Fast-tracking the Growth of E-commerce In Africa

Direct Pay Online is transforming the way you pay for goods and services

By Brian Yatich

Shopping and paying for goods and services online is now the new normal, a trend that has also created the need for new modes of payment as digital money gradually replaces hard cash.

“The shift from physical to digital markets is one of the most transformative trends in the modern markets, and we believe that online payments are going to play a huge role in the developments of these markets,” says Eran Feinstein, CEO of Direct Pay Online.

Feinstein, who holds Master’s degree in Business Administration and a degree in Computer Science with years of experience in developing and running e-commerce sites, started Direct Pay Online, an online payment service system, back in 2006. His goal was to empower African businesses to efficiently sell their products online and receive payment through a wide variety of methods in a single platform.online-payment

He says with the growth of the e-commerce in Africa, there was also an increasing need for reliable, effective and efficient online payment system in the region. Direct Pay Online was developed to meet that need.

According to a new study by GSMA, smart-phone penetration across the African continent is expected to grow three-fold to over 540 million handsets by 2020.

The study dubbed, ‘The Mobile Economy: Africa 2016”, states that the increase in smartphone penetration in Africa, combined with improved access to 3G/4G networks and reduced data costs, is expected to spur strong growth in online and mobile commerce.

“We are looking to support both entrepreneurs and enterprises in accessing these new online customers by providing a seamless and scalable payment solution for all online and mobile payments regardless of geography, payment type or platform” says Feinstein, adding that their vision is to be the leading pan-African payments processor.

They are planning to expand their local presence to more than 10 countries across East, West, and Southern Africa over the next year.

Formerly known as 3G pay direct, the firm a month ago rebranded to Direct Pay Online shedding its former identity with the growth of new merchants as it seeks to revolutionize the payment business in Africa.

Direct Pay Online supports credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and bank transfers as well as all mobile money networks in Africa including M-Pesa, Airtel Money, MTN and Tigo Pesa. It is also ideal for e-commerce and booking websites like travel agencies and events.

“Direct Pay Online provides a real time, cloud based processing platform, with state of the art technology that supports multiple transaction types with online and offline capabilities” says Feinstein.

The future is cashless

“We want to see our company everywhere. When you order for grocery, paying for a cab, and buy goods, we want you to pay online,” says Feinstein.

The Direct Pay Online system, he adds, is fast expanding. They currently operate in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Zambia where they process payments from all major credit cards, mobile money and e-wallets..

They currently record on average about 100,000 transactions across their platform on monthly basis. Kenya and Tanzania are leading in this growth with over 10 million credit cards in circulation.

Feinstein says they are now planning to expand into Namibia, Ghana, and Nigeria, hopefully in the next 5 years.

“We are also serving over 5,000 clients in the region, including over 40 airlines, hundreds of hotels, and thousands of travel agents and tour operators. We truly believe that ecommerce is the next big thing in Africa,” says Feinstein.

Set-back

“The merchants still don’t understand how the technology works and therefore most of them don’t trust it. On the other hand, the consumers are afraid, they don’t know that sometimes it’s much safer to use card than to use cash,” says Feinstein, adding that they need to understand that there is insurance in using card, especially when you use Visa or MasterCard. But there is no insurance in cash.

Also, Direct Pay Online, Feinstein says, is one of the most secure payments systems in the world. It is fully equipped with fraudulent patterns detection mechanism.

“Our fraud prevention strategy is combined with real time monitoring features to ensure that customers are safe and secure. We hold the highest security standard in the credit card industry, the PCI DSS level 1 in East Africa, the highest security certification in the payment cards industry,” says Feinstein.

Another challenge for them is lack of regulation.

“We always support regulations. We think that if the market is regulated, all the players will act based on the same standards, rules and regulations, and it will be much easier to develop the market,” says Feinstein.

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