ZipZap – Low cost portable credit card machine

One of the most frequent requests I receive from entrepreneurs is around low-cost point of sales options. ZipZap looks like a good option, and we asksed ZipZap some questions.

ZipZap looks like an excellent product. Our readers might not know about what ZipZap does. Please give us your elevator pitch?

ZipZap is a portable credit card machine – or mPOS as it’s known – that works wherever you do business. This means that you can take payment with a debit or credit card anywhere, any time. ZipZap works with your smartphone or tablet through a free app that links to a separate secure card reader, and you can have several ZipZap devices linked to one bank account. There are three different payment options on offer to best suit your pocket and cash flow, and the transaction fees are the cheapest on the market.

How does this benefit businesses in South Africa?

ZipZap’s philosophy is all about growing small businesses by giving them a mobile, cost-effective payment solution. After investing in a mPOS device businesses generally report a higher turnover because they no longer turn customers without cash away. They’re also able to reduce bad debt because they don’t have to chase after EFT payments, which ultimately results in better cash flow.

How is it different from products being offered by large banks?

Our products are similar, but what sets us apart is the lowest transaction fees, various payment options, and our latest offer – South Africa’s first free mPOS device for businesses who’s turnover exceeds R25 000 per month in MasterCard or Visa card swipes. You can bank with any South African bank and you do not need a merchant account – we will open one on your behalf and handle all the admin. We also believe that our caring and attentive view to customer service is a big differentiator for us.

Do you have any plans of partnering with larger financial institutions?

ZipZap offers a white label solution to any organisation or financial institution wanting to offer a mPOS solution to their customers. We can provide a complete mPOS solution that includes app development and deployment, card readers, transaction processing, technical support and a customer call centre; all off the back of our tried-and-tested technology and back-end services.

What would the ideal business look like to benefit from ZipZap?

ZipZap has thousands of happy customers that include markets, doctors, health and sports professionals, artisans, retailers, bakeries, hairdressers, beauty salons, micro-breweries, B&Bs, restaurants and many more. If you are a mobile business, don’t want to rely on a fixed point-of-sale terminal or would like a back-up for your traditional POS, ZipZap can benefit you.

Let’s talk money. What does it cost to get started with ZipZap? How is payment processing charged?

We offer three different payment options. All transaction fees are 2,75% (Ex VAT).
Free ZipZap

  • Free ZipZap (worth R1599 ex VAT) if your MasterCard and Visa card transactions exceed R25 000 per month
  • No activation fees
  • No monthly rental fees*
  • 24 month contract (month-to-month thereafter)

* If your MasterCard and Visa card transactions are lower than R25 000 in any month, you will be charged a rental fee of R150 for that month
Buy a ZipZap

  • Pay the once-off fee of R1 599.00 by credit card or via EFT
  • No monthly rental fees

Rent a ZipZap

  • R150 per month
  • No activation fees
  • 24 month contract charged in arrears (month-to-month thereafter)
  • No rental fee if your MasterCard and Visa card transactions exceed R25 000 in any month

If possible, could you provide us with a couple of companies that are using ZipZap?

ZipZap encourages customers to share their mPOS stories. Click here to read one of our many happy customer stories.
For more information visit www.zipzap.co.za

TaxTim launches easy tax return completion tool for SMEs

TaxTim  has launched a company tax return tool, that offers small businesses a new option to handle all their tax affairs. Anyone, running a business – especially a small business, where the owner multitasks – knows that regulatory compliance is a major issue. This new offering offers a way to complete tax returns, and in so doing makes it just that much easier to focus on running the business. Remember, what Michael E. Geber said:

“A true business opportunity is the one that an entrepreneur invents to grow him or herself. Not to work in, but to work on.”

Below please find the press release from TaxTim:
Continue reading “TaxTim launches easy tax return completion tool for SMEs”

SAICA introduces affordable quality back-office support services


The South African Institite of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) have introduced a programme called Enterprisation. Take note, this programme is different and provides support for provides SMEs with quality back-office support services that a small business owner would otherwise not be able to afford. These services include accounting, bookkeeping, taxation, business finance consulting, and company secretarial and registration. Go check out the site for more information by clicking here.

