Hi, what’s your background, and what are you currently working on?
My name is Wisdom Chidozie Ezimah.
I’m from Abia State, but I currently reside at Port Harcourt.
What is BingPay all about?
Our aim is to allow users to make every kind of payment they want to make in one app (Local or International). Though we are not a digital bank and we don’t give loans or interest on savings.
We are trying to build something that, whatever you want to pay for, it could be digital or physical, you can just come to one platform and do that regardless of the recipient or item’s geographic location. That’s what we have in mind while building BingPay. Very soon, we are going to be rolling out a lot of features, including allowing users to send and receive money to and from other countries.
You can buy airtime for someone in Nigeria and outside the country with over 700 global mobile operators; you can also buy data, pay for utility bills, and also buy gift cards. In fact, a lot of things.
Also, if there’s actually something you want to pay for and it’s not listed on BingPay, we offer a virtual card connected to your BingPay wallet that you can use to pay for that outside the platform at the best rates ever.
Since you started, how’s the revenue and traction?
I think we’ve done so much; we’ve achieved so much in just 6 months because we haven’t raised single external funding, we’ve been bootstrapping since inception and we’ve been able to get over 3000 active users. We’ve processed about 30,000 dollars transaction volume in just 6 months, and we’ve run over 4000 total transactions.
I think one of the things that pushed it so far was the fact that everything we were doing was affordable. Our data plans are unlike the ones you buy, they are less expensive. We give good data rates, the plans we offer are different.
Nowadays, data is being consumed faster, so once people see a way that they can actually buy data at a cheaper rate, that’s interesting. Another thing is that we give our users a 2% cash bonus on every airtime purchased. Also, there are some discounts on bills payment of around 1.5%.
The fact that it’s affordable is what led users from other apps to be on BingPay.
How are you different from other startups doing what you are doing?
Unlike other startups, we just look at what these guys are doing and how we could be better.
Secondly, we offer payment for a variety of things that other services do not have.
What are your marketing strategies to grow your business?
When I started BingPay, I posted on my WhatsApp status that cheaper data plans were available because that was the first thing we thought of to attract users; then a lot of people were calling me to ask how they could get the data plans because they were spending a lot of data and I was selling to them via Whatsapp.
We just started using personal funds to do some website works and social media marketing and it worked well for us and then we retain our users with quality services and make them more active by mailing them on how our products have been useful and how we are improving our services.
What we’ve done so far has just been social media and email marketing.
What were the biggest challenges you faced and the obstacles you overcame?
The first and major challenge we faced and are still facing right now is regulations. As a payment service provider, it’s really depriving us of many things.
We are also working on allowing users to send money in Dollars to anyone anywhere via cryptocurrency, but with the CBN ban, we can’t work on that anymore. So, it’s bringing us back to what we are trying to achieve.
Aside from regulations, I don’t think there is any other challenge we are facing right now.
Some time ago, we once got a call from our payment partner that we are running so many transactions and they needed to do some investigations, they got our account frozen and were requesting some licenses and all that. But that is the past now.
What motivates you?
One of my biggest motivations is our people. I love how they are being technology savvy. I love how so many Nigerians are embracing digital finance and tech products at large.
If we had brought up these ideas like 5-10 years ago and told people that they should store their money in an app, no one would listen.
But right now, Nigeria is like the #1 African country that’s working with Fintech with a $543 million market volume, and there is a lot more we can achieve in a short time frame.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources for you?
I don’t really have much time to read but I’m a fan of videos rather than books. I don’t spend time reading books, but I spend more time watching how things work and building things than reading books.
Recently, what I’ve been watching now is how Metaverse works; how it could change the way the internet will look in some years.
One of the videos I found is Everything Facebook revealed about the Metaverse in 11 minutes.
It just explains how Facebook is trying to build a new internet; like you could literally teleport to another place. They are just trying to build something really amazing, allowing people to connect with one another even better with just headset devices.
Another thing I’ve been watching is how NFT (Non-Fungible Token) works.
These are the 2 things I’m really interested in right now apart from finance.
Have you had any failed business?
In 2019, I was working on a logistics business. My team and I developed an app like Uber but we developed it for a popular Port Harcourt market.
What we were trying to do is that we were trying to do something different from Uber; so what we wanted to do is allow users to be at their homes and order anything from the market; so you can literally stay at your home and you’ll just pick a list of things you want to buy and the logistics person will go there, get it for you and deliver it to your home.
The market is very big, but very crowded which makes the place messy. Sometimes you’ll go there and not see what to buy especially on Saturdays.
That was what I was working on, but we were looking to raise funds and some other issues came up which caused us to abandon it. We didn’t have enough resources to build what we were trying to build then.
But if I was to go back then and build the same thing, I’m sure that I will succeed.
If you had the chance to do things differently, what would you do?
If I had a chance to start something different, that would be cryptocurrency.
Recently, I’ve been thinking of how businesses can accept cryptocurrencies, and how customers can make payments with crypto in seconds without the clutter.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
I would say they should try to be diverse. For example, if you are working on something, and someone is working on that same thing, you could just look for something else to make yourself different, it could be the pricing, and it could be how many services you offer, but just make sure that there is something different so you have what to advertise.
Don’t just jump to the crowd because entrepreneurs are actually doing the same thing and succeeding.
That’s the first thing I’ll advise any entrepreneur.
Try to make your product diverse.
When we were trying to set up BingPay, there were so many things we were saying we’ll work on but in just 1-2 months, we’ll see another person advertising it and we’ll be like someone is exposing this thing.
So, if you are thinking of something and you find out that someone else is doing it, don’t give up the whole idea. Look into what your competitor is doing and pick out some little differences and just add yours.
Make sure to have something to advertise that people will really love.
One of the pieces of advice I’ll give you is pricing and good customer relations; if there is a way you could just make the pricing a little bit affordable then I assure you that people will come for it.
What are your business goals for the future?
One of our business goals is maximizing the wide range of supported countries.
We want to launch in other countries. We are currently in Nigeria, but we want to be available in other countries in Africa, Europe, and the rest.
Also, we’re hoping to launch BingPay for Business, a service that will enable other Fintech firms to build amazing products with our APIs. And as well as power other local businesses to offer our services to end customers.