How to find the best Payment Gateway in Kenya for Online Payments

November 29th, 2021 by Felix Cheruiyot

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Finding the right payment gateway in Kenya is key to running an internet business and propelling it forwards for the technological-driven 21st-century business. Payment gateway makes it easy for customers to make online payments through your website and for you to receive the money. This article will dive into the world of payment gateway in Kenya and why you need a payment gateway for e-commerce and marketplaces.

What is a payment gateway?

A payment gateway is an application that integrates with your website and links it to your customer for easy online payments. It integrates with the digital processes used by the company and links your checkout system to the payment network used by your customer.

How does a payment gateway work?

When you use the services of a payment gateway in Kenya, you are provided with a no-code payment link or an API (application programming interface). An API is a tool that allows two applications to exchange data and information quickly and seamlessly.

The API provided by the payment gateway acts as an intermediary between your website or mobile app and the payment platform used by your customer. Anytime someone wants to make a payment to you, the API links your website to the payment platform or card used by the customer.

The no-code link is a singular link that your customers can use to pay easily using their debit card or other payment mediums once opened.

Why do you need a payment gateway?

Fast, convenient online payment

A payment gateway provides a fast, seamless way of making online payments. It helps to make payment secure and convenient. It saves you from the various hassles associated with receiving money online. A payment gateway helps to quickly process bulky, voluminous transactions without lifting a finger for each transaction.

Many internet entrepreneurs in Kenya have lost tons of money to poor checkout processes on their websites. Imagine a customer loading their cart with numerous products and getting to the checkout page only to be frustrated with the whole payment process. The customer loses their patience, dumps their cart in frustration, and heads to another platform to get what they want. That is how several vendors in Kenya have lost money to poor payment implementation.

Payment gateway in Kenya resolves all these. They keep customers returning for more and help boost your sales regardless of the kind of business you run as a Kenyan entrepreneur.

Handling of both local and international payment

One other good thing about payment gateways is that they help handle local and international payments. You can receive money from foreign clients and expand your business internationally. So, you now have various international payment options because some payment gateways receive money in multiple currencies. The exchange rates are updated constantly, so there is no room for exchange rate errors. The United States is just one of the many countries you can receive money from.

The payment gateway can work for more than one platform

Apart from your website, do you have a mobile app? Do you have stores on other platforms? The payment gateway can work for them all. Some payment gateways can be linked to your business's social media account for easy payment for those discovering your products through social media.

Customer data is safe and secure

A payment gateway keeps customer data safe and secure. You are safe from the security risks of holding credit card data on your website. This also protects you from business and legal liabilities that can ruin your business.

Who can use a payment gateway?

A payment gateway can be used by almost anyone who receives money online. Payment gateways like Intasend are used by e-commerce stores, website owners, developers, freelancers, online business owners, etc.

What are the things to look out for in good payment gateways in Kenya?

Here are the features to look out for in a good payment gateway:

Reasonable Pricing

A good payment gateway should be reasonably priced. Most payment gateways charge a fixed percentage of the money received through the gateway. Though, the percentage often reduces as the volume of transactions increases for fairer pricing. Some payment gateways have tiered payment plans with varying features.

Payment API

The payment API is the number one thing you'll be provided with when you pay for a payment gateway. You integrate the API on your website to act as an intermediary between your website's checkout system and the payment network used by the customer. The payment API should be easy to integrate by almost any webmaster.

Prompt payment notification

Payment gateway for e-commerce and marketplaces should have prompt payment notifications that notify you whenever a payment is made. The notifications should come in the form of emails and other means. The payment notifications should be as fast as possible with minimal delays.

Support for more than one card network

A good payment gateway should support more than one card processor. At least, It must support the two major debit card processors, which are Visa and Mastercard. It should also support other payment schemes like M-Pesa. The payment gateway helps to authenticate customer card details whenever online payments in Kenya are made.

Great customer support service

The customer support service of any worthy payment gateway should be at your beck and call whenever you need them. They should be readily available to listen to all inquiries and resolve issues fast.


A good payment gateway should be secure with no loopholes that will give room for cyberattacks. It must protect both yourself and your customer. Sensitive data like debit card information and other details pass through the payment gateway, so there should be no room for errors.

Modern API design

A payment gateway should use an API with a modern design like RESTful design. Modern API designs like REST API are easier to integrate as they use new technologies and design practices.

Multiple API integration methods

Payment gateways in Kenya should have multiple API integration options, tools, and SDKs (software development kit) so users can easily select one to implement the API on their website or mobile app. These options could include Python SDK, REST API, PHP SDK, JavaScript SDK, WooCommerce plugin, and WordPress plugin.

