Frequently Asked Questions

What is TradeSafe?

TradeSafe is South Africa's trusted third party in a trade between yourself and another party. We provide a platform to enable you to buy and sell second hand goods, safely and securely. We safeguard the funds and all documentation that has been uploaded onto the site until both parties are satisfied that the terms of the transaction have been met and only then do we release the funds to the Seller. We keep the funds secure until the correct goods or service have been delivered from the Seller to the Buyer. It's that simple!

Who is TradeSafe?

TradeSafe is a team of ordinary people who got together because they are tired of being scammed and hearing about people getting scammed. The team who founded TradeSafe consists of a Forensic Accountant from one of the Big 4, an MBA graduate from Oxford-Brookes University, an owner of a construction company, and two very technically savvy guys who made the site come true. We're exceptionally proud of this site and what it is doing to curtail commercial and e-commerce fraud in the country.

Who should use TradeSafe?

Buyers should use TradeSafe whenever they are asked to pay a deposit or full payment upfront before receiving goods or services from a supplier. Suppliers or Sellers should use TradeSafe to be sure the Buyer has the funds for the trade. Small Business owners can use TradeSafe as the funds will be kept safe until the 'seller' delivers per the agreement.

How does TradeSafe remain impartial?

TradeSafe is independent and has no interest in either party involved in the transaction. Our mission is to level the playing field between the parties, and encourage security in all transactions. We act on the instructions of both parties and if a dispute between the two parties arises we will direct the parties to arbitration and act on the written instructions of the independent arbitrator who is registered with the Association of Arbitrators (Southern Africa).

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 do I deposit the funds with TradeSafe and how long does it take for you to verify?

Through TradeSafe's Instant EFT. TradeSafe Instant EFT allows you to instantly pay TradeSafe via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). If you bank with one of South Africa's big four banks (ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank), the verification of the funds is immediate and we will instantly instruct the Seller to deliver on his/her contractual obligations.

If you bank with someone outside of the big four, then the transaction may take up to two to three days to clear.

Is a TradeSafe account safe?

This is very important. You will notice that when you log into TradeSafe, the website is encrypted under the security protocol https://. We have secured our site with Thawte. If you do not see https://, log out immediately and log in again.

All accounts are protected as they require a password and username. In addition, at certain stages in the trade, we will require a One-Time Password (OTP) which is sent directly to your mobile.

How do I know my funds are safe with TradeSafe?

Without your trust we don't have a business, so we take this aspect very seriously! The entity that holds the funds is a dedicated solely to the holding of the trust funds, namely TradeSafe Trust (Pty) Ltd. The company that holds the funds is audited by a registered independent audit firm. The technology overseeing the security of the funds is found in most banks. In addition, the funds are covered by fidelity insurance, underwritten by leaders in Broad Form Liability Insurance. Our business has been set up to prioritise your protection!

We are classified as a non-bank in South Africa's formal payment sector and have been accepted as a member of the Association of System Operators, an organisation that has a seat on the SA Reserve Bank Advisory Panel. Click here to view our acceptance by ASO.

What does it cost to register with TradeSafe?

Registration is free. Transactions cost a handling charge which is determined in line with the value of the deal. The minimum cost per transaction is R150,00.

What do I need to register with TradeSafe?

The site is kept exclusively for honest people and transactions. Other than the provisions in our Privacy Policy, TradeSafe will not, under any circumstances, disclose any details to other parties. You will need a valid cellphone number, your Identity number or a Passport number if you are not a South African citizen, and a valid email address.

Why do you need my ID Number?

TradeSafe is compelled by South Africa's Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001 (FICA) to verify the identities of the parties. The purpose of FICA is to assist in the identification of the proceeds of unlawful activity and to combat money laundering activities as well as the financing of terrorism and related activities.

When do you need the Buyers Banking Account Details?

Proof of the Buyer's banking account details is required if the transaction is greater than R25 000.00. This is because FICA requires TradeSafe to report all transactions above the value of R25 000.00 to the Financial Intelligence Centre. When this occurs the Buyers ID and Banking Details must match.

The authorities must see the full picture of the transaction that is taking place so the Buyer and the Seller must be visible if they require these.

What happens if I forget my Username and/or Password?

Look on the right hand side of the home page before logging into the 'My Account' box and click the "Forgot Password or Username" link. Follow the instructions and we will e-mail your username to the email address that has been registered with us, as well as instructions on how to reset your password.

How long does it take for a TradeSafe trade to process and complete?

It depends on how fast the Buyer and Seller take to respond to each other, and how long they take to action the steps in the process which ends with the satisfactory delivery of the goods and transfer of funds. In short it is up to you. No action will result in the transaction terminating after five days but a reminder will first be sent to the counterparty to prompt him/her for some action.

What is the Expected Completion Date ("ECD")?

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.

Is there a minimum or maximum amount that TradeSafe will accept?

There is no minimum or maximum amount when using TradeSafe. We do have a minimum transaction cost which is used to cover our costs.

What can I do if my trade invitation and trade status update e-mails don't come to my inbox?

Check your spam email filter to ensure that emails from TradeSafe are not blocked. Also check your junk mail folder and right click to authorise TradeSafe e-mails as "not Junk".

