By Willy Byarabaha
It may still be a nascent industry but Uganda is increasingly making huge leaps in the digital payment technologies space.
Huge sums of money; be it person-to-person payments or business transactions, are being transacted conveniently, thanks to the innovativeness put up by Financial Technology Companies (FinTechs) such as Pegasus Technologies.
Established in 2007, the company has over the years gained prominence in the development of financial solutions for companies, emerging as a leading payment services aggregator in Uganda with vast experience in development, configuration, deployment, support and maintenance of financial and billing solutions for businesses and institutions.
It has for instance over the years developed solutions, including mobile money aggregation, mobile payments and remittances, loans and savings, software development and value added services such as SMS, airtime and data loading.
Its flagship product, PegPay payments platform, is currently being used by several institutions including banks, telecoms and utility companies such, retailers, Pay-Tv providers’ and schools, to aggregate and manage financial transactions for both internal and external purposes.
According to the company’s Projects Manager – JoshuaMandela, their platform is a robust and scalable payments system that handles over Ushs1.7trillion in transaction volumes annually for its aggregated partners.
How the solutions work
Under the mobile money aggregation solution, Mandela said, an organisation is able to collect money through a USSD, mobile application or web application. Organizations are also able to effect payments to their end user beneficiaries, either using the Pegasus platform or through their own platforms after being integrated with an Application Programming Interface (API).
The mobile payments and remittances solution on the other hand enables organizations to effect mobile payouts in bulk. One is only required to load a list of the beneficiaries and the amount to be paid out and money is sent through a preferred mobile money service provider platform.
To facilitate remittances, Pegasus partnered with several companies abroad to enable Ugandans in the diaspora send money home via mobile money.
Under the loans and savings platform, the FinTech partnered with companies that offer credit to end-users. One is only required to sign up on the platform of the company they want to get a loan from and fill in a loan request form. Once the company approves the loan, it sends the money to Pegasus, which then sends it to the intended beneficiary through a mobile money API. To payback or to save, money can be sent to the company’s account through the Pegasus our mobile money API.
The HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya commended Pegasus for its great role in accelerating financial inclusion in Uganda and for taking part in the 40-days-40-FinTechs project.
Alluding to a declaration he made at the FinTech Connect Conference in London in December last year, Kawooya said the next most disruptive innovation in technology is going to be financial technology and that it is likely to come from Africaand probably Uganda.
He explained that while talking about tools for accelerating financial inclusion, one of the most important things that is key in supporting this is interoperability.
“Today, the global community of financial technology believes that interoperability is one of the important avenues to use to accelerate financial inclusion and one of the ways to do that is to work with an open-source like Mojaloop to facilitate this,” he said, alluding to the Mojaloop software that seeks to boost financial inclusion by addressing the financial interoperability challenges in Africa.
To achieve interoperability, Kawooya said that collaboration is key.
“To facilitate collaboration, we will hold the 40-days-40 FinTechs project annually to ensure that those players that have innovative solutions that have changed how financial technology and financial inclusion is done are showcased and ensure that their stories are promoted to move further,” Kawooya said.
Pegasus is among the FinTechs participating in the 40-days-40-FinTechs initiatives organised by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.
The initiative seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.
Running for 40 days, the project will see the participating 40 FinTechs acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.
Pegasus also offers e-commerce services where organisations with websites or mobile applications are allowed to vend their services online and receive payments online.
It also provides wallet services, merchant collections, agency banking, e-banking, mobile banking and a solution that links dairy farmers and their respective cooperatives in Ssembabuleand Kibogo districts. Under this solution, farmer take their milk to the cooperative, which sells it, collects the money and disburse it to farmers via mobile money.