Proper documentation

Good payment gateways have proper documentations that are thorough, well-detailed, and exhaustive. Good documentation makes it easier for a developer to implement the payment gateway API with no issues.

Dedicated account manager

Some payment gateways in Kenya have dedicated account managers for key businesses using their premium offerings. If you'll be dealing with large volumes of online payments, this is a handy feature that you should look forward to.

Fraud detection

Advanced payment gateways have fraud detection features that enable them to detect payment fraud and protect the vendor or business. Payment fraud detection saves businesses from frauds like the following:

Spam card testing: Spam card testing occurs when nefarious people create lengthy lists of debit or credit cards and try them on an e-commerce site. They spam orders using these cards with the hope that one or more will work. Payment gateways use DDOS protection among other protection tools to protect from this form of payment fraud.

Identity theft: Identity theft occurs when fraudsters access a person's debit card information and then use the stolen information to make online payments. Good payment gateways use two-factor authentication, SMS or email alerts, and security systems to stop this.

Account takeover: Account takeover occurs when cyber-criminals login or hack into a customer's account and use their stored payment information to make purchases from a vendor. Sometimes the cyber-criminals resell the account. Payment gateways have security systems to detect this and stop it.

You need to use an accredited and trusted payment gateway for e-commerce and marketplaces to help you deal with these payment frauds and handle them appropriately. Apart from the ones mentioned above, payment gateways use advanced fraud detection systems like device fingerprinting, CVV (Card Verification Value), 3DS2, fraud rule scoring system, reverse email lookup, and data enrichment.

API test environment

A good payment gateway should have a developer test environment where APIs can be tested without having to sign up for the payment provider services. The testing time can range from 2 weeks to a month. This allows a developer to thoroughly check all the API features and certify that it is fit for their use. You'll get a dummy account for the test, and the account will be deleted after the testing period.

No-code integration

A standard payment gateway should have no-code integration for clients who don't have coding capabilities. It's usually in the form of an easy payment link that can be sent to customers or posted on a website or social media for easy acceptance of online payments.

Prompt chargeback settlement

Payment gateways for e-commerce and marketplaces should resolve chargebacks and dispute issues fast and without much fuss. They should notify you of the issue immediately and work with you towards settling the issue ASAP. You might be asked to provide some documentation like an invoice and proof of delivery.

The payment gateway will work with you, the bank, and the buyer fairly to resolve the issue. Sometimes the chargeback settlement might be delayed by the bank or the buyer instead of the payment gateway who is working towards resolving the issue promptly.

Cryptocurrency support

Innovative payment gateways support online payments using popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Bitcoin is increasingly being adopted worldwide, and every modern business should have payment options for Bitcoin going forwards.

Invoice creation for freelancers, contractors, and merchants

Some payment gateways allow you to create invoices with payment links directly from their website. The payment gateway will provide you with an invoice template that you can easily input your details. These invoices can be sent directly to the client, who will then be directed to a checkout click on the link to pay. This is an innovative way for clients to make payments easily.

You can also generate payment links from the websites and share the link with clients via messaging apps, email, and any other option you desire.

Fast payout period

Good payment gateways for e-commerce and marketplaces in Kenya offer much more than convenient payments. They also allow you to withdraw money as fast and as easily as possible. Crypto and cash payments are often processed the fastest and could land in your account instantly. This means that you have readily available cash to take care of business issues. Card payments take longer to process, though they shouldn't take more than two or three days to settle.

Multiple mediums for receiving payout

You should have multiple options for receiving your money. You could receive the money through your bank account, M-Pesa mobile wallet, or other mobile wallets. Some payment gateways have an option for sending received money to other people, thus acting as an all-in-one fintech solution. With these payment gateways, you don't need other fintech solutions or providers.

Rich functionalities

Payment gateways for e-commerce and marketplaces should have rich and diverse functionalities like all the ones listed above. Ensure that the functionalities work as they should, and they are not mere gimmicks.

What do you need to start using or implementing a payment gateway for your website?

First, you need to contact the payment gateway provider and apply to become one of their users. Following that, you will be contacted by the payment provider for the KYC (Know Your Customer) process. The KYC process is where you will be vetted, and the payment gateway provider will inspect your identification, profile, and business. They will confirm that your business is legit, and you will not use their payment gateway for any nefarious business or purpose.

After KYC has been conducted and your application has been approved, you will be asked to choose between a no-code payment link or a payment API. If you choose an API, you will be issued an API by the online payment gateway provider. You will then implement the API on your website. Payment should be activated by your payment gateway provider within a day or two.

If you choose a no-code payment link, you will be sent a link that you can now put on all your platforms to receive payment from everyone. Following that, your payment gateway is active, and you can now receive online payments in Kenya quickly.

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