal 

2Checkout asks for all your business reg docs and tax reg docs and their fees are high but it can work if you feel you need another payment option.

 

SHOPIFY need to integrate other payment portals for those of us stuck in a 3rd world country..  We are losing sales because we don't have enough payment gateways available to customers..

Self driving cars can be made but here we are with one payment gate option, come on guys

Nick
Shopify Staff (Retired)
4531 434 1020

Hi @Ally09,

Thank you for sharing this information about the gateways Shopify is partnered with in South Africa, I have no doubt it will help some other users in the community. 


SHOPIFY need to integrate other payment portals for those of us stuck in a 3rd world country.

I have also taken note of your feature request for more payment gateways in South Africa and will let the team know about it for future reference. 

To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Community Blog.

ChantelP
Visitor
2 0 0

If you have a bank account with FNB you can link your account to PayPal to recieve your payments into an SA account.

ChantelP
Visitor
2 0 0

I recieve payments in this manner for my holiday rentals from Airbnb. Its works fine, I'm going to use this option then because I was going to add PayFast now I will stick to paypal and just show conversion for SA customers.

Gottfried
Tourist
3 0 6

It's very frustrating because shopify customer care smiles and answers but they aren't being honest with these very simple facts.

 

You CAN NOT have visa or mastercard payments, to your USD currency store. ONLY paypal works. 2checkout has recently disable their mastercard and visa option. So any international customer who does not use or like paypal, have NO other way to pay. 

 

So your options are, USD store and only use paypal and just suffer the losses from customers who only use credit card.

 

Make your store ZAR, use payfast , and suffer the losses from customers who don't know wtf ZAR is and run away.

 

There are unfortunately no nice options. Paypal is the only one.

 

Also, if i add payfast to my USD store, and a product is 30$, payfast just converts it straight and calls it R30 zar. So can't even do that lol

 

Huge pity, we've had great success and shopify is an awesome platform, but this checkout process is nightmarish and the buzzwords are starting to really upset me "pay any way you like" "pay the way the customer wants to" etc etc but actually thats not the case

MattHol
Tourist
4 0 4

Im having the same problem. I don’t know why they dont just bring shopify payments to South Africa or a payment gateway that can accept dollars and convert it to rand (ZAR). Stupid how it is like this and theres many more people struggling on this issue. It needs to be resolved.

ArianaR
Visitor
1 0 1

I wonder if they gave shoppers 2 simple buttons to choose ZAR or USD payments and each button connects to either PayPal or your other chosen payment gateway; surely that can very easily solve this problem I've "sukkeling" since 2012 when I build my very first website??

Brandz999
Tourist
4 0 1

It is actually pathetic how this hasn't been resolved in so many years. For such a big platform Shopify couldn't care less for third world countries, seems like America or nothing else type of mentality. And like you said they will avoid the question in clever ways to make it seem as if there is not an issue when there is. Hopefully a new platform pops up that caters to us - I will be the first to move.

Simeen
Tourist
5 0 0

January 2024 reading a thread started almost 4 years ago and it's not looking good. Has there been any solution to having a store set up in USD and being paid out in Rands? Not a fan of using paypal as it feels limiting to those who only have a credit card

Gottfried
Tourist
3 0 6

Finally got a solution up and running just yesterday!

 

visa and mastercard payments in USD is working. The company is on shopify's list, it's tazapay. Singapore based company, very friendly and was easy to integrate. They work like "paypal" in the sense that they collect the payments in USD to their wallet, then pay you weekly, or twice weekly, whatever you want, to your USD FNB account, OR to your local ZAR account of choice, or even crypto. The fees are close to paypals but a little bit less. 

 

So now our website has paypal and visa + mastercard with Tazapay. They also have a sleek design so the customer feels safe. 

You can do a checkout on our site just before you punch in card details to see how it works

www.noodleandbun.com

Simeen
Tourist
5 0 0

Thank you for fighting the good fight and finding a workaround! Definitely going to implement this 

Nelson5614
Visitor
2 0 0

Buddy you have no idea how much you have just saved my dream by this comment, I have 4 months struggling to make my store accept payments, I am in Lesotho, registred my business here thinking i would get help bcos DPO needed the registered company, after registration DPO said they can not help me, so i registred my Business in SA only to find out the payment gateways in there accept only local payments, just yersterday i came across this comment and i have just signed up with Tazapay awaiting the approval now, I am so Happy, thank you very much for sharing.

Simeen
Tourist
5 0 0

Hi Nelson,
Has your account been approved by Taza pay, are you all set up?

 

Nelson5614
Visitor
2 0 0
Hey there! Tazapay did not approve my application either and no reason was
provided, so I went with paystack and everything went smooth. Please try
them
Simeen
Tourist
5 0 0

Has anyone successfully managed to set up Taza pay? My application has been rejected. They did not provide details as to why, but I assume it's because I either don't have a sales history (it is a new store) or because I don't have a USD bank account @Gottfried  Did you have either of these things when you set up your store with Taza pay 

MB4690
Visitor
1 0 0

My Tazapay application has also been rejected, no explanation as to why

Gottfried
Tourist
3 0 6

Hey Simeen!

 

So they pay directly into my USD account that i have set up on my FNB banking profile. They did however have the option to pay into my ZAR account too. So im not sure if that would have disqualified your application. They do scrutinize stores heavily so i think it might be plausible that if you have no sales history / or data they dont take the risk. For our store we have about 100 orders a month, it's not much but it seemed like enough for our application to go through

 

Kind Regards

G