Frequently Asked Questions

Who is TradeSafe?
TradeSafe is a digital escrow service and South Africa's trusted third party in a trade between yourself and another party. We provide a platform to enable you to buy or sell goods and services, safely and securely. We safeguard the funds in the middle until the transaction terms have been fulfilled. Only when both parties are satisfied that the terms of the transaction have been met do we release the funds to the selling party/s.
Who should use TradeSafe?
Anybody who is uncertain of the other party or feel unsafe or insecure when transacting. Buyers (including customers, clients, or investors) should use TradeSafe whenever they are asked to pay a deposit or full payment upfront before receiving the goods or services from the other party. Sellers (including suppliers, service providers and investee companies) should use TradeSafe to be certain that the buyer has the funds for the transaction to begin with. Sellers are also guaranteed that they will be paid in full and on time (no more 60 days in arrears…thank you very much).
What is "Escrow"?

Escrow is a legal arrangement in which cash is deposited for safekeeping with a neutral third party pending the completion of contractual obligations. Once the obligations have been met, the escrow agent (TradeSafe) will transfer the assets or cash to the other party as prescribed in the contract.

How is my money safe with TradeSafe?

The funds in escrow are our most important priority. If we mess up, we are out of business. That is why TradeSafe employs three pillars to ensure the safety, security, and validity of the escrow account.

The escrow funds are held in the name of TradeSafe, in a secure Standard Bank account. Standard Bank has management oversight of the escrow account and are involved in the approval process for payment instructions as initiated by TradeSafe.

The escrow funds are insured by iTOO, a division of Hollard. TradeSafe holds Crime & Civil Liability cover, including fidelity and professional indemnity insurance as underwritten by iTOO.

Auditing firm EY performs agreed-upon procedures, in terms of International Standards on Related Services, to ensure the validity and accuracy of the Transactions and Balances of TradeSafe’s escrow account.

TradeSafe is an authorised Third-Party Payment Provider with the Payment Association of South Africa (PASA) in terms of SARB Directive 1 of 2007.

Can only Standard Bank banking customers use TradeSafe?
No, TradeSafe is available to anyone who has a bank account with any one of the banks registered in South Africa.
How does TradeSafe remain impartial?
TradeSafe is independent and has no interest in either party involved in the transaction.
Is there a minimum or maximum amount that TradeSafe will accept?
There is no maximum amount when using TradeSafe. The minimum transaction value that TradeSafe will accept is R50.
What happens if I forget my password?

Who doesn't 🙂 Click on this link and follow the instructions on how to reset your password.

What if my transaction requires milestone payments?
You can easily set up a milestone payments transaction on TradeSafe. (Milestone transactions are where partial amounts of the transaction value are released to the seller on the completion of certain milestones.) Each progress payment will have its own release event which allows users to structure any possible transaction options i.e. building a house can be structured into five separate milestones (foundation, electrical, walls, roofing, plumbing etc.). Once the buyer accepts the work done on the foundations, TradeSafe will release the funds allocated to that milestone. As another example, a fuel transaction can be structured into several separate loads. TradeSafe's system allows a user to structure a fuel transaction into as many as 50 loads. Once a load has been completed, TradeSafe releases the funds, for that load, to the seller.
Can I use TradeSafe as an agent or broker? What about confidentiality?
Absolutely, an agent or broker can initiate transactions on TradeSafe. The agent's commission or profit is paid once all contractual obligations have been fulfilled and accepted by the buying party. TradeSafe has an embedded confidentiality feature that protects the agent from being circumvented. When selected, the buyer, seller’s and other parties’ identities will not be disclosed to each other. In addition, the agent’s commission or profit will not be disclosed to the other parties.
What about other parties that require payment?
If there are any other parties that are involved in the transaction that requires payment i.e. sub-agents, lawyers, consultants etc. then they too can also be added to the transaction.
Does TradeSafe keep the interest?

If the transaction amount is super large, TradeSafe will negotiate an interest component that will suit your needs. Please reach out to us on info@tradesafe.co.za

For other transactions, the fees for the service provided by TradeSafe have assumed the collection of interest to offset what would otherwise be higher administration costs. For this reason, we can offer a cost-effective service that provides peace of mind.

