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Banking the Unbanked: PayCruiser, INC Provides  One of the Most Advanced Security Platforms for Commercial Financial Transactions

Banking the Unbanked: PayCruiser, INC Provides One of the Most Advanced Security Platforms for Commercial Financial Transactions

PayCruiser, Inc., a digital payments technology platform, provides reliable, scalable, and affordable payments solutions that enable businesses to get paid by the unbanked. The platform enables the unbanked to accept, access, and send money anywhere, anytime, without exposing themselves to the enormous security problems that carrying cash entails. The platform is a financially inclusive technology for businesses, the unbanked, and the underbanked.

PayCruiser was established in 2020 and is based in Los Angeles, CA.

Ousmane Conde, PayCruiser’s Chairman, spoke exclusively to CIO Bulletin. Below is an excerpt.

What inspired you to start PayCruiser? Brief us about the journey so far.

The unbanked (and underbanked) population totals 2.7 billion people, most of whom reside in developing countries. This group struggles to access the global financial ecosystem, which at the most basic level means that they must pay most of their monthly bills with cash.Platforms like PayPal, Square, Apple Pay, Zelle, Venmo, and Stripe are not active in these countries because the local populations don’t have the bank accounts or credit cards that are required to access these payment systems.

Solutions like Western Union and MoneyGram are both expensive, involve trips to local stores by both senders and receivers, and create a real-life security risk resulting from the necessity of both parties transporting cash across town.

To bridge these gaps, PayCruiser has created an enhanced digital payments technology platform that comes with robust built-in security.

PayCruiser’s mobile banking platform helps the 96 percent of Africans already relying on mobile money to freely transact outside the bounds of their mobile phone carrier.

Most of us in the U.S. take for granted the ease with which we move money to other parties, schedule bill payments, and buy items online. The least convenient method we know is writing a check and putting it in the mail. This isn’t the case in Western Africa.

In Africa, 65 percent of the unbanked population cannot read or write a western language and cannot open bank accounts themselves. The PayCruiser platform cost-effectively empowers this population to access the financial ecosystem and engage in financial transactions independently.

Let me tell you how Fatou, a hypothetical customer in Dakar, Senegal, pays her rent or mortgage:

Fatou’s payment transaction starts by her receiving money digitally from a relative abroad and then using a money exchanger on the street to turn those digital funds into hard Francs. To avoid keeping cash at home, Fatou brings the money she received to her mobile money provider to refill her digital wallet account. When Fatou needs to pay her rent, she must go back to her mobile money provider store to collect cash. Then, with the stack of the local currency, she must walk to the local police station and hand over the funds to the police in exchange for a document stating that the police are in possession of the money. The next step is for Fatou to take the cash receipt to the housing authority on the other side of town to prove that the rent or mortgage has been paid. Nearly a whole day wasted, requiring several hands to touch the money – and their taking a little for themselves as “fees” to facilitate the process.

The huge inconveniences, risks, and problems caused by transporting large sums of money around town to pay rent are unacceptable, but, until PayCruiser, they have never been addressed.

PayCruiser promises more than what a typical mobile payment provider offers. That said, how does your platform enhance lives, especially in the regions like Africa?

PayCruiser is how businesses get paid by unbanked customers. We connect the world’s 2.7 billion unbanked and underbanked population with the global financial ecosystem by turning their mobile devices into their bank account. This enables unbanked customers to buy and sell goods and services online, pay bills and send and receive money anywhere, anytime.

Mobile money isn’t new, especially in Africa, but since mobile money transactions have been limited to transactions on stand-alone mobile carriers, its use has been limited to particular kinds of transactions. PayCruiser offers the ability to transact without mobile carrier constraints, enabling the unbanked to pay both their rent and mortgage (which represent a third of their monthly spending) as well as handling all of the unbanked’s other daily purchases and other payment transactions. 

We believe that we are changing people’s lives for the good. For example, through their rent and mortgage payments subsidiary, ResidenceAfrica, PayCruiser has made paying monthly rents for 40,000 users in Senegal as convenient and straightforward as it is here in the United States while enabling the diaspora community to invest in real-estate back home through a fast and secured digital process.

Given a modern technology platform in place, how does PayCruiser manage compliance and mitigate risk?

Technology is critical to our success. And, yes, we’ve checked all the security, compliance, and fraud prevention boxes. As a ‘security first’ company running on a fully proprietary microservice architecture platform with multi-layer security running on-premise and, on the cloud, PayCruiser meets or exceeds compliance requirements from global financial institutions. Our flexible end-to-end distributed technology platform allows us to scale globally while easily allowing for customization to address local realities.

The Leader at PayCruiser’s Helm

Ousmane Conde, PayCruiser’s founder and CEO, has built information retrieval and A.I. solutions for Fortune 100 companies (Europe & the US) and led a diverse group of senior software engineers and mobile developers over the past 15 years. Growing up in West Africa, he was raised by a single mother and self-funded his education since high school, all while supporting his family. At 18, he founded his first company and led another startup to become a top 20 Big Data Solutions provider in the US. In 2015, he was a recipient of the ‘Black Engineer of the Year Award’ as a Modern Day Technology Leader for his work at The Boeing Company.

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). As of now, he has paused his graduate studies at Harvard to focus on PayCruiser.

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