In a recent press release it was stated that with you being brought on board it would help Fastacash redefine the way people transact over social networks. Can you give us a breakdown of the redefinition?
“Transactions” over social networks are today mostly in the form short messages including text, pictures, and video. At fastacash, we asked the simple question: “Why can’t you also transfer value and make payments over the same medium?” This was the original premise that created the foundation for fastacash’s innovative value transfer and payment services through social media and messaging apps.
As an example of how we are redefining how people transact over social networks and messaging apps – we have our Request-to-Pay capability which allows for someone, who is making a purchase online or in a store, to ask someone else to pay for the purchase over social media. To me, a large part of the actual benefit is that the purchaser can add a social layer on top of their request to the payee. If you are asking for someone else to pay on your behalf, you may want to wrap it up or package it in such a way that the payee does not feel offended by the request — but instead feels that the request makes sense and that they’re happy to do it. We go from a “2D request” — something you could provide over a text-only message — to a “3D request”, which includes video, voice, music, pictures, emojis, and more.
Moving forward, we will continue making the end-user experience with the service even more transparent and easy. My experience at wearables company Jawbone has taught me that it all starts with solving a real problem for the end-user in such a way that it is completely frictionless for the end-user. If the end-user experiences any friction within the first few minutes of using the app, there is a large risk that they will not use it again.
What are some of the long term and short term goals that you have for building on the consumer-focused social payments solutions?
A long-term goal is to enable even shorter implementation times for our customers (B2B2C) than the current average we are delivering. We will be achieving this by standardising our solutions further. Think of it as a number of standardised LEGO blocks that can be put together in different ways to create different solutions for our customers.
A shorter-term goal is to continue to help our customers refine the end-user experience based on customer feedback as well as our own UX and UI innovation.
What challenges and opportunities do you see while looking to expand Fastacash into Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America?
Part of the challenge is to ensure we together with our partners keep the end-user experience locally relevant (localisation). As different markets have different socioeconomic factors, we need to be cognisant of how these differences impact the app experience. What works in the UK from a usability experience perspective does not necessarily work in the Middle East. Our experience in this area becomes a natural part of the conversation with our partners when expanding into new territories.
The continued expansion opportunities in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America are extremely promising for fastacash as a lion’s share of the world’s cross-border transactions are flowing within these countries. Remittances to developing countries amounted to $431.6 billion in 2015, an increase of 0.4 per cent from $430 billion in 2014, according to a 2016 report by The World Bank. Global remittances to high-income countries were worth $581.6 billion in the same year.
What advantages does Fastacash have over other social media payment platforms?
To begin with – our business approach is fundamentally different – we partner with other companies – like banks, remittance providers and other financial institutions to bring our capability to end-users. Another key difference is that we are completely agnostic and can thereby offer cross-border and domestic transactions over 24 social networks around the world. We enable various types of payments – be it P2P or P2M – across the digital and physical worlds. Additionally we support value transfers of multiple types – be it money, airtime, coupons, etc.
Our partnership approach allows us to expand quickly across regions. We have incredible partnerships we’ve cemented at the core of our business model. We’re proud to work with the likes of Xpress Money (one of the leading global money transfer companies), Axis Bank (India’s third largest private bank) and Oxigen Wallet (one of the leading wallet providers in India).
How do you see the payments industry evolving over the next five years?
The shift that we spotted ahead of many in the industry – of once-offline payments at physical banks or high street stores increasingly moving online – is only set to continue. That’s going hand in hand with a boom in social media, Internet, and smartphone adoption. That boom is not just in mature markets like the US and Europe, but also very much in high-growth emerging markets like India and Southeast Asia. People will continue to turn to their beloved smartphones more than ever, whether that’s to post an update to Facebook or Snapchat, send a message to their friends over WhatsApp or Messenger, make a contactless payment at a physical store – or make a value transfer over a social messaging app. At fastacash, we’re well positioned to capitalise on this behaviorial change. And all the while, we’ll continue innovating in the social payments space together with our great partners to make online payments fun and – well, social!