OyaPay, a Nigerian FinTech startup, has innovated its mobile payment solutions to leverage on the use of Bluetooth Low Energy and QR for offline payment process.
The startup, which began operating last year, describes itself as “Alipay for Africa.” The fintech startup has two types of mobile payment solutions; BluePay, powered by Bluetooth technology and ScanPay, which works by scanning a QR code using your camera.
BluePay leverages on the Bluetooth Low Energy wireless personal area network, and it uses as few bytes as possible. This technology allows in-store merchants to accept multiple payments from multiple customers simultaneously. The payment happens contactless and hands-free, thereby reducing queues at POS points.
ScanPay on the other hand, allows one-transaction-after-the other, with the merchants having to scan their customers’ QR code in order to accept the payments.
Abdulhamid Hassan, the founder, and CEO of OyaPay said, “Our mission as a company is to make a smartphone payments as ubiquitous as cash in Africa. We strongly believe that providing yet another new payment solution for merchants does not make a big difference, and that’s why we provide added value service such as targeted marketing and financial products to them.
For example, a merchant can use the money they received through OyaPay to buy financial products in no time, which can be resold to customers. Merchants can start selling airtime, and helping people pay bills.”
It might be important to point out that Hassan is a college dropout, who went out to start a new venture at the age of 17. His first innovation was an on-demand mobile Laundromat app. OyaPay came about as a result of his innovation after seeing failures with most PoS systems across Nigeria.
“In 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] introduced the PoS as a way to drive its cashless policy. However, it turned out to be too expensive for banks to deploy, coupled with consistent bad networks which has immensely slowed down its adoption,” Hassan continued.
“Besides bad network and banks’ reluctance to issue multiple PoS devices to one merchant, there is the issue of security and inability of PoS devices to read most cards. It is still a pain to pay offline merchants or accept payments without the current barriers to infrastructure or lack of trust.”
Hassan saw the increasing use of smartphones in Nigeria, and the beginning of new innovation of the old PoS system rolled out by the CBN. He thus came up with OyaPay. The startup has been running self-funded up to until recently when it closed a seed funding round. It will use the financial boost to roll out a pilot program with local universities and hopes to grow its customer base organically from there.
“We are also in talks with a major bank in Nigeria that is looking to deploy our solution for transit purposes. We are kicking off operations in Nigeria. Hopefully, as we make significant progress, we plan to expand our service to Kenya and Ghana.”