Infobip, a global cloud communications company for businesses and a leader in omnichannel customer engagement, has implemented a WhatsApp-based chat banking solution for fintech start-up Afridig Wallets.
Afridig founder and head of product development Zwelabantu Ntsubane says the Eastern Cape-based company is set to start operating in January next year, bringing to market a host of innovative digital payment solutions for under-banked individuals and businesses.
“Afridig offers digital payment solutions specifically tailored for small and informal businesses within the township and rural economy. Our core focus is on enabling financial inclusion that is affordable,” he says.
“We understand that data is a significant expense for our target market and so we chose to deliver our solutions via popular social media channels that are typically already present on an end user’s mobile phone.”
The company has partnered with various retailers, financial institutions and micro enterprises to create multiple deposit and withdrawal channels for its customers.
Ntsubane says that the key to providing these services is the chat banking solution implemented by Infobip, which can be accessed via WhatsApp and enables users to send and receive money, purchase prepaid products, transfer funds from mobile wallets to bank accounts and to make purchases at local businesses.
The chat banking solution enables payments to be made using QR codes and uses a payment gateway developed by Infobip partner Ukheshe to process transactions.
“Infobip’s end-to-end chat banking solution has saved us a huge amount of money. Considering the complexity of our solution, we were looking at various third-party integration options, but app development costs are incredibly high,” says Ntsubane.
“Infobip was able to provide us with a solution at a fraction of the cost, which is very important in our case. Cost structure has a massive impact on our business model, as we are a fintech that is seeking to drive real financial inclusion for customers.”
Afridig will also pilot an innovative taxi payment solution that will not only simplify paying for taxi rides for passengers, but will address the inefficiencies and challenges faced by taxi owners by giving them stricter financial control over the earnings generated by their vehicles.
Ntsubane says Infobip was instrumental in enabling this offering, which required the customisation of its chat banking solution to allow third parties to receive payment notifications via WhatsApp. He explains that cash payments received by taxi drivers from passengers historically posed a problem for the taxi owner, who had no way of verifying the payments received by their drivers.
No accurate oversight
“Essentially, the taxi owner has no way of accurately knowing how much a particular vehicle is making on any particular day, as taxi drivers often don’t cash up the entire amount earned, but keep some of the money for themselves,” he says.
“At the end of the day, this can have a huge impact on the bottom line, especially in the case of owners who run a small fleet of one or two taxis. These are small business owners who have debt obligations and overheads to meet and cannot afford to lose money.”
The solution works by enabling passengers to load money onto their Afridig e-wallet and then scanning a QR code that is prominently displayed inside the taxi. They then need to simply enter their seat number and the payment amount. The payment is then automatically sent to the taxi owner, while the driver receives the payment notification.
Ntsubane describes working with Infobip as an “incredible experience”, saying the company went above and beyond to solve challenges and bring innovative and creative ideas to the table to ensure that the solution works as desired.
Matthew Botwood, Enterprise Account Manager at Infobip, is similarly happy with the collaboration, saying that Infobip was glad to work on a project that would have a real impact on people’s lives.
“This project definitely stood out from the many projects we have delivered this year. This wasn’t a standard deployment, so we had to be agile and flexible in terms of delivering on Afridig’s vision. It was thoroughly interesting journey to walk, and we thank Afridig for enabling us to add a unique use case to our global catalogue” he says.