Payfast in South Africa – Online payment gateway review.

by | Oct 5, 2020 | Online Store, Websites | 0 comments

Since I started building blogs and websites for customers, I always had some kind of fear when it came to online stores and payment gateways like Payfast South Africa. For some reason I always feared the process of adding a gateway to my or even clients sites. It was scary if you know what I mean.

Until the day when I was forced to take it more serious and add Payfast to a WooCommerce website and what do you know? Easy as pie! I don’t know what I was afraid of? If I think back, it was kind of stupid of me being scared by a software that could lead to more money in my pocket. 

Silly right?

Since then, I am a huge fan of Payfast South Africa and the tremendous ease of use. I use Payfast for my Shopify stores and Woocommerce dropshipping stores and both work seamlessly.

Straight to the point. 

So, by the way, if you are on the fence whether to start an online store, start to today with Shopify and get a 14-day trial for free. If you need some guidance checkout this video I made about Shopify. 

Who is Payfast?


Payfast is a proudly South African company started by Jonathan Smit and Andy Higgins in 2007 and is part of the DPO Group. The company’s founders had a vision and that was to bring a simple and easy payment gateway to individuals, small business, start-ups and charities.  

Payfast is proudly running on a platform that caters for 80 000 merchants in South Africa, yes 80 000! That is a lot of e-commerce stores putting their trust in Payfast to collect their hard earn money. 

On the topic of trust and hard-earned money, Payfast has strict security measures in place securing everything within a robust PCI DSS Level 1 environment. In plain English, your money is safe with them as they continue to sharpen their security to battle online fraudsters. 

Payfast Secure


Where are they located?

They are a Cape Town-based company and if you need to talk to one of their more than proficient friendly staff you can contact them on + 27 (0)21 300 4455 or send them a mail –

Why Payfast? What makes them so special?


Glad you asked, Payfast South Africa is focused on making the lives of online entrepreneurs easier by completely removing all kinds of technicalities. They are motivated to help individuals like you and I succeed online by securing and transferring of funds from our online stores to our Payfast merchant accounts.

Payfast is also a go-to payment gateway for most individuals starting an online journey as Payfast ask a small transaction fee on all the sales taking place on your store.

No monthly, setup or hidden fees. If you don’t sell anything you don’t pay anything.

That is a great deal!

What payment options does Payfast Support?


Well, this is where the magic happens. Since 2008, Payfast focused on adding more and more payment options to more than 80 different platforms and custom integrations. 

You will be spoilt with 7 different payment options like – 

Payfast Payment Methods
Payfast Payment Methods 2

Another important note to add here is that you don’t need to apply for a lengthy process merchant bank account with your bank. As soon as the transaction was successful on your online store the money will be transferred to your Payfast merchant account which you have 24/7 access to. 

You can request a payout straight to your account by  a click of a button.

You will be amazed how easy it is to accept your first payments. But, before we dive into all the money and how easy it is, you will have to get your account verified by Payfast first before you will be able to use all their features. 

Because you are going to collect very sensitive information on your website it is important to complete the sign-up process with Payfast South Africa and this entails providing supporting documents for approval. 

This is for both individual and business.

What documents do you need to get your account verified? 


Let’s start with individuals – 

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of physical address
  • Proof of ownership of bank account 

For more information about what documents are acceptable visit this page

And for Businesses – 

  • Proof of company registration (Closed Corporation, Company or trust)
  • Proof of physical address of business
  • Proof of company bank account
  • Proof of managing director and additional directors
  • Proof of Payfast account holder if not one of the directors.

For more information about what documents are acceptable visit this page.

Let’s look at some awesome features of Payfast South Africa.


It is important to understand what your online store will need to provide your visitors when it comes to collecting money for services and products. Payfast makes it straightforward to cater for most if not all requirements. 

So, let’s dive right in. 


Payment Methods, like we mentioned already. Payfast South Africa comes with all different types to payment methods that will suite most business like credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, instant EFT and many more. 

This will allow your store to take direct purchases online. 


Subscriptions, this is perfect if you are thinking about starting an online store with membership plans and or retainer style business. Everything is automated and scheduled as needed. 


