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FAQs

Who is TradeSafe?

TradeSafe is a digital escrow service and South Africa’s trusted third party in a trade between yourself and another party. We provide a platform to enable you to buy or sell goods and services, safely and securely. We safeguard the funds in the middle until the transaction terms have been fulfilled. Only when both parties are satisfied that the terms of the transaction have been met do we release the funds to the selling party/s.

What is “Escrow”?

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.

How is my money safe with TradeSafe?

The funds in escrow are our most important priority. If we mess up, we are out of business. That is why TradeSafe employs three pillars to ensure the safety, security, and validity of the escrow account.

The escrow funds are held in the name of TradeSafe, in a secure Standard Bank account. Standard Bank has management oversight of the escrow account and are involved in the approval process for payment instructions as initiated by TradeSafe.

The escrow funds are insured by iTOO, a division of Hollard. TradeSafe holds Crime & Civil Liability cover, including fidelity and professional indemnity insurance as underwritten by iTOO.

Auditing firm EY performs agreed-upon procedures, in terms of International Standards on Related Services, to ensure the validity and accuracy of the Transactions and Balances of TradeSafe’s escrow account.

TradeSafe is an authorised Third-Party Payment Provider with the Payment Association of South Africa (PASA) in terms of SARB Directive 1 of 2007.

What do I need to register with TradeSafe?

Personal Accounts:
We require a valid South African ID number (or foreign passport number), a South African bank account number, an email address, and an active mobile number to verify your profile.
To ascribe to provisions of the South African Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), we are required to verify the source of funds as well as manage any potential risk of money laundering. As a measure, TradeSafe performs Account Verification Services (AVS) to ensure that the party is the bank account holder. We do this by agreeing the bank account number with their ID/passport number with their bank. 

Business Accounts:
We require a valid South African company registration number (as issued by the CIPC) as well as a South African business bank account number. To ascribe to provisions of the South African Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), we are required to verify the source of funds as well as manage any potential risk of money laundering. As a measure, TradeSafe performs Account Verification Services (AVS) to ensure that the company is the bank account holder. We do this by agreeing the business bank account number with the company’s registration number with their bank.
All users registering a company account will be required to upload a copy of:

  • Their COR 14.3 or disclosure certificate (as issued by the CIPC); and
  • A written letter on a corporate letterhead, stating that they are authorised to act on the organisation’s behalf

What is the Expected Completion Date (“ECD”)?

Transactions cannot go on forever. Therefore, every trade has an Expected Completion Date (ECD). The ECD is date which we expect the transaction to be completed. It is the date where the buyer is compelled to either accept or reject the goods or services as received from the seller. TradeSafe implemented this fraud-preventative control after several 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 + the agreed days for delivery + the agreed days for inspection.
For example, if the seller indicated that they had started delivering the product on 01/01/2020, and it was agreed that delivery and inspection periods would be four and two days respectively, then the ECD would be calculated as 07/01/2020.
If there is inaction from the buyer from 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.

What happens if the buyer does not notify TradeSafe via the platform that he/she has accepted the goods or services. How does the seller get their money?

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 the inaction.

When does the seller begin delivery of the goods or services to the buyer?

You will receive an email to advise when the 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 also send all parties a signed letter of confirmation stating that the funds are in escrow and are earmarked for the seller.

When does the buyer authorise TradeSafe to release payment to the seller?

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 TradeSafe. Please note, accepting the goods or services on TradeSafe is an irrevocable instruction for TradeSafe to release the funds. The onus is on the buyer to ensure that they are 100% satisfied with the goods or services received.

When does the seller get paid once the goods/service have been accepted?

TradeSafe performs two daily payment runs at 10h00 and 15h00 every business day. If authorisation to release the funds was received by TradeSafe between 09h15 and 14h15, then payment will be made at 15h00 that day. If authorisation to release the funds took place after 14h15, then payment will be made at 10h00 the following business day. All funds are paid away from Standard Bank. Depending on who the seller banks with, the funds may be cleared in the seller’s bank account either instantaneously or within two business days. For all transactions with payable values over R400 000, Real-Time Clearance (RTC) will be activated so that the funds should immediately be cleared in the seller’s bank account.

What happens if a dispute is not resolved?

The buyer can declare a dispute at any time after the seller has started delivery.
If a dispute is declared, the buyer and seller will have 21 business days to resolve the dispute between themselves. If they cannot resolve the dispute within this 21-day period, we will refer them to:

  • the Small Claims Court if the value of the dispute is R20 000 or less; or
  • arbitration, if the value dispute is more than R20 000.

The process to be followed in the Small Claims Court can be found on https://www.justice.gov.za/scc/scc.htm.
The arbitration will be facilitated by The Arbitration Foundation of South Africa (AFSA) and will be conducted in accordance with AFSA’s rules. The process to be followed for arbitration can be found on https://arbitration.co.za/.
The decision of the Small Claims Court or arbitrator is final and may not be appealed. If a dispute is declared, the funds in escrow will be frozen until such time we receive a:

  • court order.
  • arbitration award; or
  • written agreement from the buyer and the seller that the dispute has been resolved.