Online transactions are becoming increasingly popular by the day. Many South Africans however, are still wary of transacting online as shown through various studies.Thanks to a new escrow service launched locally, consumers are now assured of a safer way to transact online.
Known as “Shepherd,” the service is supported by Standard Bank and strives to make transacting easier for South Africans by eliminating the need for face-to-face meetings.
Shepherd has partnered with RAM couriers to facilitate a smooth process. “This eliminates personal contact and makes the whole process much safer,” said Martin Reynolds, Shepherd’s Managing Director.
What does “escrow” mean?
To “escrow” means: “to keep in trust.” So a trusted third party contractor such as Shepherd agrees to facilitate a transaction between a buyer and seller by keeping money in a secure account while the parties deliver on their contract. Shepherd essentially allows buyers and sellers to limit their exposure to the financial risk inherent in everyday transactions.
How does it work?
The customer starts off by registering on www.paywithshepherd.com and requests to deal through Shepherd.
The buyer pays into a secure Standard Bank Trust account held by Shepherd.
Shepherd holds the funds in trust until the buyer accepts the product.
The goods are then couriered, so there is no need for anyone to be exposed to a vulnerable situation.
Users of the service can expect to pay R30 per transaction and it’s facilitated through Gumtree – a popular trading platform in South Africa. The eBay-owned classifieds company has jumped on quickly.
“The service is perfect for our business model and customers, who want to add an extra layer of security and/or convenience to the classifieds experience. We jumped on board straight away,” said Johan Nel, Country manager of Gumtree South Africa.
Payments between accounts held at the same bank are usually instant. Users benefit by being able to avoid common scams associated with these transactions, including the danger of physical attacks and fake bank deposits.