Standard Bank has acquired a 35% equity stake in digital escrow company TradeSafe Escrow, providing a means for buyers and sellers to mitigate transaction fraud.
TradeSafe is an online escrow platform that safeguards the buyer’s funds in trust in a transaction involving two or more parties.
Established in 2013, TradeSafe is the longest running digital escrow company in South Africa. The firm was also the first digital escrow organisation in the world to offer an API gateway which allows for online marketplaces and stores to offer escrow payments to customers.
CEO of TradeSafe, Jethro O’Brien, says: “Both TradeSafe and Standard Bank realised the necessity for a fast, secure, and affordable escrow solution in the wake of the increasing volume of scams, fraud and unpaid invoice payments in South African commerce. Our fees come in at a fifth of what a reputable law firm or bank would charge in a transaction.”
As part of the investment, Standard Bank has appointed two non-executive directors to the TradeSafe board. Standard Bank also has management oversight of TradeSafe’s escrow account and is fully involved in the process for payment instructions that TradeSafe initiates.
“The bank will provide a second release payment function,” O’Brien adds. “This means that with our increased governance, security and credibility, TradeSafe will now be able to target commodity and M&A transactions greater than R25 million.”