The SAICA statement is included below:

To reach the NDP’s entrepreneurship goals, we need to make the numbers count  
One of the major goals of the National Development Plan (NDP) is to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality in South Africa by 2030.
In order to do this, the NDP recognises entrepreneurs as national assets who are essential for creating more wealth, more employment opportunities and greater prosperity for our nation. If the NDP performs the way the National Planning Commission (NPC) envisions, 90% of jobs created will be in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector come 2030.
Yet, South Africa’s inherent economical structural inequality will make reaching this goal more difficult than many may think.
While it is true that thousands of new businesses start up every year – some of which do grow into medium enterprises that employ more than a handful of people – it is also true that only one in five businesses survives longer than 18 months.
Chief among the reasons for this is that many business owners simply do not have the financial background they need to handle the financial aspects of their SME. Without this knowledge, making their business both profitable and sustainable is almost impossible.
Enterprisation helps start-ups reach financial sustainability
In 2013, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) recognised the role it could play in helping SMEs conquer the financial landscape.
To this end, it established an enterprise development and SME support hub called Enterprisation which, together with a unique graduate training programme, provides SMEs with quality back-office support services that a small business owner would otherwise not be able to afford. These services include accounting, bookkeeping, taxation, business finance consulting, and company secretarial and registration.
In providing this support, Enterprisation:

  • alleviates the pressure business owners experience if they do not have access to accurate and well-maintained monthly financial records;
  • contributes to the business’ overall going-concern through good business forecasting and budgeting;
  • ensures that business owners are in possession of accurate, up-to-date and complete financial records when applying to credit providers for funding; and
  • ensures that business owners understand the importance and benefits of doing timely tax submissions.

Businesses that are assisted in this manner remain accountable for the day-to-day financial operations of their business and, with the support of Enterprisation, these SMEs can subsequently grow into sustainable businesses that create jobs for others.
Job creation
In addition to SME support, Enterprisation also provides workplace readiness training and skills development to unemployed black accounting graduates and creates employment opportunities for these skilled graduates within the SME sector.
Thanks to the private-public partnerships that make it possible to do this work, the Enterprisation hub has, to date, successfully:

  • supported 121 SMEs in five of SA’s nine provinces;
  • worked with nine SME funds and incubators; and
  • trained 270 graduates through the Guarantee Trust training programme – an initiative that sees 95% of graduates placed in positions of employment upon leaving the programme.

Future initiatives include an exciting project with Old Mutual’s Masisizane Fund where the Enterprisation team will assist five agribusiness co-ops in the Eastern Cape as well as a JP Morgan Grant project that will support 100 new SMEs and train 50 new accounting graduates over the next 18 months.
Enterprisation’s goal is to support the NDP by developing entrepreneurs and professionals through skills development that creates sustainable enterprises and employment opportunities. Partnering with Enterprisation also means you optimise your B-BBEE scorecard, while helping to alleviate poverty in South Africa

Recurring Billing from PayFast

Payment solution PayFast announced in late July that it is introducing recurring billing for online stores. Yes, you heard that correct. A reputable South African payment solution with recurring payments. This makes subscription based services easier, and will likely provide a boost to businesses in a wide range of industries. In there announcement, they outline the two methods of recurring payments:
 

The feature enables numerous business models, activities and applications. At launch, the service will allow for merchants to create two methods of recurring payments; one being a subscription model, the other an ad hoc model. The subscription model supports membership or retainer style business models that provide stable and predictable income. The ad hoc payment solution enables applications such as app payments, single page checkout, or automatic account top ups. Read up on the details of each and how to enable recurring billing for yourself.

Subscriptions

The true value of the subscription business model is in its predictability. Billing is automated and long-term financial planning is easier as future payments are almost guaranteed.
A typical service is server hosting. The customer is billed on a monthly basis for a set fee. Traditionally in South Africa this billing model has been implemented by means of a debit order. Our subscriptions offering, however, shifts towards a credit card-based payment model. In line with global trends, it offers a more streamlined solution to the merchant with greater customer convenience and control.

Ad hoc payments

An ad hoc recurring payments solution sounds something like a contradiction in terms, invoking both regularity and irregularity. It is precisely that combination that adds a multitude of additional applications to the function of recurring billing. The relational aspect of the transaction is the recurring part – the buyer and seller enter into an agreement where the buyer authorises the seller to charge their credit card for an agreed purpose. However, the amount paid and transaction dates can differ for future individual payments.
Let’s look at some examples of how this feature could be implemented. Say you want to monetise your app. Authorising each and every transaction is an obstacle to the customer experience. PayFast’s Ad hoc payments would streamline the process, allowing automated app purchasing after the first transaction has been authorised, for future use.
Or, you have an e-commerce business. Ad hoc payments offer huge value for web based stores where customer loyalty is key. Through the use of tokenization you can now access customer purchasing details, and offer a single page checkout.

