Tanzania Online Payment Service Providers and Gateways Guide Book Read More

Tanzania Online Payment Service Providers and Gateways Guide [ Open Source ]

A comprehensive guide to Tanzania payment gateways and aggregators for startups, innovators, non-tech founders, and developers.
This payment guide is curated and maintained by iPF Softwares, and it is open to suggestions; you can add a completely new segment, or subtopic in the guide, and it will be published once reviewed and accepted.


Devs took part
in the survey.



Payment Service Providers

A side by side comparison of the most used Payment Gateways

What will you learn from this guide?


Merchant Accounts

or commonly known as Collection Accounts; from definition to a simple use case on how merchant accounts work.

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Payment Gateway

How do Payment Gateways work for card transactions; most popular Payment Gateways in Tanzania; and side by side comparison.

Jump To Section ↓

Payment Service Providers

Also known as Payment Aggregators; how they are different from merchant account providers; and so much more.

Jump To Section ↓


Tanzania Online Payment Systems.

This is the open source guide to payment services providers and gateways for Tanzania’s innovators,developers,founders and business leaders.

The purpose of this guide is to help you understand the options available for collecting payments through your website or mobile application.

In this guide we will cover the following :-

The fundamental requirements requested by the payment service providers i.e Selcom, DPO, Pesapal, flutter-wave, Tigo, Vodacom, Airtel, and others.

What is a Merchant Account, and an example case study to help you understand better?

What is a Payment Gateway, and what are common Payment Gateways in Tanzania

An illustration on how the Payment Gateway works for card transactions?

What is the Payment Service Provider (also known as Payment Aggregator), and their role in the payment ecosystem

What are common prerequisites required by Payment Service Providers (PSPs) in Tanzania to start collecting payments?

Should you register your own collection account or use a payment Aggregator for payment collection?

What Software Developers,and Tanzania's Tech experts say about Tanzania Payment Service integration based on customer support, API documentation and usability.

Tanzania Payment Gateway Providers comparison chart.

Brief about The Tanzania Government electronic Payment Gateway(GePG).

Behind the scenes of a credit card or mobile money transaction are complicated moving components that are unseen to the end-user;

What appears to the customer (buyer) as a simple push of a button comprises a complicated series of instructions across multiple levels until the merchant is paid.

The Tanzania mobile money market reached a value of US$ 54.5 Billion in 2021. Looking forward, the analyst expects the market to reach US$ 120.4 Billion by 2027, exhibiting a Compound annual growth rate of 14.2% during 2022-2027.


Part 01 : Merchant Account

What is a Merchant Account (also known as Collection Account)?

A merchant account, also known as a business collection account, is a particular bank or mobile money account dedicated to accepting payments from buyers.

This account receives funds from your sales, regardless of whether you are selling physical goods, subscriptions, or online purchases for your digital products.

This is just an account for collecting the transaction stream from your customers.

The revenue from all of the merchant’s transactions is collected in the collection account until the settlement day, depending on the terms and conditions with your payment service provider most settlements are done automatically every day when a certain threshold is reached.

What appears to the customer (buyer) as a simple push of a button comprises a complicated series of instructions across multiple levels until the merchant is paid.

To understand better how the entire payment processing ecosystem works, it’s important to recognize the difference between Merchant / Collection Accounts, Payment Gateway, and Payment Service Providers.


Name: Air Tanzania
Pay Bill Number or Collection Account ID: 787878

From the use case above Air Tanzania, has a merchant account with Tigopesa and Mpesa, just by chance they got the same Collection Account ID, as a business, they had to go through the registration to get their collection account with the mentioned payment service providers, one of the key information during the KYC is the settlement account, in most cases, it’s the merchant’s bank account.

All transactions done to this merchant account ( 787878 ) will be collected until a certain threshold has been reached, and they will be transferred to Air Tanzania’s registered settlement account.

Part 02 : Payment Gateway

What is a Payment Gateway?

Payment Gateways serve as a link between the merchant, the payment processor, and the (Collection Account or Acquiring Bank), informing the client of the status of their purchase.

To get a clear understanding take a pose while reading the two words “ Gate - Way “ so obvious right :)

A payment gateway is a system that manages payments, transaction encryption, and verification. It is responsible for establishing a secure connection between a merchant and a client.


