The Prepaid Press, a leading multimedia trade publication in the prepaid industry, has featured their interview with Alastair Graham, CEO of Payza, in the latest issue of their print magazine and on their website. Graham spoke to the Prepaid Press about Payza’s services and how they are bridging the gap between emerging and developed marketplaces.
5 Minutes With Alastair Graham
Payza is bringing affordable online payment processing to the global marketplace, focusing on developing countries.
Arlene Hauben (The Prepaid Press): Thank you for talking to The Prepaid Press. I have heard that Payza has a unique mission in the payment transfer space and that you are focusing on the underserved market in emerging countries. What is your target audience?
Alastair Graham (Payza CEO): We are bringing the world of affordable online payment processing to the global marketplace, that means focusing on developing countries, as well as operating in developed countries, which online payments has traditionally serviced.
AH: Do you provide money transfer services to individuals and businesses?
AG: Yes. We serve a broad range of customers, covering both consumers and businesses. Our services can be utilized for both personal remittances and for corporate disbursements. This means that family and friends across the globe can send and receive money; while businesses can pay their employees or affiliates wherever they live.
AH: What will Payza members be able to do?
AG: Our members can send and receive money, shop and sell online, and pay or get paid online. The platform is designed to provide a superior user experience whilst providing a cost-effective and secure online payments service. Members have the option to add funds to their Payza e-wallet via numerous methods, such as bank transfer or wire, credit or debit card. Similarly, members are provided with similar choices when they wish to withdraw their money from their e-wallet.
AH: I understand that the platform also specializes in e-commerce and m-commerce payment processing.
AG: Well, e-commerce is our speciality and our online experience is fully optimized for mobile browsers. We see great potential in the m-commerce market for our services and significant growth, but it is the e-commerce sector that remains by far the strongest.
AH: How long has Payza been in the payments space?
AG: Payza was launched in May of 2012. The platform has, however, been around since 2004. The UK holding company, MH Pillars, acquired the platform in early 2012, redesigned the interface and improved key functionality before the official launch of Payza.com.
AH: Do you only perform payment transfers from person to person or is it more for business to business?
AG: Our services are person to business through a shopping cart and person to person enabling people to send money back home. We enable corporate disbursements business to person.
AH: Is Payza similar to PayPal?
AG: In some ways, yes, as far as online payments go, but we provide different services and operate in different markets than PayPal.
AH: In terms of geographic markets, what is your focus?
AG: Payza focuses both on emerging markets and developed markets. There is some geographical and market overlap, such as with developed markets like the US, but we are unique as far as target audience.
AH: In what way?
AG: We offer our platform across the globe, including the US. Because we are not the only online payment processor, there is bound to be some overlap with other payment organizations.
AH: How is Payza unique from your competitors?
AG: We are bridging the gap between underserviced markets with developed ones. That’s our competitive advantage – bringing the global online marketplace to regions that have been overlooked by the industry.
AH: I know that you launched SimplySendBD for Bangladesh nationals this past December. How does that service work?
AG: This new online service enables Payza members to send money to friends and family in Bangladesh, regardless of whether or not they have a Payza account. We are very keen on making sure this platform system works well.
AH: Why such intense interest in Bangladesh?
AG: Bangladesh also provided us with the opportunity to map out how we enter a new, underserviced market. Similar service offering are subsequently being rolled out in other parts of Asia.
AH: Is Bangladesh a developing, growing market? Why did you choose that particular geographic location?
AG: We chose to enter Bangladesh precisely because it is a developing and growing market. Before Payza entered the country, Bangladeshis had no affordable or convenient way to receive payments from beyond its borders. The government realized that without an affordable solution to bringing international money into the country, the economy would not be able to keep growing.
AH: Are you partnering with a local bank over there?
AG: Because Payza became licensed by the country’s central bank, the first online payment processor to do so, by the way, we were allowed to partner with a local bank in order to utilize the Bangladesh Electronic Financial Transfer Network (BEFTN). Because our services are much more affordable than what was previously available to the country, more of the $14 billion plus in remittances that enter the country on average per year will stay in the pockets of those who need it the most, the Bangladeshis.
AH: Does that indicate that there are many Bangladesh people living abroad?
AG: Yes, there is a large Bangladesh community around the world. The majority of Bangladesh nationals living abroad send money back home on a regular basis. With Payza, they now have another more affordable and more convenient option to send their money home, to their family and friends, directly from their computer or mobile device. This is much easier than locating and traveling to an existing remittance outlet that is always much more expensive.
AH: What other countries do you serve or plan to serve?
AG: The model we are working with either is or will be deployed in most of Asia and Latin America. Because every country is different in terms of regulations and market needs, if we want to keep expanding our services to more and more regions, we must ensure that our model is flexible enough to accommodate. This requires extensive work behind the scenes.
AH: What is one of the biggest challenges in working with developing countries?
AG: Developing countries today find themselves where countries such as Canada and the US were 10 years ago. What this means is that they have remittance options available (routes to get money into the country) which are usually costly and far from convenient. Once the money enters the country, not much can be done with it outside of its borders: there is little, if any, service for corporate disbursements and e-commerce. If developing countries wish to break through into the global marketplace, they will need to have the proper financial and governing structures in place.
AH: What would you say that your main goal is or your mission in providing this service?
AG: By providing emerging markets with the tools to vie in the world of e-commerce transactions and international payments, our goal is two-fold: to facilitate developing countries entry into the global online marketplace and to keep more money in the pockets of our members because our services are affordable.
AH: What do you hope to achieve in 2013?
AG: 2013 will be a very exciting year for Payza. While we will enhance our current offerings to markets already serviced by Payza, we will also penetrate new regions previously out of reach. •
Alastair Graham is CEO of Payza. Visit Payza online at www.payza.com.
Source: 5 Minutes with Alastair Graham