Direct Pay Online provides a range of solutions giving merchants and customers the freedom to pay and be paid from anywhere and anytime
When Eran Fienstien first came to Kenya in 2006, he did not know his visit would give birth to one of the largest online payment companies in the Sub-Saharan region. “I was flying to Maasai Mara when the airline I was using pointed out that their customers from Italy, the United States, England and other parts of the world felt uncomfortable to book their packages using bank transfers,” says Fienstien, the Group chief executive officer at Direct Pay Online. They wanted to pay online using a card. That is why, in December 2006, he launched an online payment system for small airlines in Kenya and Tanzania. After three years of successful operation, the company decided to venture into other sectors including hotels and travel agents before moving to other countries.
Direct Pay Online provides end-to- end payment solutions to merchants and their customers in different sectors. The company has had a clear vision for the twelve years it has been in operation. “We believe in the freedom to pay and be paid from anywhere and anytime,” observes the Group CEO, adding that “We fill the gap between the merchant and their end customers”.
The company has grown rapidly over the years and today, it is the leading online payments processing solution in Africa, providing more solutions to the African market than ever before. It offers payment solutions to over 25,000 online merchants including over 50 airlines, hotels, restaurants, travel agents, tour operators, schools, insurance and other players in the e-commerce sector.
It also offer solutions for mobile money and conduct risk management on behalf of their customers to guarantee a safe and secure payments platform.
Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, Direct Pay Online Group operates in 11 other countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mauritius.
“We have differentiated ourselves from other online payment providers by offering a range of solutions that are completely different,” says Fienstien.
Direct Pay Online also gives merchants a mobile app.
Furthermore, the company provides a real time, cloud based processing platform, with state of the art technology that supports multiple transaction types with online and offline capabilities. According to Fienstien, the technology supports all modes of payment including mobile money, cards, mobile money and all currencies.
The company also understands the significance of customer care. The customer care team provides a single point of contact to the merchants and their end customers.
High Level Certification
Security is a prerequisite when it comes to providing online payment solutions. In regards to this, Direct Pay Online has implemented a fraud prevention strategy combined with real time monitoring features to guarantee a safe and secure payments platform. It is backed by the highest security level of the credit card industry – Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) level 1.
“We have implemented PCI DSS level 1 certification for operations in 12 African countries.” The certification is administered by the PCI DSS council, which was founded by Visa Inc, MasterCard Worldwide, Discover Financial Services and American Express.
“As Direct Pay Online, our goal is to keep up with the highest level of security, privacy and standards in any market we go into. The compliance certificate demonstrates that our systems are at par with international security standards,” notes Fienstien.
PCI DSS applies to organizations that store, process or transmit cardholder or sensitive authentication data.
Additionally, the company employs professionals who scan, monitor and check any transaction in the system to guarantee customer security. They can cancel or reverse transactions. Currently, it has a pool of 110 qualified staff across its branches.
Direct Pay Online has also developed well defined and clear processes for dispute resolution.
Since establishment twelve years ago, Direct Pay Online Group has grown in terms of branch network, staff and bringing more payments solutions in the market. Today, the company serves more merchants and customers than ever before.
The Group is growing both organically (by opening branches in different countries) and inorganically (through acquisitions). “So far, we have acquired five companies, three of them in South Africa and the rest in Botswana and Namibia.” One such company is Paygate SA, which was acquired in 2016. Fienstien points out that acquiring other big players in the market is a strategy to expand more rapidly.
A year and half ago, the Group received a major investment from a private equity firm in London that is aiding in its expansion strategy. It intends to have presence in 26 countries in the Sub-Saharan region by the end of 2018.
“We will continue investing in countries that are stable and have a lending potential as we endeavor to remain ahead of the market by providing cutting-edge technology.”
The company’s growth strategy is based on the fact that online payments are the most efficient and are increasingly being accepted by many. Today, tens of millions of people the world over walk without money in their pockets. We must therefore adapt to change that is happening very rapidly.