As online fraud in South Africa escalates, buying and selling goods using online platforms places both buyers and sellers at risk.
Jethro O’Brien, CEO and co-founder of TradeSafe.co.za, was duped while trying to buy car parts that had been advertised online — and this is where his idea for TradeSafe was born.
TradeSafe is a licensed, independent fintech company that safeguards a buyer’s funds in trust (escrow) until the seller delivers what was promised. Only once the buyer is happy with the goods or services received, does TradeSafe release the funds.
O’Brien explains: “We act as a buffer between a buyer and a seller. The funds are deposited with TradeSafe, in full, whilst the two parties perform the transaction. Our system is totally transparent and payments are tracked and visible to all parties. Amounts have ranged from a few hundred rands to a few million.”
He admits that the word escrow presented a challenge when launching TradeSafe as many people don’t know what it means.
“Simply put, we hold the buyer’s funds in trust. If the buyer does not have the funds, the transaction will not start, and if the seller does not deliver what was contracted, he