Tokenization, this is perfect for any business who needs faster checkout process. They way it works, your visitors stores their card details with Payfast secure payment system. They keep the details safe as a token and this will allow your visitor to your online store to buy products using a token and not having to supply their credit card details every time when they want to make a purchase.

This is perfect if you have many returning clients.

Split Payments, This is a true way of building an awesome passive income stream and I do use it myself. This is how it works, you as a web developer build an e-commerce business for a client with great products but with no knowledge about online store. You then agree to a payment spilt for running the online store for them and every time a visitor buys a product you will receive a commission in your Payfast account via the split feature. 

This is obviously a little secret but you can use the payment split however you want. 

Request a payment, this is perfect for anyone that hustles hard to make money without a website and it is easy to set up. You can send someone a mail with a  “buy now” button and this creates an online payment process for the buyer. Money in the account. Simple as pie.

Payfast South Africa comes with great features and you can tell they really put some effort in to helping out local people like the amazing “ request a payment” feature. 

It is a true South African company with ideas and solutions  to cater for our market. 

So, what does it cost to have all these features at your fingertips?

What are the fees for being a Payfast merchant?


Let’s start this part of by saying it is completely free to have a Payfast Merchant account and there are no sign up fees as well. The only time you will have to cough up some money is when your online store make any successful transactions. 

This will give you access to all the features I mentioned above with no monthly or hidden fees. 

So, let’s look at the cost involvement. 

Payfast fees

Flat payout fees – 

This is a flat rate Payfast charges every time you make a request for a payout to your bank account and the amount is only R8.70 excluding VAT. This small fee is for any amount requested. 

Not bad.


Refund fee. 

If you ever run in to a situation of a client wanting a refund and it will happen you can always contact the Payfast support team, and they will be happy to assist you with the matter for only R2 excluding VAT!

As you can tell, Payfast is really not expensive as a beginner payment gateway or let’s rather say a great payment gateway for a start. 

Let’s look at who is Payfast for.


  • Perfect for the individual with  a great idea for an online store
  • Small to medium businesses
  • Entrepreneurs looking for solutions for their current business
  • Street vendors and small entrepreneurs without online stores
  • Actually, anyone who wants a hassle-free way to add a payment gateway to their store.

How do you add Payfast to your online store? 


I am not going in to detail here as I am not going to cover all 80 platforms but for now, I am only going to mention Shopify and WooCommerce. 

I use both platforms and it is really a breeze integrating Payfaty with both. Look at the video below as it will show you how you can do this in a couple of easy steps.

If you are interested in learning how to start a Shopify store with Payfast, watch this video or you can go to Shopify directly to start you 14 day free trial with them.

What are the cons of using Payfast?


Well, this is straight up my opinion and the only thing I don’t like about Payfast South Africa is that the payment gateway moves the buyer from your online store to their online secure payment system where the actual transaction happens. (Hence 3rd party)

This could be a deal breaker for a sensitive buyer as it adds unnecessary friction to the buying process.

But on the upside, it seems like Payfast is working on an onsite payment solution as of time of writing this article.


Payfast Onsite payments


This is going to a major upgrade for Payfast as it is about time they join the bigger players in a very competitive space.

Other than that, I am pleased with them and can’t really complain about anything, sure I can go on a quest to search for “the con’s of Payfast” but that is just going to be regurgitated info and not from my own experience. 

Wrapping it up


Let’s be honest here for a second and answer your question you are reading this post for, Is Payfast South Africa worth making a part of your business?

My answer is yes, go for it.

Payfast is straight the point and if you have no problems with off site payments and transaction fees and waiting for 48 hours to receive your funds from them I would highly recommend them. 

The nice thing to remember here is, if you are a start up company and want to get your business up and running with  a trusted company to handle online payments them get in contact with Payfast South Africa today!

Sign-up, integrate and watch the money roll in.

Affiliate Disclaimer: In this or most of my post I recommend products or services via links or and banners. If any of these links end up in a sale I get a small commision at no extra cost to you.

If you have any questions regarding this article please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.


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