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SPECIAL FOCUS: 5 escrow startups in Africa

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Image Credit: YourStory

The introduction of e-commerce, like elsewhere in the world, has changed the consumption pattern in Africa. This has been welcomed since Africans hope to enjoy the best of services like consumers in Asia, Europe and America.

With over 400 million internet users, Africa’s online shoppers has been increasing by 18% since 2014.

However, there exist some traditional challenges associated with online transactions in Africa. Ranging from fake alerts, payments getting lost in transmission, sellers not giving their best services once payment has been received by them, among others.

This is one issue that escrow services have come to solve and over the years we have seen an increase in the number of escrow startups in Africa.

In no particular order, here are 5 escrow companies in Africa that you should try to integrate for your business.

1. Paylock

paylock

This is another escrow platform that has been making the waves, not just in Ghana, but South  America as well. The Ghanian digital escrow startup helps traders and freelancers internationally to ensure that they are not defrauded during transactions.

The escrow startup was founded by Jerry Akanyi-King, Kennedy Anyinatoe and Kelechi Udoagwu in September 2008 after they realized the struggle that freelancers had to endure when it comes down to remitting invoices.

For Paylock, they keep the money for a transaction safely and only release the funds in instalments based on the progress of the work to be done, and agreements made by the parties involved.

Their escrow service pays the freelancer in any way they wish to receive their payments. This means that when you use Paylock, you are not subjected to one means of getting your funds. The choice is solely yours to make.

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With their approach, both the client and the freelancers are saved from any unfavourable circumstances.

2. AtaraPay

AtaraPay

AtaraPay is a fast-rising digital escrow startup that offers protection for payment with a transaction that is done not only online, but offline as well.

They have made a remarkable effort to ensure that all funds paid into an escrow wallet are insured. They are also powered by CBN licensed banks to hold money and serve as the middle man for various transactions.

With its patented technology, AtaraPay provides real-time accept or reject options at the point of delivery via mobile. The service targets online package delivery services, gig/ freelancer websites, social media sellers on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

The solution supports online and real-time settlement of payout to merchants and commission to marketplace operators and brokers and also supports payment from foreign cards. With these in mind, AtaraPay is a suitable solution for international transactions between merchants in Nigeria and the rest of the world.

AtaraPay

AtaraPay provides protection for eCommerce sellers through the payment of logistics fee on cancellation. It also provides a refund policy that supports either refund or replacements in the event of a rejection by the buyer. This is coupled with full protection and insurance of funds paid into escrow preventing fraud on their goods and services from dubious buyers.

The service uses APIs and plugins created to make integration simple on Shopify, Magento and word press websites. The platform supports the first and only free escrow driven marketplace in Nigeria for merchants.

It developed the solution to eliminate cash on delivery during eCommerce transactions as they realize this is neither a profitable payment method for the industry nor sustainable for the digital economy that we desire in the country and continent.

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You can Register with AtaraPay now!

3. Truzo

TruZo

Truzo is a South African escrow payment service founded in 2017 by Terence Naidu with the aim of ensuring safe and secure payment for transactions in South Africa. Originally, the startup was known as Envisionit e-pay but rebranded to Truzo in order to accommodate expansion globally.

Truzo derived from the words “trust zone” happens to be the only digital escrow service provider in South Africa.

For Truzo, they ensure that not just individuals, but corporate bodies in South Africa and across the continent transact freely with no fear. They hope to increase economic growth with their platform that encourages people to trust more in order to trade more.

4. PayScrow

PayScrow

Payscrow escrow service was founded in 2017 by Ekpedeme Ekpe and Ebime Abari. PayScrow provides a unique service that helps buyers and sellers foster a trusted payment relationship.

To use PayScrow, both parties will have to come to an agreement on the terms and direct payment is made to the PayScrow wallet till the receiver is pleased with the service offered.

All payments with PayScrow are processed with a PCI/DSS certified payment processor while the funds are kept in a bank licensed by CBN for deposit. They also have a proprietary dispute resolution system to ensure that disputes are resolved in a timely manner that pleases both parties.

Looking at the services offered by the five escrow services above, it is safe to conclude that escrow startups are solving the problem of fraud and distrust between buyers and sellers and in essence, they are building seller-buyer trust in a bid to boost consumer confidence in e-commerce services in Africa.

With growing confidence in Africa’s e-commerce services, the sector is expected to keep up with the growth witnessed so far and hit the $29 billion growth forecast in 2022 and contribute to the growth of businesses and economies across Africa.

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5. Vesicash

Vesicash

Vesicash innovative technologies was founded by Aigiomawu Ehiaghe, Ibrahim Oladele and Tomisin Adeshiyan on the 14th of May in 2018. The sole aim of this digital escrow startup was to eliminate every form of fraud-related payments.

Veicash’s goal is to make it possible for everyone, everywhere to make transactions with total confidence with the guarantee and assurance that it would end well for all the parties involved.

The platform does this by including all the parties involved in a transaction in the payment process from the start to finish of their transaction. To do this, they ensure that control is distributed equally between both parties in the transaction process and they take them through a transparent transaction process.

Funds, for Vesicash, are not released until both parties have authorized their satisfaction with the service rendered and delivered.

The startup also seems to be growing as they recently announced raising an undisclosed amount of investment from Lagos-based investor, Ingressive Capital. This funding is to help them grow their customer base and secure key partnerships.

Escrow table

Escrow table

From our review of their offer, whilst Vesicash’s website states it supports multiple countries, we find that AtaraPay stands out because it provides unique solutions to key pain-points faced by online merchants today, such as;

  • Price advantage
  • Key partnerships with Insurance providers
  • Integration that automates delivery process for merchants and marketplace operators

It also recently added key features such as ability for merchants to choose their refund option; cash or replacement

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