PayFast – A WooCommerce Payment Gateway

The WooCommerce PayFast payment gateway extension is a highly regarded online payment solution.

Get ready to dive into the world of Payment Gateways. More precisely, the payment gateways that are compatible with your WooCommerce store.

WooCommerce has quickly become the leading name in WordPress-based e-commerce. The unbelievable amount of available features the WooCommerce plugin offers has allowed business owners to easily expand into the online market.

Though having an online store is a great step in growing your business, there are a few requirements that turn growth into success. You can spend hours perfecting your branding, improving the design of your store pages and adding in all available products, but without a safe way for customers to pay, your store is unlikely to receive the recognition it deserves.

What makes it so great? For starters, PayFast offers some useful features that other payment gateways are lacking. Bundle these features with PayFast’s great customer service, simple interface and elaborate documentation, and you have a winner.

What Additional Features?

Recurring Billing

The recurring billing functionality provided by PayFast makes life easier for businesses that require recurring payments. As there are only three Payment Gateways that support this feature, this really gives PayFast a winning edge.

PayFast Supports the following “actions” for recurring billing.
– Pause
– Unpause
– Cancel
– Update (frequency, amount, payment cycles, next payment date)

When a recurring payment plan expires it can be re-activated. On the PayFast side, this just causes the payment plan to start again and charges from the first payment again.

Mobile Payments

Currently, PayFast does not have its own mobile app. Though there is the talk of one being developed, this won’t cause issues with users who usually do purchases on their mobile devices. Payments can still be made safely from any mobile browser, which means customers aren’t limited to paying on their computer.

Supported Plugin Functionality

PayFast took it one step further by integrating its WooCommerce payment gateway solution with some of WooCommerce’s most popular extensions.

Supported Extensions:

  1. WooCommerce Subscriptions
  2. WooCommerce Pre-orders

Subscriptions functionality

The PayFast WooCommerce Extension integrates with the Woocommerce subscriptions extension. This allows your customers to make additional use of PayFasts recurring billing functionality, as the subscriptions extension adds a range of features which allow you to create subscription-based products. These products can then be paid for on a recurring basis using PayFasts built in features.

Pre-order functionality

The WooCommerce PayFast Extension also integrates with the WooCommerce Pre-Orders Extension. This allows your customers to link payment for a product you have created and set on “Pre-Order”.

However, this is only compatible if there is an initial fee charged for the product. This can be done in two ways:

  1. Setting a pre-order fee when creating or editing the product.
  2. If you charge the full sales amount upfront when a customer pre-orders a product.

Fees

Monthly Fee

PayFast does not charge a setup or monthly fee. You are only charged transactional fees and you only start paying when you start earning. This saves you from paying out for the first few months if you’re starting a new business and don’t have a steady customer basis yet.

Transactional Fee

The table below indicates PayFast’s transactional fees:

The Payout Fee of R8.70 is a flat rate fee for any size payment, and is charged every time you request money to be sent from your PayFast account to your bank account.

Supported Currencies, Banks & Payment Methods

Banks

PayFast supports payments from:

  1. ABSA
  2. FNB
  3. Nedbank
  4. Standard Bank

Currencies

International payments are accepted from any country if done via credit card. The South African Rand (ZAR) is the only supported currency for other payment methods.

International Payment methods

You can receive payments from international countries in the following ways:

    1. Receive via Credit and Cheque cards.
    2. Can be received through Masterpass.
    3. Or the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Local Payment methods

Credit & cheque cards – PayFast has a  variety of fraud protection mechanisms in place to protect sellers against costly chargebacks.

Instant EFT –  Instant EFT enables buyers to make payments with traditional internet banking with SA’s four biggest banks; ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank.

Bitcoin – Sellers can now receive payment from buyers who hold Bitcoin. The seller receives payment in South African rand; the buyer simply transacts at the current rate of exchange

Mobicred – mobicred is an online account that gives buyers access to credit, which they can use on PayFast.

ATM debit cards (via PayD) – The system works with devices on the Vodacom and MTN network and with debit cards issued by Absa, Nedbank and Standard Bank.

Masterpass – Masterpass is a digital wallet by Mastercard  that makes online shopping safer and easy by storing payment information in one secure place.

Limits

When using PayFast, there is a per transaction limit for credit card payments in place on your account. This limit can be viewed on the Settings page of your account.

This limit can be increased after consulting with PayFast by sending an email to their support team – support@payfast.co.za

However, increasing your limit can be a tricky process, as PayFast may implement a “retained balance” on your account. This retained balance is a portion of funds which you will not be able to withdraw from your account until 90 days after you close the account. These funds are retained to cover any potential fraud which is committed on your account.

But don’t worry, this does not have to be directly paid in from your account but is rather taken from successful purchases from your store.

Testing

Sandbox Test Mode

PayFast is definitely number #1 when it comes to testing environments. It is the simplest process with their sandbox testing platform. Simply put the WooCommerce PayFast Extension in testing mode and enter in the fake credentials supplied by your PayFast sandbox.

Then go through the checkout process using the test account provided and complete a successful payment. This will then register in your sandbox with the amount of the transaction.

Usability

Some Payment Gateways can make life difficult with intricate settings, obscure testing platforms and generally average customer service. PayFast does it right.

Dont think this is the right payment gateway for you, or want to take a look at some other options?

Why not head over to our full summary of the top Woocommerce Payment Gateways available in South Africa.