Paystack, a fintech company that powers growth and payments for businesses in Africa, today announced its official launch in South Africa after a six-month pilot. The launch marks Paystack’s expansion into its third market, following Nigeria (where it claims it powers over 50% of all online payments), and Ghana.

This announcement is coming seven months after it was acquired by fintech giant Stripe for $200 million. In 2018, when it raised $8 million Series A it planned to use it for its Ghana expansion. 

The company boasts of having over 60,000 organisations on the continent using its software to collect online payments securely from anyone, anywhere in the world.

Following the launch, Paystack will leverage South Africa’s internet connectivity, one of the highest on the continent, to significantly drive up the adoption of digital transactions. Today, despite the country’s impressive connectivity and high smartphone penetration, digital payments account for less than half of all transactions.

“South Africa is one of the continent’s most important markets, and our launch here is a significant milestone in our mission to accelerate commerce across Africa,” says Paystack CEO, Shola Akinlade. “We’re excited to continue building the financial infrastructure that empowers ambitious businesses in Africa, helps them scale, and connects them to global markets.”

The 6 month pilot

During the 6 month pilot in South Africa, Paystack worked closely with several businesses of all types – tech startups, corporate organisations, ecommerce businesses, freelance developers, and entrepreneurs of all sizes – and also grew a local team to handle on-the-ground operations.

Cape Town-based full-service digital agency Semantica Digital was one of those pilot businesses. CMO Dirk Tolken had this to say: “With the fast-paced and ever-changing digital landscape in e-commerce development, we need service from our partners that we can rely on to maintain the good relationships we have with our clients. Paystack gives us that kind of service.”

To celebrate the launch, Paystack will host a series of live Q&As (one for business owners with Paystack CEO Shola Akinlade, and a technical chat for software developers) to answer questions about how Paystack can power growth for ambitious businesses.

“For many businesses in South Africa, we know that accepting payments online can be cumbersome,” says Khadijah Abu, Head of Product Expansion at Paystack. “Our pilot in South Africa was hyper-focused on removing barriers to entry, eliminating tedious paperwork, providing world-class API documentation to developers, and making it a lot simpler for businesses to accept payments online.”

Taking it slow and steady

Paystack is often compared to Flutterwave, the other major Nigerian Fintech player. Although their services are similar, their expansion strategy is different. While Flutterwave is in 20 African countries, Paystack which is in only 3 African countries appears to be taking it slow and steady.

Daniel Adeyemi Author

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