Paynow is a Zimbabwean online payments platform. It allows sellers to accept payment for their goods and services in any one of several methods which include card and mobile payments. Over the past few years, it has become the platform of choice for people who want to automatically accept local online payments through their websites. Fortunately, Paynow is not limited to those with websites; anyone who wants to take advantage of the several modes of payment offered by the platform can sign up. This means that there is no need to go through the conventional and often laborious process of applying to sign up with each one of them (five) payment channels offered by the platform before you can receive payments. Let me take you through the steps of signing up on the platform.

What you need

To get started you need, at the very least, a working email address and one or more Zimbabwean bank accounts. This is enough if you are satisfied with receiving local payments only but if you also want to receive payments through Visa and Mastercard, your business needs to be registered—to prove that it is, you must provide more company details which include the national ID number of the CEO or owner when you are signing up.

Sign up

To register visit the Paynow sign up page. Choose merchant as your account type. Fill in your required personal information followed by information about your company or business. In the company details section, you can fill in as much or as little information as you can about the business but remember that only fully registered companies which provide all the required information can accept Visa or Mastercard payments via the platform.

Choose payment methods

Pay now allows you to choose any one or more of the following payment methods:

  • ZimSwitch Vpayments
  • EcoCash
  • OneMoney
  • telecast
  • Visa
  • MasterCard

As previously mentioned, only registered companies which have provided sufficient information about themselves can accept the last two. Before you dismiss these because of the extra steps required, remember that not every local bank has (Zimswitch) Vpayments enabled, so Visa/Mastercard may be the only way to receive payment from those of your customers which use such banks.

So after choosing which payment methods to accept, Paynow allows you to attach a bank account to each one of these—even completely different ones. For instance, you can receive all Ecocash payments into one bank account, Telecash ones into another and so on. You do not need to complete any paperwork with your bank, you just provide the details of your current accounts and you are ready to go.

Settlements

Paynow will settle all the payments you receive into the provided bank account(s) minus any fees. All local payments (those which are not Visa/Mastercard) will be settled one day after payment or after they have cleared through Buysafe, the platform’s buyer protection service.

Fees

The platform charges fees on all of the transactions it handles. Note that these fees are separate from the payment method’s charges e.g. 2% is charged on all Ecocash transactions but this fee does not include any of Ecocash’s charges. As the seller, you can absorb these fees, add them on top of the required payment amount or split them with the customer.

The buyer protection feature

Paynow operates a buyer protection/reassurance service called Buysafe. The service protects buyers by trying to ensure that payments are only settled to the seller once the former is satisfied with the goods delivered or services rendered.  As a seller, you can make a delivery declaration after which your buyer has 24 hours to raise a dispute. If you acknowledge the dispute raised you can return the funds; if not Paynow can act as a mediator in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Getting verified

If you provide additional evidence of your (or your company’s) identity you then become a verified merchant. Buyers are more likely to be confident in buying from sellers who have been verified on the platform.  Other benefits of being a Verified Merchant include the following:

  • Verified Merchants are permitted to display the “Paynow Verified Merchant” badge on their website and in their Paynow profile
  • They can request for the buyer protection facility (Buysafe) to be disabled on payments made to them so funds are automatically settled to their bank account without them having to confirm delivery.
  • They can receive Visa and MasterCard payments.
  • Verified Merchants receive settlements daily (Monday-Saturday).

How you request for payment

You can request for payment in any of several ways which include integrating Paynow with your website, sending the payment request via email (the email will contain a button which will direct the customer to Paynow when clicked) or your customers can just use your registered email address to search and pay you on the platform.

Why you may need this

As we continue to trudge on through the epidemic and the uncertainties surrounding it, many business owners operate fully knowing that they or their customers can be prevented from going to their places of business at any moment. Companies, therefore, find themselves having to find new ways of doing business. Tools which allow business to be conducted remotely have become very important and these include online payment platforms like Paynow. Such services can come in very handy both for those who are already conducting business remotely and their counterparts who are operating with the constant spectres of impromptu lockdowns looming over them.