From the Merchant Account case study, If you skipped that section of the Merchant Account case study, there’s no shame in going back and reading it:)

A registered business “ Air Tanzania “ has a collection account in place and is ready to receive payments.

For them to receive their payment through Tigo Pesa they will need an interface which their customer will interact with to make the payments, for this case it’s most likely Tigo Pesa or Mpesa to provide that interface also known as a “ Gate - Way “.

From the end-user point of view the Payment Gateway is the - USSD, Mobile App, or Web Browser that you interact with to complete the transaction, however underneath these interfaces there is a technology the actual Gateway, with an objective to safely pass the transaction data from customer to the merchant using secure protocols and encryption.

How Does a Payment Gateway Work for Card Transactions?

Figure showing payment gateway process for card transactions
Figure 1: Payment gateway process for card transactions
  • Step 01: From point A, the merchant's digital solution: Customer fills in their card information Card Number and CVV Code, and other required information i.e Cardholder name, billing address, etc.
  • Step 02: The payment gateway secures the card details (Card Number and CVV) for transmission between the browser and the payment processor using SSL: Secure Socket Layer encryption.
  • Step 03: The transaction information is forwarded by the payment processor to the card association (Visa/MasterCard/American Express).
  • Step 04: Then, the credit card issuing bank i.e CRDB, NMB, Equity, and others gets the authorization request, checks the credit or debit available, and then responds to the payment processor with a response code i.e denied or approved.
  • Approval indicates that the issuing bank has determined that the customer has sufficient funds to cover the transaction’s cost.

  • Step 05: Once approved, The money is then transferred from the issuing bank to the merchant bank, which deposits them in the merchant account.
  • The entire process is quick about 10 seconds max, of course, depending on your internet connection and payment gateway provider.

13 Popular Payment Gateways in Tanzania.

The following are the most frequent Payment Gateway providers in Tanzania, listed alphabetically.

  • Airtel Money by Airtel Tanzania
  • Cellulant
  • ClickPesa
  • Direct Pay by DPO Group
  • Fast Hub Solutions
  • Flutterwave
  • GePG by Tanzania Government
  • Halo Pesa by Halotel
  • M-Pesa by Vodacom Tanzania
  • PayPal ):
  • Pesapal
  • Selcom
  • Tigo Pesa by Millicom Limited

Many digital solutions rely on payment service providers (PSPs) to get access to payment gateways, which brings us to our next agenda, which will help us clear the confusion between the Payment Gateway and Payment Service Providers.

Part 03 : Payment Service Provider

What is the Payment Service Provider (also known as Payment Aggregator)?

A PSP (Payment Service Provider) will provide a full service that includes both technical payment processing and money collection on behalf of the merchant; this is likely the quickest way for you to begin collecting payments while avoiding the need to open merchant accounts with each financial institution i.e Banks, Card Providers, and Mobile Network providers (MNOs).

A payment service provider simply establishes a new sub-account under one major merchant account, aggregating all the other sub-merchants, when onboarding a new merchant.

Because Payment Service Providers aggregate all transactions from hundreds or thousands of different merchants under one account, they are commonly referred to as payment aggregators

Most Payment Service Providers provide their own payment gateway and APIs to connect and access their services;

Despite providing an out-of-the-box payment solution, it is required for a software developer to develop and integrate your digital solution and PSP’s API in order to start collecting payments through your mobile or website application.

Are you looking to integrate your digital solution with any of Africa’s payment service providers? Contact us for technical guidance and support. At iPF Softwares, we have helped our clients and partners in integrating and collecting payments with over 7 Payment Service Providers and Financial Services; learn more on our Service page.


The easiest way to start collecting online payment would be to directly connect with the payment institutions or mobile money providers (MNOs), however the process for opening a merchant account and integrate with each of the financial institutions and mobile money service providers it can be hectic so many red tape and validations you have to go through and onboarding shenanigans.

And this is where Payment Service Providers (PSPs) come into play; they have gone through the chaos so you don’t have to knock on doors to every each financial institution you wish to integrate with;

Instead of having 3 to 4 merchant accounts with Tigo Pesa, MPesa, Halotel, Airtel, Visa, Master Card, and others; Your business may accept credit and debit cards, mobile money payments, and bank transfers with a single connection to your Payment Service Provider of choice, i.e Selcom, Direct Pay, Azam Pay, Fast Hub, Beam Africa, and others.