Can TradeSafe be used for cross border transactions?
Not currently, but we are working on it. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is extremely strict when it comes to international third-party payments. We will let you know when we are authorised to perform this function.
Does TradeSafe accept cash or cheque deposits?
That is a big no. Cheques are antiquated, and if a cheque if deposited, it always bounces. We do not accept cheques. TradeSafe also does not accept cash deposits. Any attempt to deposit cash at a bank branch or ATM will be denied due to banking protocols TradeSafe has already in place.
When does TradeSafe take its fee?
We accrue our fee in full when the funds are received and cleared in escrow. This happens irrespective whether the transaction was successful or not. It may seem unfair to the buyer, but we will have incurred costs and we must defray these costs. Look at it this way...the buyer has not lost all his money!
Who is responsible for South African taxes?
All VAT and other associated taxes are the responsibility of the parties.
Who can register for TradeSafe?
Any individual or business that has a bank account registered in South Africa.
What does it cost to register with TradeSafe?
Registration is free. We only charge a fee on a per transaction basis.
Do I need to be verified?
Yes. TradeSafe is an authorised third-party payment provider, and we must perform a few verification steps to determine that you are who you say you are. On the bright side, registration and verification is quick and easy. And when all parties are verified, it only makes more for a safer transacting environment.
What do I need to provide TradeSafe to register as an individual?
We require a valid South African ID number (or foreign passport number), a South African bank account number, an active email address, and an active mobile number to verify your profile.

To ascribe to provisions of the South African Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), we are required to verify the source of funds as well as manage any potential risk of money laundering. As a measure, TradeSafe performs Account Verification Services (AVS) to ensure that the party is the bank account holder. We do this by agreeing the bank account number with their ID/passport number with their bank.

How quick is verification for an individual account?
Immediate. If all your information is provided accurately, we will digitally verify all your information instantaneously.
What do I need to provide TradeSafe to register as a business?

All users registering a company account will be required to:

  • Provide their company registration number and business bank account number. TradeSafe performs Account Verification Services (AVS) with the parties’ bank to ensure that the company is the bank account holder.
  • Upload a copy of their COR 14.3, Cor 15.1, or disclosure certificate (as issued by the CIPC); and
  • Upload either a letter of authorisation or a written resolution, on a corporate letterhead, stating that they are authorised to transact on the organisation’s behalf on TradeSafe. Such documents must be signed by those who have the authority and the requisite delegation of authority to do so.
How quick is verification for a business account?
Two to three hours.
Can I register an account if I transact in fuel or precious metals?
Yes, if you are transacting in fuel, diesel, or lubricants, then we will require a copy of your organisation’s fuel wholesale license (as issued by the Department of Energy).

If you are transacting in precious metals (platinum, silver, and gold etc.) then we will require a SADPMR certificate or similar.

How do I deposit the funds with TradeSafe and how long does it take for you to verify?

Our exclusive banking partner is Standard Bank. We also employ Standard Bank’s host-to-host technology, so payments are cleared almost immediately once the funds are received into the escrow account. If you bank with someone outside of Standard Bank, then the transaction may take up to two days to clear (you would need to enact a real-time clearance payment for the funds to reflect almost instantly). We have also adopted Ozow as an instant EFT gateway to take out the hassle of inter-bank transfers.

Ozow is an automated EFT payments processor that allows for electronic funds to be transferred inter-bank directly into a seller's bank account, in real-time. An additional fee will apply if Ozow is used as the payment gateway. Can I use my escrow account for future-dated transactions? Absolutely. You can top up your escrow account via EFT. You will be able to allocate these funds to any future-dated transaction. You can also top up your account until the desired purchase price has been reached. This is usually typical with lay-by transactions (a lay-by transaction is defined as a transaction whereby the customer can pay off their purchase price over a period without interest being charged).

What do I need to register with TradeSafe?

Personal Accounts:
We require a valid South African ID number (or foreign passport number), a South African bank account number, an email address, and an active mobile number to verify your profile.
To ascribe to provisions of the South African Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), we are required to verify the source of funds as well as manage any potential risk of money laundering. As a measure, TradeSafe performs Account Verification Services (AVS) to ensure that the party is the bank account holder. We do this by agreeing the bank account number with their ID/passport number with their bank.

