Ian Alleyne: ‘Paywise provides an innovative way to offer much needed financial services’

7 June 2017

PaywiseWhile many customers in rich countries view electronic payment methods as something natural and existing from times immemorial, in many places cash still remains a preferable way of transactions between the parties with the overall environment unconducive to fintech and financial inclusion development. Today we would like to present an exciting story about Paywise, a leading fintech startup in Trinidad and Tobago, where payment services market is somewhat different as compared with other parts of the world. The story was kindly provided by Ian Alleyne, a founder of Paywise.

Ian, could you, please, briefly introduce your company? What is your business all about?

Paywise is an alternative payment service. The company accepts cash payments on behalf of businesses and transfers money to their bank accounts. Payments are accepted at over 900 payment locations. In addition, we provide payment integration with merchant websites, market intelligence and back office interfaces.

Locally, credit card penetration is about 20% of the adult population. In other words, 85% of the adult population are non-credit cardholders with cash to spend but without any ways to make purchases online. Paywise addresses the issue by allowing local merchants to receive cash payments for online purchases. Broadly speaking, Paywise provides a safe and convenient way for businesses to receive cash payments from customers located anywhere in Trinidad and Tobago.

The company was incorporated in 2013 and it is regulated by the Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago and by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.

Who is your primary target audience for your payment services?

Our primary target market comprises small and medium size enterprises that seek an affordable way to accept cash payments from customers outside their geographic vicinity.

How businesses can connect to your payment processing platform? What equipment or software do they need for that?

Merchants can connect via our API. However, they may use other methods to get payment notification and confirmation. See our blog article: https://paywiseblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/26/3-ways-to-confirm-payments-in-paywise/

No special hardware is needed. Merchants can log into our system via mobile devices or a computer.

What are key advantages for customers who use your platform to make payments?

– Flat transaction fee (USD 0.75 per transaction)

– Convenient payment locations

– Easy setup

– National coverage, i.e., wide customer reach

How do you ensure security of transactions and accounts?

Transactions and accounts are secured using industry best practices. (Recently, we undertook a comprehensive exercise to review and bolster our security).

You provide direct deposits to bank accounts of your business clients. Are you working with banks? What are your key partners in the financial services industry?

Yes, we provide direct deposits to merchant bank accounts. However, we have no formal arrangements with banks. We deposit funds to clients’ bank accounts electronically.

Our key partner is International Game Technology that operates the National Lotteries Control Board network of VIA Bill Payment agents. The network comprises over 900 agents. Payments are made to Paywise via the agent network.

What challenges do you face in your market in Trinidad and Tobago? How strong is fintech sector positioned there?

The environment is very challenging. For many years, entrepreneurs have been seeking an affordable and accessible means to accept payments from customers across the country. Unfortunately, many SMEs cannot access merchant accounts in order to accept credit card payments online, and credit card penetration is low. Paywise provides an innovative way to offer much needed financial services.

The fintech sector is very weak, virtually non-existent.

What future plans do you have for your expansion? Where do you see Paywise in the long term?

Paywise plans to replicate its model in areas where our value proposition and business model makes sense. We see ourselves as providing enhanced payment services in societies where cash is the preferred and dominant form of payment.

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