This is worth exploring for a range of businesses. There launch announcement and landing page provide all the details that you need to get started.

uAfrica – an easy way to setup an online store in South Africa

ZApreneur spoke to Jenn Hattingh from uAfrica about their ecommerce offering. This is the start of a series of interviews on eCommerce in South Africa. What spark our interest was an initiative to assist new businesses to set up online stores, and a promise of support from uAfrica and bidorbuy.
Key Takeaway:  If you interested in setting up an online store in South Africa, uAfrica is running a competition. What I like about the competition is that every entrant gets a good value set of freebies including assistance in setting up a store, promotional credit on bidorbuy, and ability to test out their multichannel app for six months, free. And that is what the losers in the competition get!  View the competition details and enter now!

1. Hi. Please tell us a little about uAfrica.

uAfrica.com is a reseller for the Shopify eCommerce platform in  Africa. We have localised Shopify for the South African online business market by bringing South African payment gateways and shipping  functionality into the ring to help make Shopify even more accessible to local merchants.

2.Who runs the place? How long have you been around?

Andy Higgins is our MD, he founded bidorbuy back in 1999 and after  leaving bidorbuy started uAfrica.com.

3. Awesome! Why would a company use a service like uAfrica rather than say run a store yourself, using for example WooCommerce?

A shopping platform is a matter of personal preference but, being cloud based, we think that Shopify is a great solution for many South African merchants simply because they don’t need to worry about managing  things like servers, backups or upgrades. They can focus on their core business leaving the technical aspects up to the experts. uAfrica.com has > also built tools to localise Shopify in South Africa and we have negotiated special terms that allow us to charge our clients in ZAR for their monthly Shopify subscription fee instead of USD, so the monthly cost ends up saving  merchants a bit of money at the end of the day.

4. How does uAfrica work with Shopify?

We’re a strategic partner of Shopify and help spread the word around Africa about the benefits of having a Shopify store. Besides other marketing initiates we also run monthly workshop sessions, called MeetUps, to help merchants set up and manage their stores.

5. How does uAfrica work with Bidorbuy?

Andy, our MD, founded bidorbuy back in 1999 and the relationship has remained a close one ever since. We have built an integration into bidorbuy.co.za that makes it easy for merchants to sell across multiple channels.

6. I see you have a Multichannel app. What does it do?

uAfrica’s Multichannel service allows an online merchant to sell on multiple channels while only needing to manage inventory and orders on one ‘source’. For example, when a merchant places an order on their bidorbuy  channel, the inventory is updated on the Shopify source store, so you never > sell anything you don’t have. At the moment we integrate into Shopify and  bidorbuy but we are looking to broaden the offering as Multichannel grows.
The app also offers uAfrica Shipping which allows merchants to obtain > quotes from multiple couriers and then generate waybills, handle courier collection requests and track shipments with status notification updates to buyers.

7. As someone providing online stores, what reflections do you have of > the online commerce in South Africa?

South Africa is still behind the rest of the developed world with regards to adoption of eCommerce, however the sector is growing at around 30% per annum, albeit off a relatively low base. This compares to flat or low single digit growth of traditional retail so it is an exciting sector to be involved in.
With the advancements in technology such as hand held devices and better internet provision, the infrastructure available to shop online with ease is now available to South Africans and online businesses are starting to make the move online to reap the benefits.

8. What advice would you offer to a business owner wanting to start an online store?

The best advice we can offer is to just jump in! The best way to learn about how a platform ticks is to give it a try. Shopify offers a free 14 day trial where you really get to test the platform out and what it can offer. There are no limitations on the free trial either, so you can > really get into the gritty details and additional functionality that is available. A lot of new online merchants are nervous to launch because the site isn’t ‘perfect’, but if they’re not live, nobody is looking at their product offering and they’re wasting time and money. Think progress, not perfection.
uAfrica is running a New Business Competition for the duration of 2016 to help merchants get set up selling online. View the competition details and enter now!
Note: ZApreneur Media does NOT earn a referral commission from this article.

Payments Dragon Den

Are you working on the next big thing set to change the payments’ industry? Is your product or programme going to be a game changer for how people move, manage and spend their money?
This is the opportunity to showcase your work to a qualified audience of senior buyers. Join us to launch your product to European programme managers, retailers, transport operators, local government authorities, banks, MNOs, corporates and gambling operators.
We have been running the Payments Dragons Den at our London PayExpo show for three consecutive years. Previous winners have been fast-tracked into the FinTech programme, meet and closed new clients and expanded into new markets!

