Blending technology with innovative financial services is something that drags us from the time of barter to the time of bitcoin. In today’s world, over 95% money is virtual one and billions of transactions have been made through wire in every minute.In a country like Bangladesh, people still rely on paper money but the idea of plastic money has started to find its footing, especially in the urban areas in the last one decade. People have also gotten accustomed with other payment options like bKash, Payza and other mobile wallet platforms. Banking on that, Mohaiman Mostafa, a young entrepreneur has come up with pay365, a newest addition in the mobile wallet market of Bangladesh. He recently sat with Dhaka Tribune and talked about pay365 and his plan with it.
Right after completing my graduation in Finance in 2013 from The Ohio State University, USA, I wanted to come back to Bangladesh and contribute something valuable for the country. Although it was a hard decision for me to come back because I was working for a fortune 100 company called Nationwide Insurance, I didn’t stop to reconsider. All I did was try to find ways to motivate myself to come back. I did not also want to do something that will benefit me only monetarily. Representing Bangladesh to the world and take Bangladesh to the next level was my primary goal.
While I was in Ohio, I started a fund raising campaign with Bangladesh Student Association at OSU and with that money, we built a school for underprivileged kids with Jaago foundation. These activities helped me network and find a mentoring partner Tanzim Shams with whom the idea of Pay 365 came up. The idea was simple: mobile wallet and payment by a QR code or NFC, an idea new to Bangladesh. But implementation seemed almost impossible. I even opened the company FyneTech in Columbus, Ohio to associate and educate myself on the IT industry. Finally after we had worked out a business plan and software architecture, I decided to come back in 2014 and build Pay 365 leaving behind a lot of opportunity, IT outsourcing projects, green card and all that.
During the planning stage I was aware that my childhood friend’s father Mahboob Zaman (former president of BASIS) owns an IT company. I called him once and he invited me for discussions. The whole journey started with DataSoft. The security aspect of Pay 365 was almost unknown to us. DataSoft is one of the leading IT companies in Bangladesh and has provided IT solutions to most of the banks in Bangladesh. We contacted Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) and our project started end of 2014. There were a lot of struggles from then on. We had to work a lot on the tokenisation platform created by DBBL, build security portals by complying with VISA, mastercard and Bangladesh Bank which were major security requirement for a mobile wallet like Pay 365. In short we had to make it as it is in USA and similar to what Apple pay and Google Wallet is in USA.
The payment industry is evolving every day. First it was cards then mobile banking now payments have become easier on your smartphone.
I have to say that throughout the whole journey the only motivating factor was the trust and belief that Mahboob Zaman had on me and our team at DataSoft. We faced no obstacles regarding budget or contacts but as we were building this for the first time in Bangladesh, we spent a lot of time on research. Of course I initiated the idea and was in charge of the whole project, but it’s because of Mahboob Zaman that we have built successfully the first mobile wallet in Bangladesh. This is because Mahboob Zaman believes in changing lifestyles and has contributed a lot for the IT industry of Bangladesh. He believes that Pay 365 will have a transformative effect on people’s lives in a developing country like Bangladesh by bringing easier, faster and safer payment method. Of course I had the support from my friends and family but his support for a start-up company and encouragement towards young entrepreneurship is indeed rare in Bangladesh.
Pay 365 has 3 parts Easy pay, more secure than your physical wallet, and Rewards. User will have to only tag their bank’s information during sign up ONCE. They can also save multiple bank accounts. They don’t have to carry their cards to cash with them anymore. DBBL securely saves the bank information and every time some pays they will need to have their money in their bank and they will go to their favorite store and pay. The payment process is simple you just have to go to the app; tap on pay, a QR Code will generate and just scan the phone. Not only that, we also have reward program where users will be getting rewards every time they use the pay system. The higher they go up in the membership level the more the rewards they will get.
It should because this is a concept that is successful in most developed countries in the world. Even in India they have Repay and Pay TM. We have more features and surprises coming up. The payment industry is evolving every day. First it was cards then mobile banking now payments have become easier on your smartphone. Smartphone penetrations are also growing in Bangladesh because of cheaper phones. Hence we have to go digital now. We have Dutch Bangla Bank as an acquiring bank now and we are planning to bring other banks on board soon. We are going live in the month of September and user can then use this app in most retail outlets in Dhanmondi , Gulshan and Banani.
Changing people’s spending behaviours and habits can be an obstacle because people first need to understand that smartphones are much safer than your physical wallet. It’s even safer than your card and cash. It’s also important to teach people how to use the app. The challenge will be in conversion marketing and I hope we succeed on that. I also think country’s economic stability is also an important factor because we depend on businesses like e- commerce, retail outlets like coffee shops and restaurants, universities, departmental stores where people will actually go and spend. It’s important that businesses grow and the merchants can use this app as a tool to increase their business growth. Bringing all merchants under one platform can also be an obstacle because pay 365 also facilities merchants to make their retail marketing strategy more efficient, find the best fit and track the demographics and lifestyle, and make the best use of data analytics. Not all merchants are ready to understand and accept this concept in Bangladesh yet.