Later on, We’ll go into the advantages and disadvantages of integrating with Payment Service Providers vs Financial Institutions directly.

What are common prerequisites required by Payment Service Providers (PSPs) in Tanzania to start collecting payments?

The following are the most common requirements requested by Payment Service Providers while onboarding your business and start collecting payments through their Payment Gateway in Tanzania.

  • An Existing Solution with a Proven business model or plan
  • Obviously, you will need an exciting solution and a proven business model that abides by laws and regulations to ensure compliance with all anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism rules, regulations, and laws issued in the United Republic of Tanzania. Payment Service Providers may require access to your solution before onboarding your business.

  • Proof of business registration, Mandatory Documents
  • You will be required to submit a copy of all documents as proof of your business registration, the Payment Service Provider will require:
    - A business License
    - Certificate of Incorporation
    - VAT Certificate of Registration (Optional)
    - TIN Certificate of Registration
    - One Director’s Identity Card ( NIDA or Driving License )

  • Payment settlement account and details
  • The payment service provider receives payments on behalf of the merchant, and after a certain threshold is met, the funds are transferred to your settlement account (often a bank account).

    Depending on your arrangement with your PSP, settlement is usually done every midnight or every last day of the month.

  • Terms & Conditions, Refund or Cancellation Policy
  • Typical terms and conditions agreement that explains how you will repay your customer if they cancel their service or seek a transaction reversal.

Difference between Payment Service Provider and Standard Merchant Account.

Payment service providers (PSPs) and merchant accounts enable online merchants to conduct digital transactions. While both allow you to take electronic payments, they have some significant distinctions.


It is easier to get set up and start collecting payments through multiple channels i.e Mobile money, Card

You will have to integrate with each Merchant account provider to collect payment through their gateway.

Some PSPs, have an initial integration cost

No initial integration cost

Commission Fees up to 3% Tax Exclusive, tend to be a little bit higher compare to Merchant Account

Better commission Fees up to 2%, depending on the volume of your transactions

Unexpected holds, freezes, and terminations are a significant risk.

There’s a low chance that your account may be closed or frozen unexpectedly.

Out-of-the-box solution with limited UI / UX improvements to fit your brand ID or improve conversions and performance.

Complete control over the user experience, conversions, and performance.

Part 04 : Developers Survey

What Software Developers say about Tanzania Payment Service integration.

The goal of the survey we conducted with software developers in Tanzania, was to get their general overview on their experience integrating with Payment Service Providers APIs.

Which are the most favored Payment Service Providers for Card Payments?

Figure 2: Most favoured payment service providers. Source: twitter.com/poll

In May 2022, more than 40 developers, technology experts and innovators based in Tanzania contributed to the survey.

Qn: Who has the best Card Payments Integration API for online payments in Tanzania? Based on Customer Service, API Documentation, Simplicity and Commission.

A close tie between Selcom ( 37.5% ) and Direct Pay / DPO Group ( 30% ), Azam Pay being the newest player in the market had 22.5% - while other mentioned PSPs were Pesapal and Flutterwave.

Qn: How simple was it to integrate with Payment Service Provider APIs?





Lukedo Kileha Profile Photo

Lukundo Kileha
Software Engineer | Tanzania

Lukundo has more than 7 years of experience in software development, he had the following to say when I interviewed him about his opinion on Payment Service Providers in Tanzania:

We have integrated Selcom and Direct pay before, both are great but unfortunately,most payment API’s in Tanzania are designed with imaginary business requirements at hand.

So far we have not come across one that provides a standalone API solutions, as a software engineer and innovator I need more than their designed checkout experience.

For some better user experience especially on mobile apps, did find both not to be a fit. You’ll go extra miles just to make their payment flow part of your UX if needed.

Couldn’t find sandbox for both, with DPO their testing account is provided and unfortunately they don’t refund your transactions once you read to go live.


Qn: How would you rate PSP’s API documentation ?



Needs Improvement

Well Documented

Donald Kagunila Profile Photo

Donald Kagunila
Software Engineer | Tanzania

Donald is a senior software engineer based in Dar Es Salaam, experienced in payment system integration he had the following to say when we asked him about his experience integrating Payment Service Providers APIs:

Overall Selcom payments are seamless compared to DPO, easy setup and takes less time to set up, the documentation is more detailed and easy to follow, cash out processes too are detailed and easy to follow.