Business Accounts:
We require a valid South African company registration number (as issued by the CIPC) as well as a South African business bank account number. To ascribe to provisions of the South African Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), we are required to verify the source of funds as well as manage any potential risk of money laundering. As a measure, TradeSafe performs Account Verification Services (AVS) to ensure that the company is the bank account holder. We do this by agreeing the business bank account number with the company’s registration number with their bank.
All users registering a company account will be required to upload a copy of:

  • Their COR 14.3 or disclosure certificate (as issued by the CIPC); and
  • A written letter on a corporate letterhead, stating that they are authorised to act on the organisation’s behalf

Users transacting in fuel wholesale or precious metals, will be required to upload a copy of:

  • Their fuel wholesale license as issued by the Department of Energy (or alternatively, a valid JV agreement entered with a wholesale license holder, together with a copy of their wholesale license); or
  • A valid certificate as issued by the South African Diamonds and Precious Metals (SADPMR) regulator.
How long does it take for a TradeSafe trade to process and complete?

It depends on how fast the buyer and seller take to respond to each other, and how long they take to action the steps in the process which ends with the satisfactory delivery of the goods and transfer of funds. In short, it is up to you. If the parties are speedy, then a transaction can be completed in less than a day.

What can I do if my trade invitation and trade status update e-mails do not come to my inbox?

Check your spam email filter to ensure that emails from TradeSafe are not being blocked. Also check your junk mail folder and right click to authorise TradeSafe e-mails as "not Junk".

What is the Expected Completion Date ("ECD")?

Transactions cannot go on forever. Therefore, every trade has an Expected Completion Date (ECD). The ECD is date which we expect the transaction to be completed. It is the date where the buyer is compelled to either accept or reject the goods or services as received from the seller. TradeSafe implemented this fraud-preventative control after several buyers were taking far longer than necessary to inform all the parties that they were happy with the goods or services. The ECD is calculated as the date the Goods were Sent/Service was Initiated + the agreed days for delivery + the agreed days for inspection.

For example, if the seller indicated that they had started delivering the product on 01/01/2020, and it was agreed that delivery and inspection periods would be four and two days respectively, then the ECD would be calculated as 07/01/2020.

If there is inaction from the buyer from this date, despite numerous attempts from TradeSafe to establish a rationale from the buyer for the inaction, TradeSafe may deem this as an acceptance on the buyer's part which may authorise TradeSafe to release the funds to the seller.

What happens if the buyer does not notify TradeSafe via the platform that he/she has accepted the goods or services. How does the seller get their money?

Every trade has an Expected Completion Date ("ECD"). This ECD is calculated as the date the goods were sent/service was initiated + agreed days for delivery + agreed days for inspection. If the buyer does not indicate on the TradeSafe platform that he/she has either accepted or rejected the goods or services by the end of the ECD, then TradeSafe may deem this an acceptance on the buyer's part which may entitle TradeSafe to release the funds to the seller. TradeSafe also has a fiduciary duty to the seller and the company will do its best to contact the buyer via email and telephonically to ascertain the rationale for the inaction.

What happens if the goods are not what was expected from the seller? What are the buyer's options?

You can request an adjustment to the contract price or initiate a dispute as a last resort.
The buyer has the following options on TradeSafe once the seller has started delivery:

  1. The buyer can accept the goods or services. This informs TradeSafe of the transfer of ownership which authorises TradeSafe to release the funds to the selling party.
  2. The buyer can request an adjustment. For example, if there is an understandable difference in the goods or service being delivered (the goods/services do not represent a material misrepresentation of the contractual terms) i.e. a phone was delivered with the Bluetooth not working, or only 95 of the ordered 100 widgets were delivered, then the buyer may negotiate certain transactions terms with the seller. If the seller agrees, the buyer will be paid a partial refund with the remaining funds being disbursed to the seller.
  3. The buyer can dispute the trade. This happens if something seriously went wrong. If the goods/services being delivered are materially different or misrepresented to what was agreed, then the buyer may initiate a dispute on the TradeSafe system. TradeSafe will freeze the funds until all parties find a resolution to the dispute. Should the dispute not be resolved within ten business days, then parties may elect a formal legal process which may include arbitration.
  4. The buyer may request an extension to the number of days required for delivery. This protects the buyer as delays in delivery do occur.
What does an inspection period mean?

