How do fees work?


The Zai fee engine is a powerful, customisable tool designed to handle almost any business model your platform may require. You can charge fees on both sides of a transaction allowing you to mix-and-match not only who to charge for a transaction, but also how and when.

Fee calculation

Platforms fees are calculated in two ways:

Fixed fees

A fixed fee is a set amount that you can charge your users per transaction.

Percentage fees

A percentage fee is a varying, percentage based amount that you can charge your users per transaction. Variations on percentage fees:

  • Minimum fee - A minimum fee is useful if your platform processes a large number of low-value transactions.
  • Capped fee - A capped fee is useful if your platform process high-value transactions, but you don’t wish to charge your users a fee above a certain dollar amount.


Zai handles the flow of funds from the buyer’s funding source, through to the seller’s nominated disbursement account. Throughout this funds transfer, the money never touches your platform’s bank account. We provide a mechanism for you to collect fees during the payment flow so that you only ever receive the fees you charge to provide your service, eliminating any perception that you might be the employer of the sellers on your platform.

Fee types

Payment method surcharges

Zai supports various payin options. Zai charges a fee based on the payment method used to fund the transaction. You as the platform can also create payment method surcharges to be added to the Item amount. The Fees API can be passed a parameter specifying to what the Fee should be applied:

buyer - Buyer
seller - Seller
cc - Credit card
int_wire - International wire
paypal - PayPal pay-in
paypal_payout - PayPal pay-out
direct_debit - Direct debit
multi_direct_debit - Multi direct debit

Buyer / seller fees

Buyers and/or sellers can be charged a fee. The buyer fee will be added to the Item amount while the seller fees will be subtracted from the amount they receive.

Disbursement fees

Fees can be charged for disbursements based on the disbursement account type.

Zai's fees

The Zai fee component is deducted from your platform's wallet every time an Item is completed. In general, Zai's fees are calculated on the "Item Total" amount for an Item. For example, on a $100 Item, you may charge a 5% fee, giving you $5 for that Item. Zai's fee for the service might be a total of 2%, leaving you with $3.

If you are looking to pass Zai's fees onto Users of your platform and want to calculate these ahead of time, contact our support team to discuss the best way to manage this in your workflow.

Receiving fees

Fees are applied to Items. They will add or subtract from the Item amount based on the User (buyer or seller) or payment method. Fees are disbursed when the funds are released.


All fees are refunded when initiating a full refund.

For partial refunds, a proportional amount is refunded for percentage fees. Fixed fees are not refunded for partial refunds.

Creating a fee

You can create a fee within the Fees API or within the Dashboard. If your fees are consistent, you may only need to create the fee once.

Multiple-item workflow fees

Zai fees are billed per item. Many integrations involve a multiple-item workflow which includes many items to move funds from a buyer to a seller (see here for example workflows using multiple items). If you are creating a multiple-item workflow, please contact our support team to discuss the best option for you in terms of how Zai's fees are calculated and applied.