Frequently Asked Questions

TradeSafe is South Africa's trusted third party in a trade between yourself and another party. We provide a platform to enable you to buy and sell goods and services, safely and securely. We safeguard the funds and all documentation that has been uploaded onto the site until both parties are satisfied that the terms of the transaction have been met and only then do we release the funds to the Seller. We keep the funds secure until the correct goods or service have been delivered from the Seller to the Buyer. It's that simple!

TradeSafe is a team of ordinary people who got together because they grew tired of being scammed or hearing about people getting scammed. The team who founded TradeSafe consists of an ex KPMG Forensic Accountant, an MBA graduate from Oxford-Brookes University, an owner of a construction company, and two very technically savvy guys who made the site come true. We're exceptionally proud of this site and what it is doing to curtail commercial and e-commerce fraud in the country. Click here to view our team's profile.

Anybody who is uncertain of the other party, or feel unsafe or insecure when transacting. Buyers should use TradeSafe whenever they are asked to pay a deposit or full payment upfront before receiving goods or services from a supplier. Suppliers or Sellers should use TradeSafe to be sure the Buyer has the funds for the trade. Small Business owners can use TradeSafe as the funds will be kept safe until the 'seller' delivers per the agreement.

TradeSafe is independent and has no interest in either party involved in the transaction. Our mission is to level the playing field between the parties, and encourage security in all transactions. We act on the instructions of both parties and if a dispute between the two parties arises, and subsequently cannot be resolved, then we will direct the parties to arbitration and act on the written instructions of an independent arbitrator in accordance with the expedited rules of the Association Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA).

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.

Through TradeSafe's Instant EFT. TradeSafe Instant EFT allows you to instantly pay TradeSafe via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). If you bank with one of South Africa's big four banks (ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank), the verification of the funds is immediate and we will instantly send through a signed letter of confirmation that the funds have been received and instruct the Seller to deliver on his/her contractual obligations.

If you bank with someone outside of the big four, then the transaction may take up to two days to clear.

This is very important. You will notice that when you log into TradeSafe, the website is encrypted under the security protocol https://. We have secured our site with CoModo Secure. If you do not see https://, log out immediately and log in again.

All accounts are protected as they require a password and username. In addition, at certain stages in the trade, we will require a One-Time Password (OTP) which is sent directly to your mobile.

Without your trust we don't have a business, so we take this aspect very seriously! The entity that holds the funds is a dedicated solely to the holding of the trust funds, namely TS Escrow (Pty) Ltd. TradeSafe engages with a Registered Independent Auditor annually to perform agreed-upon procedures, in terms of International Standards on Related Services, to ensure the validity and accuracy of the Transactions and Balances of the companies Trust accounts. The technology overseeing the security of the funds is found in most banks. In addition, the funds are covered by fidelity insurance, underwritten by leaders in Broad Form Liability Insurance. Our business has been set up to prioritise your protection!

We are classified as a non-bank in South Africa's formal payment sector. TradeSafe is an authorised Third Party Payment Provider with the Payment Association of South Africa (PASA) with license SP001191 in terms of SARB Directive 1 of 2007.

Registration is free. Transactions cost a handling charge which is determined in line with the value of the deal. The minimum cost per transaction is R100.00.

The site is kept exclusively for honest people and transactions. Other than the provisions in our Privacy Policy, TradeSafe will not, under any circumstances, disclose any details to other parties. You will need a valid cellphone number, your Identity number or a Passport number if you are not a South African citizen, and a valid email address. If you are in the business of commodity or fuel brokering, then we may extend KYC procedures (i.e. proof of wholesale license, site visits etc.) in order to validate that your business is legitimate and that you are using TradeSafe for economic substance purposes. 

TradeSafe is compelled by South Africa's Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001 (FICA) to verify the identities of the parties. The purpose of FICA is to assist in the identification of the proceeds of unlawful activity and to combat money laundering activities as well as the financing of terrorism and related activities.

Who doesn't :) Look on the right hand side of the home page before logging into the 'My Account' box and click the "Forgot Password or Username" link. Follow the instructions and we will e-mail your username to the email address that has been registered with us, as well as instructions on how to reset your password.

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.

Every trade has an Expected Completion Date. The ECD is date which we expect the transaction to be completed. In essence, it is the date where the Buyer is compelled to either either accept or reject the goods or services he/she has received from the Seller. TradeSafe implemented this fraud-preventative control after a number of 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 + agreed days for delivery + agreed days for inspection.

