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Payment firm Paystack targets North, Francophone Africa

By , ITWeb's news editor.
Africa , 05 Jul 2023
Joel Bronkowski, Paystack South Africa country lead.
Joel Bronkowski, Paystack South Africa country lead.

Payments firm Paystack is ramping up efforts to expand to more African countries.

So says Joel Bronkowski, Paystack’s South Africa country lead, in an e-mail interview with ITWeb.

Paystack is a Nigerian financial technology company that offers payment processing services to businesses and was acquired by Irish-American financial services company Stripe for $200 million (R3.7 billion) in 2020.

It entered the South African market in 2019, and it is one of Y Combinator’s first investments in Africa.

According to Bronkowski, the firm started off with two employees in South Africa and it has now grown the staff compliment to 40.

“The first year was spent getting our partnerships in place and doing market research on the opportunity in South Africa. This early time served us well in forming a number of early alliances that we returned to when our product was ready for beta testers.

“In the past year, we’ve expanded to Kenya and have plans to grow into North and Francophone Africa,” he says.

While plans are in motion for Paystack to spread its wings across the continent, Bronkowski says “it’s not easy doing business in Africa”.

“As Paystack, we’re working to solve this challenge, but even still, the regulatory frameworks make it hard for African businesses to work with each other. Many South Africans want to collect in USD or other foreign currencies to essentially run their businesses and target foreign customers. This is not an easy task for them in South Africa,” he says.

He adds that businesses are looking to use some international tools that simply aren’t available to South Africans because they do not offer South African payment platforms.

While Paystack has entered partnerships with the likes of Wix, Craft CMS, Commerce7, and Siteminder to solve this challenge, Bronkowski points out that there are many other tools that South African businesses would like to use.

The other limitation is cash collections or payment methods to address the needs of folks that do not have e-commerce-enabled cards, he notes, adding that trust in digital payments is another issue.

“We have come a long way with COVID, but there is still some reluctance to pay via digital means,” he says.

Bronkowski explains that Paystack has a payment collection system that can be leveraged in a number of ways.

“At its simplest form, a developer can spin up a checkout with just three API [application programming interface] calls, or a non-technical business can create a free online store using Paystack Commerce.

“We also have integrations with many of South Africa’s e-commerce tools, such as Wix, Shopify, and WooCommerce. Aside from these, we also enable merchants to handle their billing needs via our subscription tool or Debicheck (for debit orders).

“Lastly, we have a product for disbursing funds – we call this our transfers tool. This enables merchants to load their bulk recipients and make payments to them at a low cost.”

Paystack sees a lot of opportunities to work with developers, the start-up ecosystem, and the e-commerce space.

“With that in mind, we’re working to both support the communities that exist and create ones that don’t.

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