The Silicon Review
Opening a bank account might seem like an easy task for people globally, but the truth is that nearly half of the world’s population doesn’t have access to bank accounts. Generally, unbanked and underbanked people use alternative financial services like payday lenders, money orders, or check-cashing outlets to handle their needs. Unfortunately, the number of unbanked people worldwide is still very high (more than 2.7B people worldwide). As a result, many financial institutes and banks are investing in solutions to connect with underbanked or unbanked customers.
Various companies in the digital world provide excellent services to connect businesses with unbanked people, but PayCruiser stands out from the rest. PayCruiser is how businesses get paid online. Companies can now get paid, send and receive funds in near real-time, without exposing customers’ bank accounts or credit card information. In addition, PayCruiser’s patent-pending mobile payments technology connects businesses with the other half of the world’s population, the unbanked – previously excluded from the global financial ecosystem. Many enterprises and government organizations currently use PayCruiser daily to accept payments from unbanked customers in healthcare, real estate, and e-commerce.
In conversation with Ousmane Conde, CEO of PayCruiser
Explain your services in brief.
We bring 2.7 Billion unbanked people into the global financial ecosystem. We do this through our technology; a no-code cross-border payment and remittance platform that provides the following:
“In a sense, we are the neobank for businesses and the unbanked.”
Q. What are the challenges addressed by your payments solution?
A broken banking system forcing people to carry cash around: ATMs & debit card readers’ failure rate is above 55% in our target markets. Consequently, even if you own a bank account or credit card, you still have to rely on cash to conduct your daily transactions. In West Africa, with over 360 million unbanked people (more than 86% of the population) and a broken banking system, carrying cash around is the status quo. Needless to say, that, this situation is exposing already vulnerable people to the constant fear of theft and burglary, keeping in mind that a vast majority of unbanked people are women – This is a problem!
Businesses struggle to obtain payments from unbanked customers: In our target markets, more than 80% of utility and bill payments are made in cash; the lack of reliable payments and transportation infrastructures is causing people to miss payments deadlines and fall into further despair.
The unbanked struggle to get paid and save money: In our target markets, more than 97% of unbanked people are not able to save money: They’ve lost trust in most financial institutions in place; they struggle to receive payments from businesses, individuals, government institutions and humanitarian cash assistance programs. They need access to reliable financial services as a pathway out of poverty, inequality, and despair – This is a big challenge to solve!
Q. How do you leverage new technologies to improve customer experience?
Our technology infrastructure is built on a security-first and proprietary distributed ledger; our fast and flexible end-to-end distributed technology platform allows us to scale globally while quickly enabling customization to address local realities. However, we’re not only solving this problem with technology. It takes a combination of personal experiences, boots on the ground, flexibility, security, speed of delivery, and most importantly, a technology built with the unbanked in mind. For example, 65% of the unbanked population cannot read or write a western language and cannot open bank accounts by themselves. Our platform cost-effectively empowers this population to access the global financial ecosystem and engage in financial transactions independently.
Tell us in brief about your patent-pending mobilepay technology:
96% of unbanked people in our target market now have access to mobile devices. Therefore, it was paramount for us to provide a mobile-first neobanking solution to our unbanked customers, allowing them to send and receive funds anywhere, pay bills, make online purchases, and save money anytime. And so, we built the mobilepay patent-pending technology to enable businesses and the unbanked to do all of the above (which are basic things we all take for granted in the western world).
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
The PayCruiser mobile app available on AppStore and Google Play enables businesses and individuals to accept payments from anywhere worldwide. They can also send free-cross border remittances to West Africa and with the best forex rates in the market. In addition, we recently released a white label rent and mortgage payments app (SNHLM) in partnership with the Government of Senegal Housing authority to provide digital bill payments alternative to their +80,000 tenants. Last year, we launched Africa’s first mobile money & credit card payment terminals for businesses. With these reliable credit card and mobile money POS terminals, companies can now accept digital payments from their customers without worrying about network/system malfunctions.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
Banking the unbanked is what keeps us up at night. We won’t stop innovating until this problem is solved globally. It is unbelievable that nearly half of the world’s population still doesn’t have access to bank accounts or credits cards, although 97% of these folks carry a “computer” in their pocket. With our upcoming PayCruiser cross-border neobanking app, anyone with a connected device will be able to access, accept, send and save money anywhere, anytime. We are very excited about the future we’re redefining for the unbanked community. Our mission is to include this population into the global financial ecosystem to escape poverty and prosper – basically, the “American dream we all cherish.” We’re already solving this problem in West Africa, and we can’t wait to do the same for the rest of the world’s unbanked population.
Meet the leader behind the success of PayCruiser
Ousmane Conde, the CEO of PayCruiser, has built and led information retrieval and A.I. teams for Fortune 100 companies (Europe & the U.S.) and led diverse groups of senior software engineers and mobile developers for the past 15 years. In 2015, he received the Black Engineer of the Year Award, Modern Day Technology Leader, for his technical leadership and contribution while working at Boeing as a lead developer.
Growing up in West Africa, he was raised by a single mother and self-funded his education while supporting his family. At 18, he founded his first company. He led another startup to become a top 20 Big Data Solutions provider in the U.S. Ousmane is a two-time Google Scholar and has received 12+ degrees and certifications in Computer Science and Leadership (UCLA, University of Lyon, Florida Memorial University, California Polytechnic, and Pomona). He has paused his graduate studies at Harvard University to focus on PayCruiser.