So you want to receive payments for your products or services online in Nigeria and you are wondering which platform is best? In this article I have done an in-depth review of Selar and PayStack, the two platforms that fully give Nigerians access to sell and receive payments online, both from Nigeria and internationally.
I won’t be considering PayPal because it is strictly for international payments and it does not give you direct access as a Nigerian except you use that of another country. Payoneer is also strictly for international payments.
What is Selar and PayStack?
Well, in case you don’t know, Selar is a kind of open to all ecommerce store where you can host your digital products e.g ebooks and courses, and once people make payments, they will be given access to the product you have uploaded, you don’t need a website.
PayStack on the other hand is strictly a payment gateway (although they have recently launched PayStack Storefront where you can upload your products too). You can integrate the payment gateway to your website and receive payments without buyers being redirected to another site.
This is just a brief overview. The choice of which to use is highly dependent on the nature of your business or what you want to achieve. But I will be guiding you into which is best.
Selar.co Vs PayStack Features Compared
|Ease of Use and Setup||Selar.co|
|Micro and Macro payments||PayStack|
Ease of Use and Setup (Winner: Draw)
Setting up a store on Selar is very straightforward. You just need to visit Selar.co, click on start selling, create an account with your email, fill out your store details, upload a product and they will give you a unique link for each product. That’s all. When customers buy through your link, you will get settled in your account. All you need is a mobile phone with internet connection.
Setting up PayStack’s payment gateway on the other hand is a little bit more complex. Because you have to integrate it on your site, you need to get a code from your PayStack and paste it on your website. It is however a lot easier when you have a WordPress site using their plugin. You will need a laptop.
Pricing (Winner: PayStack)
Both Selar and PayStack are free to set up . You only get charged a percentage of any sale you make after the sale is completed.
Selar.co charges you 4% + N50 of any sale you make in Naira, 6% + N50 equivalent for other African currencies, and 10% + 50¢ equivalent for other non-African currencies.
PayStack charges you 1.5% + N100 for Naira payment above N2500 (for those below N2,500, they waive the N100), and 3.9% + N100 for dollar payments.
Currencies (Winner: Selar)
Selar allows you to display the prices of your products in different currencies with just clicks. Actually, about 10 different currencies, from USD, to pounds, South African rands, Ghana cedes, Ugandan shillings and so on. In fact if you do not set the price in other currencies, they will automatically convert your Naira input to the equivalent of the currency for you if the buyer wants to pay in another currency.
With PayStack, you can only readily display your price in Naira. The second option is in dollars but you have to create a domiciliary account with Zenith Bank (which requires $1,000). The payment you receive will also be settled to your account in dollars unlike Selar that converts it to Naira automatically for you.
Notice I only talked about display. With PayStack you can also receive payment from anyone in the world who uses any currency only that your price will show to them as Naira. So when someone from the U.S wants to pay, they will see N5,000 not $10 the money will be debited from their first l dollar account and settled to you as Naira.
This is a bit of a limitation because a foreign client once refused to buy from me because my currency was displaying Naira which was strange to him.
Security (Winner: Draw)
Both Selar and PayStack are 100% secure as with handling payments and payouts. They have partnerships with Stripe and PayPal so even international payments are very seamless.
You can face insecurity with PayStack if you are hosting your products on your site and your site gets hacked. Customers will therefore not get the products after payment. There has also been a similar issue with Selar November 2021 they had some issues and all product files and images went away. Merchants had to re-upload them. These are unstrange errors that come with running a business.
But on an overall scale and especially regarding your money, there is nothing to fear with both Selar.co and PayStack. Selar is not a scam. It is legit. Same also, PayStack is not a scam. It is legit.
Customer Support (Winner: Selar)
Selar has very efficient customer support through the chat feature on their site. I have had to message them for some clarifications about 7 times and they usually reply within 15 mins maximum. Only once did I have to wait till the next day for a response.