TradeSafe requires that an inspection period be agreed between the parties. The inspection period refers to the agreed timeframe that the buyer must inspect the goods or services. The inspection period begins when one of the following occurs:

  • TradeSafe receives confirmation of delivery from the courier's tracking service; or
  • Once the agreed number of delivery days lapses from the time the goods/services were initiated from the seller. The period for delivery is initiated when the seller indicates on the TradeSafe platform that the goods have been dispatched or the services have been initiated. sellers are urged to ensure that they receive an acknowledgement of delivery from the buyer, together with a signature, which will serve as proof that the goods have been delivered.
When does the seller begin delivery of the goods or services to the buyer?
You will receive an email to advise when the funds have been received and cleared by TradeSafe. Please do not send the goods or supply services before we have confirmed that the funds have been received and cleared. TradeSafe will also send all parties a signed letter of confirmation stating that the funds are in escrow and are earmarked for the seller.
What is a letter of comfort?
A letter of comfort is generated for every transaction. It is a signed letter on a TradeSafe letterhead confirming the transaction and the funds are in escrow and are allocated to the seller. This letter is for the comfort of the selling party, as they are now able to release the goods or services knowing that they will be paid.
All TradeSafe letters of comfort are protected by a QR code where parties are able verify the letter’s authenticity online.
When does the buyer authorise TradeSafe to release payment to the seller?
When you are satisfied that you have received the goods or services in the condition that was agreed, and all contract terms have been met. Acceptance of the goods/service can only be done by the buyer on TradeSafe. Please note, accepting the goods or services on TradeSafe is an irrevocable instruction for TradeSafe to release the funds. The onus is on the buyer to ensure that they are 100% satisfied with the goods or services received.
When does the seller get paid once the goods/service have been accepted?

TradeSafe performs two daily payment runs at 10h00 and 15h00 every business day. If authorisation to release the funds was received by TradeSafe between 09h15 and 14h15, then payment will be made at 15h00 that day. If authorisation to release the funds took place after 14h15, then payment will be made at 10h00 the following business day.

All funds are paid away from Standard Bank. Depending on who the seller banks with, the funds may be cleared in the seller's bank account either instantaneously or within two business days. For all transactions with payable values over R400 000, Real-Time Clearance (RTC) will be activated so that the funds should immediately be cleared in the seller's bank account

What do I do if the product or service is not what it is contracted to be?
You can either request an adjustment to the transaction price or register a dispute on the system (you will have the opportunity to renegotiate revised contract terms or return the goods). For example, if the Plasma you bought has a scratch on it, you can negotiate the price downwards. Conversely, if you bought a yacht and you received a rowing boat, then you can lodge a dispute and negotiate any possible scenario that will be suitable for yourself. Remember, the funds are still frozen in trust. If you cannot resolve the dispute, parties can choose arbitration whereby an independent arbitrator will adjudicate the matter quickly and justly.
What happens if a dispute is not resolved?

The buyer can declare a dispute at any time after the seller has started delivery.
If a dispute is declared, the buyer and seller will have ten business days to resolve the dispute between themselves. If they cannot resolve the dispute within this ten day period, we will refer them to:

  • the Small Claims Court if the value of the dispute is R20 000 or less; or
  • arbitration, if the value dispute is more than R20 000.

The process to be followed in the Small Claims Court can be found on https://www.justice.gov.za/scc/scc.htm.
The arbitration will be facilitated by The Arbitration Foundation of South Africa (AFSA) and will be conducted in accordance with AFSA’s rules. The process to be followed for arbitration can be found on https://arbitration.co.za/.
The decision of the Small Claims Court or arbitrator is final and may not be appealed. If a dispute is declared, the funds in escrow will be frozen until such time we receive a:

  • court order.
  • arbitration award; or
  • written agreement from the buyer and the seller that the dispute has been resolved.
Does TradeSafe offer integration services?

Absolutely. TradeSafe is proud of its integration offering. Please visit www.tradesafe.co.za/integration/ to learn of our integration services and shopping cart plugins.

What is the main technology of your integration service offering?
Our API is GraphQL with Oauth 2.0 authentication.
Do you have documentation?

Everyone loves an instruction manual. Our documentation can be found at https://developer.tradesafe.co.za/docs/

Are there any integration costs that TradeSafe charges?
No, integration with us is free. However, you will assume all development, integration or modification costs associated with the implementation of the TradeSafe integration services into your platform or app.
What are your fees and is it different to what you charge on your platform?

Yes, TradeSafe offers two pricing structures. One for its platform, and the other for our integration services.

In respect of our integration services, please visit www.tradesafe.co.za/integration/overview to learn of the fees we offer per transaction.In summary, we charge (excluding VAT):

  • 0.75% of the transaction value when payment to the escrow account is done via old-school EFT.
  • 1.5% of the transaction value when payment to the escrow account is done via Ozow.
  • 3.0% of the transaction value when payment to the escrow account is done via Visa/MasterCard.
  • 3.5% of the transaction value when payment to the escrow account is done via SnapScan.