What do you mean by contract?

We have some contracts available to purchase for most of the industry sectors at a nominal fee (See "Legal Support"). This is offered as an additional service to assist the parties to the transaction, but we take no responsibility for these contracts. You can draw up your own contracts but always include an arbitration clause in these documents as that is the recommended way to resolve disputes should they arise.

What happens if the Buyer does not notify TradeSafe via the platform that he/she has accepted the goods or services that have been delivered?

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 accept the goods on the TradeSafe platform by the end of the ECD and does not indicate to TradeSafe that the trade is taking longer than expected, then the funds will automatically be paid to the Seller.

What happens if the Seller takes too long to deliver the goods/services or the goods/services are unsatisfactory?

The Buyer must firstly negotiate with the Seller . If he refuses to honour the agreement, then the Buyer can initiate a dispute on the TradeSafe platform.

If the Buyer is dissatisfied with an aspect of a trade or the goods/services have not been delivered before the end of the ECD, and he does not initiate a trade dispute, the funds will automatically be paid to the Seller.

What does an inspection period mean?

TradeSafe requires that an agreed inspection period is negotiated with the counterparty. The inspection period refers to the agreed timeframe that the Buyer has to inspect the goods. The inspection period begins when one of the following occurs:

  • TradeSafe receives confirmation of delivery from the courier's tracking service; or
  • The inspection period begins after an agreed number of days allocated for delivery during the negotiation phase. The period for delivery is initiated when the Seller indicates on the TradeSafe platform that the goods have been dispatched or the services have been initiated. Sellers are strongly urged to ensure that they receive an acknowledgement of delivery from the Buyer, together with a signature, which will serve as proof that the goods have been delivered.

How do I check the details and status of my transactions?

Details and status of a transaction can be viewed at any time by logging onto and clicking on 'My Trades'.

When do I supply the goods or services to the Buyer?

You will receive an email to advise when 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.

Why does TradeSafe keep the interest?

The fees for the service provided by TradeSafe have assumed the collection of interest to offset what would otherwise be higher administration costs. For this reason, we are able to offer a cost effective service that provides peace of mind.

Can TradeSafe be used for foreign currency trades?

TradeSafe is working on enabling this feature in the near future.

Who pays the TradeSafe fee?

TradeSafe has three options: the Buyer can pay, or the Seller can pay, or both parties can split the fee 50/50. This is up to the parties to negotiate.

When do I authorise payment to the supplier/Seller?

When you are satisfied that you have received your requested goods or services and the contract terms have been met.

What do I do if the product or service is not what it's contracted to be?

Register a dispute, then you can renegotiate revised contract terms or return the goods. For example, if the Plasma you bought has a scratch on it, you can negotiate the price downwards. Conversely, if you bought a boat and you received a motorcycle, you can lodge a dispute and negotiate any possible scenario that will be suitable for yourself. Remember, the funds are still in trust. If you cannot resolve the dispute, parties can choose arbitration whereby an independent arbitrator will adjudicate the matter quickly and justly.

What happens if I change the details of my trade?

TradeSafe allows parties to change the contract details as part of our dispute resolution process, but both parties need to agree to the new terms to effect this change.

What happens if we can't agree the new details of the trade?

TradeSafe will park the trade until both parties find a mutually agreeable solution or direct parties to our mediation, arbitration or litigation partners to get resolution. We will only act on the written instruction of a legal body.

Why should I use TradeSafe?

We would like to build a relationship with you, so that you can trust us to be your honest broker in any deal, transaction or trade. Remember you can trade with anybody directly, but every time you embark on a new trade you will be starting over with a stranger and that's risky. We remove the risk and supply the platform and infrastructure to enable you to transact at a minimal additional cost.

Does TradeSafe accept credit card payments?

No, we don't do credit cards for a very simple reason, they are risky …. people get their banks to reverse transactions and the funds vanish out of our account. If this happens after the Seller has sent the goods, it gets messy... and we get a bad name. Our reputation is our business, so no credit cards.

Does TradeSafe accept cheque deposits?

NO, NO, NO. Cheques are antiquated, and if a cheque if deposited, it always bounces. We do not accept cheques.

When will my TradeSafe fee be deducted?

We get paid when the trade is complete. The fee will be deducted when the request to release the funds is received and processed. In special cases, for example where the deal is cancelled or the Seller withdraws or reneges, the escrow fee will be deducted from the Buyer's funds when the funds are returned to him. It may seem unfair to the Buyer, but we will have incurred costs and we have to defray these costs. Look at it this way...the Buyer has not lost all his money!

Who is responsible for insurance the goods?

Insurance is usually covered by the Seller of the goods. TradeSafe is not liable for damaged goods.

Who pays for the delivery of goods?

The most common practice is for the Buyer to pay for delivery of the goods but this can be dealt with in the contract documentation. We strongly suggest that a courier company be contacted to deliver the goods to the Buyer and that you get a tracking slip to track the delivery. You can do all of this from the comfort of your couch and need never to meet the Buyer.

Any other Questions?

We like to think of ourselves as doctors or attorneys...we are practicing! So if there is anything we haven't thought of please let us know so by simply e-mailing us here. All suggestions are welcome.

Are you a Buyer, Seller or running a business?

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