South African payment solutions provider PayGate has launched a solution making it possible for consumers in Kenya and Tanzania to pay for online products and services via M-Pesa.

The announcement comes as part of efforts on the part of PayGate to facilitate increased e-commerce activity in African countries, where uptake has to date been low due to the lack of payment options available.

“There is very little e-commerce activity in many African countries…But that’s not because people don’t want to be able to buy online – they just haven’t been given the right payment options,” notes Robin Philip, marketing director of PayGate.

Philip goes on to explain the new system, whereby PayGate makes it possible for Kenyan and Tanzanian shoppers to purchase online via favoured mobile money service M-Pesa.

“Imagine a customer who wants to buy computer equipment or vouchers online…If the merchant has enabled M-Pesa, the customer can choose that as a payment option when they go to check out. We give them the merchant’s M-Pesa account information, they make the payment using their phone, we process it and tell the merchant so they can complete the transaction.”

According to PayGate, it is important to tailor payment offerings to regional markets and provide consumers with the option to pay via locally preferred methods- in the case of East Africa, the largely favoured method of payment being mobile money.

“M-Pesa is already a mature product in Kenya and is taking off very fast in Tanzania…With our growing presence in the region, for us it has been a logical step to offer it as an e-commerce payment method. It’s a very appropriate solution for local conditions,” Philip says.

By providing more accessible payment options, PayGate hopes to incentivise consumers to turn to e-commerce, and boost the online shopping sector in Africa.


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