Donald Kagunila | Software Engineer

Qn: How would you rate the quality of technical support from PSP’s representatives?





We really need an automated onboarding platforms. Most Payment Gateways and Providers need to contact a person, and it’s difficult to let them know what you’re looking for; all we need is an API that you can test quickly and ship your solution.


Part 05 : Payment Gateway Providers Comparison

Tanzania Payment Gateway Providers comparison chart.

Many online businesses struggle with selecting the best payment gateway for their digital solution.

What is the best payment gateway for your company? Without a multi-sided payment gateway providers comparison, no one can say which is better: Selcom, Cellulant, Direct Pay (DPO), Azam Pay, or Fast Hub.

To determine which payment gateway is best for you, you should first identify the payment gateway requirements that will meet your business needs.

Do you need to start collecting payments online, but don’t know where to start ?

With our 7 years of experience in software development, iPF Softwares has been fortunate enough to have integrated with more than 6 payment services providers in Africa, enabling payment collections in over 8 countries.

We have curated a side-by-side comparison for these incredible Payment Service Providers in Tanzania, we will let you to be the judge of who is better for your online solution.

Azam-Pay logo
Fasthub logo
Selcom logo
DPO-Group logo
Fasthub logo
Accepting Mobile Money Transfers?
Supported Mobile Wallets with push USSD?

Airtel Money, TigoPesa, Halopesa

M-Pesa, Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money & Halopesa

M-Pesa, Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money & Halopesa

M-Pesa, Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money

Tigo Pesa(Eazy Pesa), M-Pesa, Airtel Money

Supported credit / debit cards ?

Visa & Mastercard

Visa & Mastercard

Visa & Mastercard

Visa, MasterCard, American Express

Gateway Compliance






Bank partners integrated with (for settlements)
Banks in 34+ African Countries
Merchant Setup Fee
0 (No fee)
1,000 USD
1,000 USD
0 (No fee)
Depends on the project, but usually No Fee
Commission fee per transaction
2.0% to 3.5%
2.0% to 3.5%
Payment settlement frequency?
Daily or Weekly
Daily or Weekly
Realtime, Daily, Bi-weekly, monthly
Flexible. Agreed between client and Cellulant
Countries of Operations
Tanzania, Rwanda, Mauritius
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, + 5 others
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria + 17 others
34 countries is Africa
Supported Currencies
API Responses Supported
Offers Virtual Terminal

Part 06 : The GePG

The Tanzania Government electronic Payment Gateway(GePG).

It would be inadequate to write about Tanzania’s online payment service providers and gateways without discussing the Tanzania Government Electronic Payment Gateway:) (the GePG).

The Government Electronic Payment Gateway (GePG) is a centralized system that is linked to all available electronic revenue collection channels to facilitate electronic money transactions from the general public to the government and vice versa.

The GePG is the outcome of revisions made to the Public Finance Act of 2001 on June 30, 2017, which require all public monies to be collected through GePG.

The objective is to improve revenue collection management by unifying revenue collection procedures and by leveraging technology innovation and the usage of mobile payment platforms.

The system is being implemented in stages, with government entities increasingly being linked through a prioritizing framework.

To learn more about the Tanzania GePG's standard operating procedures click here!

We value collaboration and open source projects; this payment guide is open source and welcomes suggestions and improvements.

We will review the changes and update the guide monthly or bi-weekly depending on the volume of suggestions; we will include an acknowledgement section to thank everyone who has contributed ideas.

Part 07 : Conclusion

Why choose iPF Softwares as your Payment Integration Partner?

At iPF Softwares we’re focused on building large-scale software solutions that drive social and financial impact on communities and businesses in Africa.

With over 7 of years industry experience, we have been able to partner with a number of Payment Service Providers and Gateways across the continent.

Solutions we have built for our partner collect millions of transactions from more than 10 countries in Africa i.e South Africa, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Ghana, Ivory Cost,and Namibia.

We have been able to integrate directly with payment service providers operating in South Africa,Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania from Direct Pay, Selcom,MTN, Safari Com, Vodacom Tanzania, Tigo, Airtel to Halotel etc.

We have gone through most of the hurdles and crossed many red tapes that you won’t have to go through.

Do you know someone who could use this guide? Feel free to share :)

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