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Press Release: ZimSwitch Vpayments – eCommerce in Zimbabwe

zimswitch-readyZimSwitch is pleased to announce that the long awaited Vpayments platform is now in a controlled live environment, following pilot approval from the RBZ for this controlled stage of the launch.

Vpayments is an eCommerce Payments Gateway that enables all 19 ZimSwitch member Financial Institutions to offer their banked customers the convenience of secure Internet based payments, and their merchants the ability to sell goods and services “online”. (Live) (Sand Box)

VpaymentsVpayments is a Zimbabwe specific eCommerce platform, modelled on the international payment service  provider “PayPal”. The platform was developed entirely by the ZimSwitch Shared Services team in Zimbabwe, in conjunction with the ZimSwitch member banks,  and has undergone a comprehensive review from Deloittes and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, ensuring the highest possible levels of security and convenience. We believe that the Vpayments platform furthers the ZimSwitch Shared Services mission to create an open and transparent financial ecosystem. The initial pilot will be run in a controlled environment with limited numbers of member banks and merchant sites.

The following banks are participating in the pilot:

CABS, CBZ, FBC, POSB and Trust Bank are participating in the pilot, with all other banks expected on-board shortly.

Pilot merchants so far include the likes of uMax, Classified, Zimazon and others. We expect the pilot to complete towards the end of Q1 2013.

Your bank will be able to tell you what their current status is.

Vpayments includes two types of payments:

1)      Standard payment – the customer bank account is debited and the merchant account credited in real time. Customers can “dispute” the transaction after the fact.

BuySafe payment – The customer bank account is debited in real time, but instead of the funds transferring directly into the merchant bank account, they are transferred into a “holding” account at the acquiring financial institution. (similar to an Escrow account) The customer then has 24 hours to “dispute” the transaction from their Customer Vpayments console. BuySafe is designed for websites where goods or services are not delivered immediately, for example super markets or online retailers who deliver to the customer’s door.


How do banked individuals sign up?

You only need to sign up once for Vpayments to shop at any Vpayments certified merchant site. If your financial institution has completed their Vpayments “issuance” integration, you (the customer) will need to log onto the Vpayments site and create a secure profile linked to your bank card. To activate a card, the Vpayments system will debit a random amount ($0.01 to $1.00) against your card, which you must in turn verify through your Vpayment’s Console. Multiple bank cards can be linked to a single Vpayments profile. You will not be able to “activate” a bank card against Vpayments until your bank has completed their integration. As a customer you will have the optional security feature of OTPs (One Time Passwords) – a unique 4 digit passcode sent to your phone required for each new transaction.

How do merchants connect their shopping cart websites to Vpayments:

Merchants who want to connect will need a merchant service agreement with their acquiring bank. The bank will then give the merchant a secret key that will enable the merchant to link their site to the Vpayments platform through their Merchant Vpayments Console.

The API for integration is available from the site at no charge, and can be used by web development companies and merchants who possess the necessary in-house skill sets to develop their own Vpayments module. In addition, we have the following functionality in place or coming soon to further assist integrating merchants:

1)      A test sandbox

2)      A payment simulation functionality – will be available in the coming weeks on the live site enabling registered merchants to test their integration by simulating success and fail results from the live Vpayments platform

3)      Vpayments payment modules will be made available on the Vpayments website for the most common eCommerce shopping cart systems (For example OpenCart). These will be evaluation versions, with a license fee of approximately $90 (one time charge) required after a 90 day evaluation period.

A full sand box platform with communal logins and credentials will be made available once we complete the initial pilot, enabling merchants to integrate before they receive their formal merchant service agreements from their acquiring banks.

From a banks perspective there are two types of integrations: Issuing and Acquiring:

Issuing Vpayments certification enables the bank’s customers to use their bank cards to register for Vpayments and make secure payments at any Vpayments certified online stores.

Acquiring Vpayments certification enables banks to sign up merchants to the platform. For standard Vpayments and BuySafe merchants, a single bank will control each individual merchant’s acquiring.

How much does it cost?

The final charges to the customers and the merchants will be at the discretion of each issuing and acquiring financial institution. The Vpayments platform charges the acquiring financial institution as follows:

$0.25 per transaction with a minimum of $50 per month per merchant. (i.e. 200 transactions included in the minimum monthly fee)

Each Acquiring bank will agree separate MSC (Merchant Service Commission) rates with their merchants. These MSCs are charged by the acquiring bank to the merchant.

We are very excited about the overwhelming interest we have received from potential Vpayments merchants, and ask that they contact their bank directly. Merchants should be able to get all the technical information they require form the Vpayments website:

An IPSP (Internet Payment Service Provider) functionality is also available – the Vpayments Super-Merchant service. This will enable Super-Merchants to sign up Sub-Merchants under a single bank – merchant agreement. Further information on this functionality will be released in the coming weeks.

More specific details will be released as required through the TechZim website regarding customer and merchant security and risk mitigation, test environments, platform scalability and pilot results.

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12 thoughts on “Press Release: ZimSwitch Vpayments – eCommerce in Zimbabwe

  1. Good wayforward. Hopefully the banked will start seeing convenience through online purchases. Also maybe I missed that part, how much are the services charges to merchants or buyers who will use the platform?

    1. You definitely missed it, they say “The final charges to the customers and the merchants will be at the discretion of each issuing and acquiring financial institution. …”

      …Not how much

  2. So, in essence, these VPayments are charging a SIGN-UP FEE for each bank customer who signs up. This, of course, is “a random number up to $1.00”.

    “To activate a card, the Vpayments system will debit a random amount ($0.01 to $1.00) against your card, which you must in turn verify through your Vpayment’s Console.”

    I personally was charged $0.65 when I registered for this service. Is that a once-off service charge, or is it refundable? They make it sound like some security verification thing, instead it’s a DIRECT charge.

    So, is this 65 cents being credited to my account as easily as it was debited? Now, if only 1,000 fellow CABS customers register, and get charged the same as I was, that’s a coo $650.00 free going to these guys.

    Is it standard industry practice to have, essentially, a JOINING FEE for a payment gateway? Because for me, with PayPal, there was no charge. Dunno.

    Just asking.

    1. Paypal deducts a random, small amount only for verification. They make a small deduction to your account, which you then use to confirm ownership of the account. Under the belief that only an owner can access transaction records of his/her account.

      1. Like I said, didn’t happen to me. Either way, if it does, then as you said, they reimburse it.

        So what about VPayments?

  3. For the cost of buck I dont care. I’m getting a service that I want. And its good that the Vpayments guys make money because they introduced the service and the more money they make the more I can be sure that it continues. This has been a long time coming and well done. Vpayments youve got my buck.

  4. Alright!!!!!. LOL The only cause for worry now is “Why haven’t we read of new startups on TZ in the last 2 or 3 months if not beyond?”. Either Limbikani is confusing Save To Drafts for publish, or our techpreneurs have migrated, or …they were all waiting for this.

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