PayStack has very poor customer support (both Zendesk and mail). They DO NOT reply to messages, at least for all the times I have messaged them. When you want to create a Zenith Domiciliary Account, PayStack claims on their website that if you message them, they will help you contact the Zenith Bank branch so they will not ask you for the $1,000 requirement.
I thought it was true and went to Zenith Bank then messaged them. I was waiting in the bank for their response. It’s been over 2 months now and no response. They only sent me an automated reply saying they were busy and will get back to me. I have sent them reminders after then and they still do not think I’m worth replying till now. (Imagine I’m still waiting in the bank. Lol)
Integration /Customisation (Winner: PayStack)
If you have sent visitors to your sales page, with PayStack they can just make payment directly on your website because of PayStack’s integration feature. This is easier and more professional for any business but with Selar, you have to redirect them to Selar’s website and redirect them back to your site after payment.
This is bad for sales because as sellers, we want to ensure buyers face as little resistance as possible when purchasing. Making Selar your sales page is quite limiting as you can’t customise it as you want except you are on a Pro plan.
You also cannot edit the success message sent to buyers after payment e.g I wanted to send a mail to buyers after purchase giving them links to some resources but Selar does not allow you edit the message they send. This feature is available, however, with PayStack.
Payouts (Winner: Draw)
Both Selar and PayStack settle payouts to your bank within 24 hours of receiving the payment. With Selar, payments made with foreign currencies can take between 4 to 10 days depending on the currency. We can’t say PayStack won because they don’t have other currencies to compare.
Hosting (Winner: Selar)
Both Selar.co and PayStack Storefront allow you to host your digital products on their site. If we are just looking at just hosting, they will have a draw but Selar has extra features that makes the experience more than just hosting but an entire ecommerce store.
They recently launched the Selar marketplace, a general dump where even people who don’t know you can easily find your products. Then they have Selar Affiliates where you can give commissions to affiliates for promoting your products with no input from you. Selar Affiliate is legit and seamless and you can set individual commissions for different affiliate marketers.
Follow up (Selar)
Also making them the best for hosting, Selar has an amazing feature of sending an automatic follow up message to buyers who attempted to make payments but didn’t complete it. They also send the contact of the buyer to you so you can do a manual outreach to them. PayStack does not offer this feature.
Refunds (Winner: PayStack)
As much as we want to make sales, we do not neglect the fact that we are only truly in business when customers are satisfied. One way to ensure customer satisfaction is issuing refunds when they feel they don’t appreciate your product.
PayStack makes this possible. If a customer requests for a refund, with just a few clicks from your PayStack dashboard, you can return their money but Selar does not have that feature.
Micro and Macro payments (Winner: PayStack)
No matter what you sell, Selar charges a fixed rate but PayStack reduces the cut they take when your payment is below N2,500. This is incredible seeing that their rates are even cheaper than that of PayStack in the first place.
For instance, if you price your ebook at N2,000, with Selar you get N1,870 but with PayStack you get N1,962.
At the other extreme, if you sell a very expensive product, say N500k, PayStack charges are capped at N2,000. So instead of charging you 12,600 they charge you N2,000. Selar on the other hand will still charge their regular N20,050.
Payment methods (Winner: PayStack)
PayStack offers a lot of payment options to buyers. They can use cards, USSD, bank transfers, Apple pay etc with no difference in amount received by you the seller. With Selar on the other hand, buyers can only pay with their cards.
Should I Use Selar.co or PayStack?
You should use Selar.co when you don’t have a website or have one but don’t want to worry about setting up a store, automating responses, sending follow up messages, hosting of heavy files (e.g video courses) and want to easily display your price in foreign currencies.
You should use PayStack if all you want is simply a platform to receive payments in Naira or dollar and you then handle the rest of the product fulfilment to the customer. Really, if all you want is a payment gateway, don’t go near Selar considering that the chargers are cheaper and you have 100% control of what happens before and after the sale.
Final Take: Selar is best if you want an ecommerce store. PayStack is best if you want a payment gateway.
Olusegun Iyejare is a career coach and certified counselor. He helps individuals discover and maximize their potential to live satisfying lives regardless of obvious limitations holding them back.