About the Dragons’ Den

The Payments’ Dragons’ Den will be your chance to present your product or programme and withstand the questioning of our judges and the audience.
This is an exciting, energetic format for showcasing your product to an audience of industry thought leaders. Not only will you be able to hear questions and feedback from the industry but you are also in an arena which enables you to directly answer these.
A fantastic opportunity to ‘test the water’ with your product and stir up some early buyer interest.
Closing date for applications is the Friday 10 April 2015
 

iKhokha – Payment processing in South Africa

Payment processing in South Africa is a huge issue for many readers of Zapreneur. As readers of Zapreneur will know, I hardly ever provide space for financial products because I believe that our financial institutions are one of the biggest constraints on small business development. Beyond offering critique, Zapreneur will profile alternatives that offer “something” that begins to put the power back in the hands of entrepreneurs.
Today we chat to founders of iKhokha, Ramsay Daly and Matt Putman. A product like iKhokha offers an alternative to the big banks, and offers a way to process both debit and credit cards. This is huge as it allows businesses not wanting to run on credit cards to process debit cards, at reasonable payment processing rates. In sum, iKhokha offers a competitive pricing structure and allows small businesses to begin using new and innovative ways of charging customers. We asked the founders a couple of questions about the product and what it offers.
 
iKhokha looks like an excellent product. Our readers might not know about what iKhokha does. Please give us your elevator pitch? 
iKhokha enables any business formal or informal to be able to process card payments through their smartphone, by inserting our Edge adapter into your phone and downloading the iKhokha app, SME’s can turn their phone into a Smart Speedpoint device. Businesses follow the straight forward online sign up process at www.ikhokha.com, and once approved entrepreneurs and businesses alike will be able to benefit from the additional services embedded in our mobile app. We cater for both Android and Apple devices. The Edge device also has the highest level of international accreditation.
 
(Editor’s Note: The video of Piet the Plumber is worth watching as it provides a cool story of iKhokha in action). 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCXc-QGBYuk
How does this benefit businesses in South Africa?
It allows them to take a secure card payment anywhere, anytime driving additional sales and removing the risk that comes with carrying cash. It also gives them a real time view of all their sales, card and cash.
 
How is it different from products being offered by large banks? 
Pricing is considerably more competitive that the large bank led offerings, i.e 2.75% commission with no monthly fees.  We charge the same rates irrespective of who the merchant banks with and have a dedicated support team focusing on our merchant base. We are a bank agnostic brand that is looking to constantly innovate, bringing real value to our merchant base.
 
APP: 
The intuitive design of the app makes it easy to understand for the end-user and easier for a merchant to process a payment. The business analytics feature allows the business owner to track all their sales very easily, meaning that the SME is empowered with more information at their fingertips that they have ever had before. This is an area that we will continue to focus on in order to provide powerful data to each one of our merchants.
 
VAS
We have enabled all of our merchants to sell value added services through the app to any of their clientele for a rebate, the first phase of this strategy is Airtime sales which will be followed by other digital products. We are creating a product suite which will become attractive to the more informal sector as in essence they will be able to download an app and a suite of products which will earn them a living.
 
Do you have any plans of partnering with larger financial institutions? 
ABSA is the acquiring bank whose license we are leveraging, however we can sign up merchants from all banks irrespective of the provider.
 
What would the ideal business look like to benefit from iKhokha?

  1. Any business that currently has a Speedpoint machine, but is paying costly monthly fees or high transaction commission
  2. Mobile businesses that want to be able to accept payment on-the go i.e. tradesmen, graphic designers, website designers, personal trainers, independent consultants, door to door salesmen, musicians, performers, private metered taxis, informal taxis and take-away deliveries
  3. Businesses that want to move away from cash transactions for safety & convenience i.e. as boutique retail outlets, jewellers, medical practices, physiotherapists, chiropractors, optometrists, beauty salons, independent DVD rental outlets, bakeries, deli’s, take away food outlets, hairdressing salons, bars, bookmakers, independent bottle stores, butcheries, pet shops, dry cleaners, and dog grooming parlours

Let’s talk money. What does it cost to get started with iKhokha? How is payment processing charged?
R989.00 once off fee for the Edge card reader (including delivery) OR monthly rental option of R69 a month (plus R160 delivery fee)
2.75% per transaction
 
Is it possible to customise where the headphone connector on the Android iKhokha sits to accommodate some Android phones which have jacks on the bottom left, bottom right and on top?
The Android unit will still technically work with the different orientation on some Smart devices, best to refer to our safe list of tested devices provided on the website. We are also bringing in a cable to assist with Android Smartphone devices with different orientation of the Audio Jack.
 
If possible, could you provide us with a couple of companies that are using iKhokha?
There is quite a spread of companies to name a few, Victor Design, My Renaissance, Courtney Shaw Skin Care and Body Therapy.