You’re a student—and, by definition, broke—enjoying a brain cooler at Maracas. You have a bake and shark craving—but only doubles money. Mom would be happy to spot you some cash, but she’s down south . . . .
You started making jewellery out of recycled plastic and your friends went nuts. You posted prototypes on Facebook and now the orders are filling up your inbox . . . .
Your furniture design startup just went online and demand is growing. A big order comes in from Jamaica. . . .
Enter WiPay, the English Caribbean’s only payment facilitator, founded in 2016 by CEO Aldwyn Wayne, a man brave enough to leap into the pool with big fish like PayPal and Western Union. Coming from a business family, he has a degree in computer science from the University of Georgia and has already founded three other companies: Cedros Cable; Powerline Communications (you can thank them for the initial cameras on the highway); and software company, Cold Water.
WiPay is his fourth entrepreneurial venture. Built on blockchain technology, it’s a safe, discreet and secure way to move funds—with way less hassle. “The internet is a part of life, just like power and water. You can’t do anything without it. Providing services through the internet means you get paid through the internet.”
The internet is a part of life, just like power and water. You can’t do anything without it.
As he explains, the existing system for businesses wishing to set up accounts to receive payments online is drawn-out and expensive, especially when you consider the technical expertise required to set up an online gateway. “The banks give you a huge document for integration,” he sighs.
We in the Caribbean also have difficulty receiving payments via systems like PayPal. “Unless you have a US account, you can’t use their bank account feature. You can receive your payment by credit card, but apart from the credit card limit, if you want to access your cash, you have to pay a 4% cash advance fee.”
By contrast, registration with WiPay is entirely online, with no need to even visit their offices. “With WiPay, you can set up an account and get a free plug-in for your website. You can direct the money to any bank account in the Caribbean where WiPay operates.”
WiPay has over 100 locations in T&T, in supermarkets, small businesses, anywhere people congregate. They’ve also established a presence in Guyana, St. Lucia and Jamaica. Transactions can be made by credit card, personal or business accounts, or payment vouchers. Most of the time, it’s as simple as buying a cash top-up for your phone.
“We’re very proud of having come up with our own digital fiat system,” says Wayne, “serving both the ‘banked’ and the ‘unbanked’. It’s so simple you’d think it would have been done a long time ago. The need was there. We were fortunate to be able to fill that need.”
We’re very proud of serving both the ‘banked’ and the ‘unbanked’.
Being the first horse out of the gate was a great advantage. Large companies and government bodies have come on board, both out front and behind the scenes. “In some cases, you may not know that WiPay is behind it.” For example, Courtpay, a system that facilitates the payment of child maintenance, is one of their products. They also developed solutions for organisations like Massy Stores, Caribbean Airlines and Digicel. “They had a large customer base, so it was easy to integrate.”
In the near future, WiPay plans to take their products to the general public. Soon, Wayne promises, you will be able to send money via social media apps, or pick-up money sent from Arima at a paymaster location in Kingston. “The plan is to have the entire English-speaking Caribbean connected.”