ETHIOPA – Chapa Financial Technologies, a fintech startup, has launched its online payment gateway service for domestic and foreign payments.

The platform, which became operational on, August 17, 2022, gives Ethiopian companies access to a global market of 4.5 billion consumers and allows them to accept payments from them.

“This launch formally establishes our entry into Ethiopia’s financial sector, and we look forward to expanding our fingerprint on the development of the digital ecosystem,” said Nael Hailemariam, CEO and co-founder of Chapa.

Chapa obtained its Payment Gateway licence from the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) in May 2022 and has since begun onboarding merchants. Currently, Chapa supports eight international and ten domestic payment methods for processing payments.

Chapa currently accepts JCB, Visa, PayPal, Discover, UnionPay MasterCard, Diners Club, and American Express for international payments. Locally, Chapa processes the debit and ATM cards of the Bank of Abyssinia, Awash International Bank, Cooperative Bank of Oromia, Hibret Bank, and NiB International Bank.

Additionally, telebirr, CBE Birr, and Awash Birr — three mobile payment systems — have all been integrated.

Businesses must first pass KYC checks, provide business information like TIN, business licences, address, and contact information, and receive approval before they can begin accepting payments on Chapa.

For programmers, Chapa offers simple integration. By adding six lines of code — which Chapa refers to as “simple as a copy and paste job” — to their website or app, users can accept payments.

Additionally, Chapa has developed a community of programmers and developers who can help businesses integrate Chapa’s payment gateway.

As soon as the National Bank of Ethiopia allowed technology companies access to the fintech market in 2020, Chapa was created. Chapa was the third business to get the go-ahead from NBE after ArifPay and SunPay, out of more than a dozen that applied for a payment gateway licence over the past two years.

Chapa was founded by Nael Hailemariam and Israel Goytom, who have experience working in the technology sector across North America, Europe, and Asia. Chapa has also brought on a number of advisors with a variety of backgrounds from organisations like JP Morgan, Google, and LinkedIn.

Chapa is targeting the African market in addition to its goal of empowering and integrating 100,000 entrepreneurs and businesses into the global economy by 2025.

Along with giving large volume processors a discount on the transaction fee, Chapa also offers its merchants metrics, data, and analytics to help them gain insight into their company operations and make data-driven decisions.

In July this year, Chapa partnered with the largest deep learning institute in the world, Mila-Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute. Through this partnership, Chapa is able to advance its research in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, enabling financial inclusion for SMEs and businesses.

Chapa also hopes to use its previous initiatives as a springboard for its current endeavours. Last year, Chapa created in collaboration with Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), Flutterwave, and Zemen Bank to raise US$300,000 for the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In November 2021, Chapa launched Eyezon, raising more than US$6 million for internally displaced Ethiopians and conflict-damaged health facilities while collaborating with the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency (EDA) and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).

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