INTERVIEW: Digital Payment Platform Offers Free Payment Processing for NGOs

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The estimated 120,000 NGOs currently operating in South Africa play a vital role in and around our society. They provide services to millions of people in terms of health, education and poverty alleviation. On 27 February was World NGO day, but for many, it wasn’t much of a celebration – these companies are locked in a conflict of financial survival where thousands of NGOs are closing or scaling back their activities year by year.

Many of the same financial challenges face SA’s NGO, but it doesn’t have to be like this. Enter Thomas Pays, CEO of South African digital payments platform, Ozow. Pays believes that through digital transformation, NGOs can begin easing their financial woes.

Through digital payments, the collecting of revenue by NGOs becomes transformed by reducing transaction fees, improving cash flow and increasing access to larger populations of potential donors.

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Pays’ company Ozow processes NGO payments for free.

IT News Africa’s Luis Monzon took an opportunity to speak to the CEO, who with his incredibly fortunate name, is serious about economic transformation and helping NGOs.

Here’s how the interview transpired between ITNA and Pays:

Digitization of payments would allow NGOs to gain funding and donors more quickly and conveniently – how come South African NGOs have yet to begin using digital payment platforms en mass?

This could be due to a lack of awareness and understanding around digital payments in general. For this reason, Ozow has a significant focus on educating South African consumers and businesses about the convenience and effectiveness of digital payment platforms like Ozow.

The Ozow platform acts as a proxy between the buyer and their bank, without any registration needed on the platform itself, how will you keep track of payments? Is there recorded data of who pays what and where?

Ozow stores anonymised data on the transaction, meaning we cannot link it to a specific person. The only data we can ‘’tie back to’’ is the merchant, the bank used, the amount paid and an automatically generated transaction ID. We do store account numbers, however, these are encrypted under the PCI DSS standard and the data is then retained for a period of 5 years and then destroyed.

On the first page of Ozow’s website, it is stated that users will enjoy zero fees for sending EFTs with your platform, what does Ozow get out of this transaction?

Ozow grants all SMEs Zero Fees within their first year of using our platform, provided they process under R1 million a month. After their first year of using Ozow, they have the option to either cancel with us or continue to process payments through our platform at our standard rate. As for NGOs and NPOs, they are granted Zero Fees indefinitely, with no transaction value restrictions or time limits.

What advantages do NGOs gain when using Ozow in comparison with other international proxy payment services like PayPal?

Ozow offers 0% processing fees for NGOs which enables them to receive payments of any amount for free.

Edited by Luis Monzon

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