Tracking the progress Pay4App have made on the path of solving the payments problem, the entrepreneurial consistency working on the problem in such a constraining environment is pleasing.
We first wrote of the efforts around November last year when then University of Zimbabwe Sam Takunda wrote the concept for online payments using the EcoCash mobile money transfer platform. Eventually, he joined a startup Pay4App to help people buy mobile airtime and broadband credit online using the app.
Just a few weeks ago, the startup launched an easy to implement (according to them at least) API to allow other startups locally to start accepting online payments using EcoCash. “Our API now allows for someone selling say an eBook on their blog to sell that eBook without having to enter into any costs or technical procedures,” said Sam Takunda in the announcement of the API. “They simply use a Button Generator Tool on our website then they put the link on their website or over email.” The website in question is pay4app.com/merchants.
There is, however, a version that allows a whole eCommerce website integration for advanced users. According to Takunda, it requires some website development experience and is for partners that have automated order fulfillment systems in place already. The orders are made on such partner websites and the payment is settled on the Pay4App website ( with a Pay4App merchant line)
In terms of the payment process itself, it’s pretty much the hybrid; a user transfers the value using their mobile phone then Pay4App picks up the payment automatically enabling the transaction to proceed. Which means there’s basically still no official seamless integration with the EcoCash platform. This may, of course, be their weakness if competition works out a more seamless integration and one that offers merchants more bells and whistles like transaction dashboards and such. Update: Takunda informed us that they already have a dashboard to allow merchants to easily see a summary of their account.
The focus of the new API, Takunda explained, was for them to achieve simplicity and portability of solution because the earlier one they had been using internally and with a few partners proved too complex for most needs. Takunda said though that for partners looking to run the whole EcoCash payments process on their own – that is with their own merchant lines – Pay4App is still available to implement it for them.