For example, if the Seller indicated that he/she had started deliverying the product on 01/01/2018, and it was agreed that delivery and inspection periods would be four and two days respectively, then the ECD will be calculated as 07/01/2018.

If there is inaction from the Buyer at 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. 

There is no maximum amount when using TradeSafe. The minimum transaction value that TradeSafe will accept is R200.

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

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 an inaction.


The Buyer has the following options on the TradeSafe system once the Seller has indicated that he/she has started delivering the goods/services.

  1. The Buyer can accept the goods or services. This results in the transfer of ownership from the Seller to the Buyer which authorises TradeSafe to release the funds to the Seller.
  2. The Buyer can renegotiate. For example, if there is an understandable difference in the goods or service being delivered i.e. a vehicle missing a spare wheel or a phone with a micro-scratch, and the goods/services do not represent a material misrepresentation of the contractual terms, then the Buyer may renegotiate certain transactions terms with the Seller. If the Seller agrees, the Buyer may be entitled to a partial refund with the remaining funds being disbursed to the Seller.
  3. The Buyer can dispute the trade. 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 21 business days, then parties may elect a formal legal process which may include arbitration.
  4. The Buyer requests an extension to the number of days for delivery or inspection. Delays in delivery do occur.

TradeSafe requires that an agreed inspection period is negotiated with the counterparty. The inspection period refers to the agreed timeframe that the Buyer has to 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 strongly 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.

Details and status of a transaction can be viewed at any time by logging onto and clicking on 'My Trades'.

You will receive an email to advise when 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 send all parties a signed letter of confirmation stating that the funds are in escrow and are earmarked for the Seller. This letter may be distributed to other transactions stakeholders whoever so requires it. 

TradeSafe performs two daily payment runs at 09h00 and 15h00 every business day.

If authorisation to release the funds was received by TradeSafe between 08h45 and 14h45, then payment will be made at 15h00 that day.

If authorisation to release the funds took place after 14h45, then payment will be made at 09h00 the following business day.

Depending on who the Seller banks with, the funds may be cleared in the Seller's bank account either instantaneously or within a maximum of 24 hours. For all transactions with transaction values over R400,000, Real-Time Clearance will be activated so that the funds should immediately be cleared in the Seller's bank account.

All international transaction payments will be settled using RTC.

You can easily set up progress payments on the TradeSafe system. 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 a number of separate loads. TradeSafe's system allows a user to structure a fuel transaction into as many as 50 loads. Once a particular load has been completed, TradeSafe releases the funds, for that particular load, to the Seller.

An Agent or Broker can be added to any TradeSafe transaction. The Agent or Broker's fee can either be paid by the Buyer, Seller or both parties. The Agent's fee is paid once all contractual obligations have been fulfilled and accepted by the Buying party.

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 trade. Their fee can be paid by either the Buyer, Seller, Agent, or split between the Buying and Selling parties

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 are able to offer a cost effective service that provides peace of mind.

We are working on it. Our central bank is very strict when it comes to international third-party payments. We will let you know when we are authorised to perform this function. 

TradeSafe's escrow fee can be paid by either:

  • The Buyer
  • The Seller
  • The Agent
  • 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. 

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 the TradeSafe system. 

Either attempt to renegotiate 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 boat and you received a motorcycle, you can lodge a dispute and negotiate any possible scenario that will be suitable for yourself. Remember, the funds are still in trust. If you cannot resolve the dispute, parties can choose arbitration whereby an independent arbitrator will adjudicate the matter quickly and justly.

NO, NO, NO. Cheques are antiquated, and if a cheque if deposited, it always bounces. We do not accept cheques.

We get paid when the trade is complete. The fee will be deducted when the request to release the funds is received and processed. In special cases, for example where the deal is cancelled or the Seller withdraws or reneges, the escrow fee will be deducted from the Buyer's funds when the funds are returned to him. It may seem unfair to the Buyer, but we will have incurred costs and we have to defray these costs. Look at it this way...the Buyer has not lost all his money!

Insurance is usually covered by the Seller of the goods. TradeSafe is not liable for damaged goods.

The most common practice is for the Buyer to pay for delivery of the goods but this can be dealt with in the contract documentation. We strongly suggest that a courier company be contacted 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.

All VAT and other associated taxes are the responsibility of the parties.

We like to think of ourselves as doctors or attorneys...we are practicing! So if there is anything we haven't thought of please let us know so by simply e-mailing us here. All suggestions are welcome.

Are you a Buyer, Seller or running a business?

Don't delay, start trading with confidence right now!