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Fintech introduces new online payment gateway for small businesses


Johannesburg, 12 Jan 2022
Read time 3min 10sec

In 2020, the South African e-commerce market grew by 66% and is now expected to be valued at R225 billion by 2025. 

As small businesses make the move into digital commerce, so begins the search for online payment methods that can offer security and reliability at a rate that maintains realistic profit margins.

Now, financial technology company iKhokha hopes to fill that gap with their first foray into online payments.

Known for their card machines, iKhokha is now venturing into e-commerce with the launch of the iKhokha Payment Gateway. The payment solution is the first in a series of products in the iK Pay Online stable – a proposed suite of e-commerce solutions for small businesses.

According to iKhokha Product Manager Andrew Roy, the move to online payments came from the need to enable merchants to process payments for all facets of their business under the iKhokha umbrella.

“This is part of a larger e-commerce strategy,” says Roy. “It’s the first in a series of products that we’ll build out over the next five years. We identified that most of our merchants are WooCommerce and WordPress users, so we thought that was a good place to start.”

While identifying the opportunity was the first step, iKhokha still needed to onboard the necessary resources, upskill and complete the build of the online payment gateway within a tight deadline.

“We not only built the product, but we also built the team. We made sure that the composition of the team had the relevant full-stack and front-end development capabilities that we required to get the product over the line,” says Roy.

“It really was onboarding team members in mid-project flight and upskilling them to get them to contribute to the solution quickly.”

The result is a WooCommerce and WordPress compatible payment plugin that was built in-house in just under nine months.

“We built a payment architecture based on micro-services, which involved the integration with our acquiring bank for the processing of payment messages, and the creation of the test environments that we required for the solution,” says Roy.

“Security is of the utmost importance to us. We had to ensure that our solution was PCI compliant and 3D secure. We also had to ensure that our architecture could accommodate large volumes to accommodate our merchants.”

To test the solution in a real-world environment, the iKhokha team reached out to known e-commerce merchants in their database, and offered them Africa’s lowest transaction rate to participate in the beta programme before launching it to the market.

“We identified a beta group of a small subset of merchants who we offered lower transaction rates to test the solution. We then made a small number of iterative improvements over time, until we felt we had received enough feedback to be confident in the robustness and security of the product,” says Roy.

The WordPress payment gateway plugin – which recently launched out of beta – has already processed over a quarter of a million rand in merchant transactions.

iKhokha aims to ramp up product adoption in the coming months by offering small businesses competitive transaction rates that enable them to viably participate in the digital economy and capitalise on the growth of e-commerce.

The iKhokha Payment Gateway is now available as a free download on WordPress and WooCommerce. For more information on iKhokha’s payment gateway and iK Pay Online, please visit www.ikhokha.com/pay-online.

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