South African payments startup i-Pay has announced a collaboration with Naspers-owned online payments service provider PayU, for the roll-out of an automated Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) solution that will enable South Africans to make instant and secure EFT payments when shopping online.

According to the partners, while South Africa has high levels of internet penetration, the low levels of credit card uptake have hindered the e-commerce sector, and necessitate innovation in the payment sphere.

As such, the new EFT solution allows online shoppers to make purchases via their internet banking, in the form of a real time EFT payment, without the need for a credit card.

“A major obstacle for e-commerce in South Africa has been the general belief that only credit card holders can shop online. One of the ways we aim to tackle this and push South Africa’s industry in the right direction is through EFT Pro, which allows non-card holders the ability to transact online as effortlessly and securely as cardholders do,” says Mustapha Zaouini, chief executive officer (CEO) for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region at PayU.

“PayU is excited to work with i-Pay in deploying this next-gen EFT solution, as it […] leads the industry in the right direction,” said PayU’s head of merchant processing Johan Dekker.

The PayU EFT Pro solution differs from existing EFT solutions in that transfers are instant, the partners explain. This allows merchants to receive real time instant payment notifications, meaning that goods and services can be released to customers immediately.

The solution also automatically matches payments to reference numbers, eliminating the risk usually associated with human error.

“i-Pay is honoured to be recognised as an innovative technological solution to fit in with PayU’s offering through EFT Pro. We look forward to a relationship whereby we will be providing a consistent leading user-friendly payment solution,” said i-Pay’s CEO Thomas Pays.