“We are creating a digital ecosystem”, says director of DigitalPayGo

Founded in February 2019 by professionals in the banking sector, the Zambian company DigitalPayGo is a startup that offers financial services via mobile. A few weeks ago, the company was awarded FinTech4U, an acceleration program supported by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

Esther Kanduza

In addition to receiving an initial contribution of US $ 3,000, the fintech will engage with important players in the sector, such as Banco da Zambia. ATLANTICO talked to Esther Kanduza, the company’s marketing director. She told our team about how the idea of setting up a digital business came up and where the startup wants to go in 2020.

ATLANTICO – How did the idea to create DigitalPayGo come up? Have you been inspired by any ideas outside of Zambia?

Esther Kanduza – Our company was created to be a pioneering force in the FinTech industry in Zambia, Africa and the world over. Our B2B solution, Digital PayGo will be the leading digital shared financial services platform in Zambia thus bridging the gap between banks, mobile network operators, digital financial services and other FinTechs. Our founders are seasoned professionals from the banking and telecommunication industry who sought to solve the issue of ever-increasing CapEx costs whilst ensuring their consumers have convenience at their fingertips – using their mobile phones!

The approach was to build a Zambian switch that securely routes financial transactions between member institutions in real-time. We took the bold step of promoting interoperability between the major player in this industry and dreaming up a universal Quick Response (QR) code for all Zambians, in rural as well as urban areas. This universal QR code allows mobile money users and bank customers to make instant payments to merchants. This way, we encourage financial inclusion by increasing the spread of distribution and giving businesses what they need- consumer access to digital financial services from their phone.

We have been inspired by the likes of We Chat, Stripe, Ali Pay and Snap Scan. They showed that no matter how simple an idea may be, the important aspect is simplifying the complex moving parts behind the big picture. For us, it is creating a digital ecosystem.

ATLANTICO – What are the DigitalPayGo numbers today? How many transactions are being processed? How many users does the service have?

Esther Kanduza – Currently, we have 2 partners, a leading bank and mobile network operator in Zambia. We launched our universal QR code platform in 2019 with our banking partner. It was in a pilot phase and grew to more than 29 000 merchants with a total of over 14 000 transactions throughout Zambia. Our next offer, Shared Agency Banking, will start with a base of 200 agents.
ATLANTICO – What are the plans for 2020? How can FinTech4U help the company achieve its goals?

Esther Kanduza – 2020 has already gotten off to an exciting start and we aim to expand our partnership base by increasing institutions on our platform to a total of 10. These range from government bodies to Discover Financial Services (DFS) providers in rural areas. We also plan to engage with other FinTechs as we cement our place as the go-to switch for mobile payments.

The FinTech4U program will assist with getting our foot in the right doors. The one on one interaction with regulators presents access to information that would have otherwise taken ages to obtain or comprehend. The reputational effect of this accelerator cannot be overstated as it will place Digital PayGo on a pedestal as a trusted partner. The networking opportunity is also key in exchanging ideas and signing on the right partners early. All in all, it will be a wonderful learning curve that will make our platform better.