By Gugu Lourie
Gumtree, online classified firm, has teamed-up with Africa’s largest bank by assets Standard Bank to provide a new secured online payment solution for its customers.
The eBay owned classifieds provider said on Wednesday that it has added Shepherd, a Standard Bank-powered escrow service, to make its a peer to peer (P2P) trading platform safe. The P2P trading platfom allows buyers and sellers to do a transaction online without meeting face-to-face.
The firm added that this is part of its continued plan to become the most trusted operator in the online P2P trade market.
Shepherd operates as a third party that facilitates transactions on behalf of sellers and buyers and is offered as an option to Gumtree customers.
“The process is fairly simple,” says Martin Reynolds of Shepherd.
“Either the buyer or seller can request dealing through Shepherd. After the seller initiates the transaction, the buyer makes a payment into a secure trust account. Shepherd secures the funds until the buyer receives the item and accepts it and facilitates the delivery through Ram couriers. The buyer simply signs the courier waybill to accept the delivery if she is satisfied with the item. Shepherd then releases the funds to the buyer. If the buyer isn’t satisfied, the item is returned to the seller and the buyer’s payment refunded.”
Reynolds added that this not only eliminates a lot of the risks involved but also opens up the large Gauteng market to buyers and sellers elsewhere in the country. “There is no need to only deal locally anymore.”
“Classifieds are immensely popular, but there are risks associated with trading online, such as meeting someone in person that you don’t know, handling cash or the risk of non-payment after delivery,” says Johan Nel, Country Manager of Gumtree SA.
“It’s our belief that, while millions of South Africans are already prolific traders online, there are as many who want to participate but are wary to do so. We want to remove those barriers and offer safe alternatives to the conventional face-to-face interaction.”