Paystack, the African fintech company that powers and processes payments for businesses, today announced that it is launching Pay with Apple Pay on its platform.
The company, in a statement, called the integration "the fastest, secure way for Nigerian businesses to accept international payments."
Apple Pay, Apple's mobile payments and digital wallet service, provides users with a secure and private way to pay on their iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Macbooks.
Despite having a presence in almost every continent since 2014, Apple Pay only made its way into Africa this March through South Africa. Users in the country with Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards can access the payment service from five banks -- Nedbank, Absa, FirstRand Bank, Investec and Discovery.
While the launch in South Africa showed Apple's keen interest in increasing its penetration in sub-Saharan Africa, the tech giant didn't say if it would expand to other countries like Nigeria and Kenya. Like South Africa, these countries have also seen the adoption of digital payments significantly increase these past few years.
However, instead of waiting for Apple's next move, Paystack has taken the initiative to integrate the payment service on its platform.
The company is now the first payment gateway in Nigeria to support Apple Pay. Doing so gives Nigerian businesses access to millions of Apple Pay users in the more than 60 countries where the payments service is active.
Image Credits: Paystack
Here's how it works: A customer with Apple Pay enabled will see the option to checkout using Pay with Apple Pay when they tap to buy from a Paystack merchant. Using Touch ID or Face ID, they can then go ahead and pay.
Pay with Apple Pay is available to Nigeria-based businesses that use Paystack. They can accept payments made through any of the Paystack-hosted Commerce tools -- Paystack Storefronts or Invoices -- and via multiple payment channels including cards, mobile money, USSD, QR codes and EFT.
Over the past few years, Paystack merchants have accepted international payments from customers following the integration with global commerce platforms Wix and Shopify.
In Africa, the YC-backed Stripe subsidiary has also integrated with regional payment channels. One with SnapScan for QR payments in South Africa -- the most recent country it expanded to -- and one with local partners for mobile money in Ghana, the third African country it operates in.
Khadijah Abu, the head of product expansion at Paystack, told TechCrunch that the integration with Apple Pay is the platform's first global payment channel integration.
"We're the first payment platform to support this channel in Nigeria, and we intend to integrate more global payment channels in the future to help connect Paystack merchants to the global economy," she said. "We've integrated with Apple Pay because we want to give our merchants and their customers more payment choices. Customers also love Apple Pay, the conversions are great and our merchants can now reach an even larger audience."
Paystack integration with Apple Pay is similar to what Flutterwave, another big-name African payments platform, did with PayPal back in March. While reporting on that, I referenced how PayPal and Flutterwave would coexist if PayPal decided to expand to Nigeria and other African countries where Flutterwave offers the integration.
While the same applies to Paystack and Apple Pay, the playing ground is quite different. In Nigeria, Android is king in the mobile operating system market, where the OS commands a more than 87% share, compared to 7.75% for Apple's iOS. Little wonder why the iPhone maker isn't too keen on expanding Apple Pay into Nigeria (in South Africa, iOS has a 14.89% market share).
This statistic might be behind Paystack's optimism that its integration with Apple Pay will not be affected should Apple decide to extend the payment service in Nigeria. If anything, the company is looking to eat into Apple Pay's market by replicating the integration for businesses in South Africa and Ghana.
"We're seeing impressive growth in South Africa, with thousands of new businesses of all sizes joining us every month," Abu said regarding Paystack's progress in the country. "Apple Pay is super convenient and secure, and while we're beginning with Nigeria, we aim to bring this payment channel to all our markets."
Giving her opinion on how this would impact e-commerce in Nigeria, Abu said that in addition to merchants being able to sell to an international audience, the success rates of international transactions on the platform would improve significantly.
"There's an existing eagerness to connect with the global market. This new payment channel makes it significantly easier to access and sell to that market."