Please note, settlement of payment takes place at the end of every month. If you/or your parties would like to be paid sooner (daily or weekly), then TradeSafe will levy an additional fixed charge of R5 per party requiring quicker payment, per transaction.

Do you offer volume discounts?

Yes, its all about volume. Please email support@tradesafe.co.za to get more info to what sort of discounts you can receive.

What support channels does TradeSafe provide for integration?

Our favourite is Slack. If you have a company Slack account, then let us know and we can Slack Connect. If not, we can always add you as a guest account. Please let us know by emailing info@tradesafe.co.za.

If Slack is not your cup of tea, then old-school emails and telephone calls may have to suffice... which makes integrating slow at times.

Is TradeSafe PCI DSS compliant?
Yes, we are. This means we can do all sort of stuff with credit card payments including recurring payments, subscription payments and layby settlements.
Is my data protected?
Trade-Safe Holdings (Pty) Ltd. (reg: 2013/170109/07) (“TradeSafe Escrow”) adheres to the highest standards of protecting your personal information when you use www.tradesafe.co.za or any of its related blogs, websites, applications or platforms.
Where can I find TradeSafe’s data privacy policy?

Please visit https://www.tradesafe.co.za/privacy_policy.pdf to download a copy of our privacy and personal information policy

How is my data safe with TradeSafe?
TradeSafe forces HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) for all services using TLS (SSL) including our public website and platform. We use HSTS (Strict Transport Security) to ensure browsers interact with TradeSafe only over HTTPS. TradeSafe is also on the HSTS preloaded lists [https://hstspreload.org/?domain=tradesafe.co.za]. Encryption of sensitive data and communication is paramount. All bank account details are encrypted at rest with AES-256. Decryption keys are stored on separate machines from the application. Other than the provisions in our Privacy Policy, TradeSafe will not, under any circumstances, disclose any details to other parties.
Who pays for the delivery of goods?
The most common practice is for the buyer to pay for delivery of the goods, but this can be dealt with when agreeing the transaction terms. We strongly suggest that a courier company is used to deliver the goods to the buyer and that you get a tracking slip to track the delivery. You can do all of this from the comfort of your couch and need never to meet the buyer.
What is TradeSafe's fee?

We charge a fee on a per transaction basis. Please go to our Fees page to learn how much the escrow fee will be for your transaction.
To make it even more affordable, TradeSafe's escrow fee can be paid by either:

  • The buyer
  • The seller
  • The agent

Or split between:

  • The buyer and seller (50/50 split)
  • The buyer, seller, and agent (33/33/33 split)
  • The buyer and the agent
  • The seller and the agent

This is easily specified and negotiated at the beginning stages when you create a transaction.

Is there a separate fee schedule for integrations?

Yes, please refer to our fee schedule in respect of our integration and shopping cart service offering here www.tradesafe.co.za/integration.

What plugins does TradeSafe currently support?
We currently support WooCommerce and multi-vendor marketplace setups such as Dokan. We are currently finalising our Magento plugin, with more on its way.
How am I protected as a merchant?
The customer is prompted to accept the goods or services within 24 hours after delivery has been confirmed by you or your courier company (TradeSafe sends an email and sms notification to the customer). If your customer does not click the button during this time, we will release the funds to you.

The customer must have a material compliant/issue and they must provide evidence. With its years of experience, TradeSafe is quickly able to identify whether the customer is trying to scam the process. TradeSafe will release the funds to you in the event it determines that the complaint or issue is immaterial, lacks substance and/or supporting evidence, or is frivolous in nature.

Does TradeSafe offer marketplace support?
Absolutely. TradeSafe enables marketplace support for Dokan, and other multi-vendor setups. TradeSafe enables split payments so that you can be paid a commission on every transaction. (You can specify your commission in the TradeSafe settings on WordPress.) We will settle directly with your vendors, easing this administrative burden.
How does TradeSafe settle the funds to my/my vendors’ bank accounts?

TradeSafe provides two options how settlement of the funds to your bank account can take place.

  1. TradeSafe automatically pays to you/your vendors’ bank account at your chosen payment frequency. TradeSafe payment frequency can be set as either daily, weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly, OR
  2. You/your vendors can withdraw the funds from the WordPress account dashboard.
How do I get started?

Have a look at our step-by-step guide. The onboarding document will help you set up in a matter of minutes.