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Khalid Easa NA Al-Kaabi & Safarudheen Farook from Qatar: raising standards for the digital payment industry with SPENDWISOR.

By Catalina Correa, Los Angeles

March 2021

Over the past few years, digital technologies are being embedded into core value-generation processes in society and businesses by creating innovation. The growing number of millennials with their inclination towards digital-first approaches is putting organizations under constant pressure to innovate; thus, making retail apps a top priority for retail businesses to consolidate clients presence and purchase

Spendwisor Inc, a fast-growing mobile payment startup in Qatar is redefining the retail ecosystem through innovative business-to-customer marketing and begin to force industry players to take a deep look at this nugget.

Left to right: Mr. Safarudheen Farook, Mr. Henk J. Hoogendoorn, and Mr. Khalid Easa NA Al-Kaabi

People are increasingly using their smartphones as wallets. The global mobile payment market is projected to hit $12.06 trillion by 2027, a CAGR of 30.1% between 2020 to 2027. As per a Qatar Central Bank Report of 2018, the serviceable available market in Qatar is estimated to be USD 40 billion. 

The COVID-19 crisis has hastened the transformation from cash to digital payment. The retailers are adopting technologies that enhance the safety of the shopping experience with little contact between the service provider and the customer.

However, most retailers (70% of SMEs) in GCC and around the globe do not have a Point of Sale (POS) machine, a credit card reader. Banks in this region do not entertain the small retailers due to the high costs of operation, lower return on their investments and a lack of verified documents.

The opportunity to digitize SME payments is significant; the World Bank Group estimated that out of the $38 trillion worth of payments that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises accept from customers each year, $19 trillion are made in cash. A large portion of these cash payments is made in developing economies, where the penetration of debit/credit cards payment acceptance machines and system are limited. 

Spendwisor is offering a solution for this underserved segment. The Spendwisor mPOS can be downloaded to any smartphone and start accepting credit/debit card payments with digital or printed QR codes. 

“Spendwisor is a very promising Fintech start-up. Supported by Qatar Fintech Hub, its innovative app and technology solution enables merchants and retailers to build up a loyal and active consumer base. I wish Farook and his team every success in their exciting journey,” says Henk J. Hoogendoorn, Managing Director, Financial Sector Office, Qatar Financial Centre. 

The founders Safarudheen Farook and Khalid Easa NA Al-Kaabi are industry veterans with over 15 years of experience in the Fintech industry. Before Spendwisor, Safarudheen Farook had successfully started and existed a leading fintech startup in the GCC. He had been a core member of several fintech startups in Dubai and India.

Khalid Easa NA Al-Kaabi belongs to a well-known business family in Qatar, the Al-Kaabi Family. After he graduated from Arizona State University, Khalid ventured into digital and tech entrepreneurship. His is a popular MSP platform for online food ordering in Qatar.

Spendwisor Executive Team in Doha, Qatar – Feb 2021

Spendwisor has a diversity of experiences and talents. Gender diversity is a priority for Spendwisor. Women play a key role in the company (over 50% of the employees). This culture of diversity in Spendwisor drives performance and innovation, contributing to its growth.  As part of its efforts to support inclusive growth in Qatar, the Spendwisor promotes the principle of gender equality in partnerships and investment. The Spendwisor works closely with women-owned businesses and actively uses women’s feedback to enhance its products.  

The retail giants spend trillions on advertising. The potential users are bombarded with ads and social media posts. There is a lack of targeted content. The audience trains themselves to be ad blind. According to a recent study, only 2% to 3% of the overall spending on marketing is converted into sales. 

The millennials expect an intuitive user experience. ‘While consumers pay by card or cash, they receive rewards through a loyalty card or app. This is an inconvenience for the shopper. Today’s shoppers expect a seamless and rewarding shopping experience.’, says the Co-founder and CEO Safarudheen Farook

The Spendwisor is a good example of a business-to-customer Fintech marketing approach. ‘Spendwisor is a retail industry-led mobile wallet with an integrated loyalty programme. It is transforming the retail ecosystem by providing an innovative digital platform that accepts mobile payments as well as rewards the shoppers with points and cashback,’ says Farook.

The algorithm of Spendwisor’s mPOS app studies customers’ shopping habits and tailors the reward programs accordingly. This innovative loyalty program helps the retailers to target the right customers and offer a personalized reward experience. This helps the retailers to spend their marketing budget more effectively.

We are the Robinhood of the Middle East.’, says Co-Founder Khalid Easa NA Al-Kaabi, ‘The data belong to the customers. The big tech monetizes shoppers’ data. But Spendwisor returns the money to the shoppers. A customer gets paid when he uses the Spendwisor mobile wallet to make a purchase. A cashback is guaranteed on every purchase through the mobile wallet.

This creative strategy is getting recognised. Spendwisor bagged the second prize at the Idea Camp Competition (2021) by the Ministry of Transportation and Communication (Qatar).

Spendwisor mWallet app can be download by the customer, free of charge to link their credit/debit card to this app and start making payments from their smartphones. The mWallet app scans a QR-Code to make the payment, tracks the service providers, sends and receives the payment requests and has a personal finance manager.

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Spendwisor mPOS app is meant for retailers. Like Square who introduced an innovative way to accept card payments without the use of a traditional, clunky, and expensive POS device, making it possible for any SME to convert their smartphone or tablet into a mobile POS (mPOS) device with a $10 card reader to accept credit, debit cards, and NFC payments, Spendwisor is introducing a software only app (Spenwisor mPOS app) in GCC region for SME merchants to start accepting credit cards payments without any additional hardware requirements or costly paper works. It can be download to any smartphone to start accepting credit/debit card payments. It has features like daily/weekly and monthly sales reports, approved transaction details, payment request features and offers different profiles (e.g. cashier, branch manager, group manager) with different roles and permissions.

Spendwisor is revolutionizing the payments sector by making it extremely easy for a wide variety of small businesses, from a single vendor at a farmers’ market to multi-location businesses, to fully digitize their payments with an integrated software card reader solution. Our mPOS systems help to manage sales, invoices, accounting, inventory, and payroll. An important benefit of our business model is that we can stand-in as a merchant of record for small businesses that otherwise might not qualify for a merchant account, taking on certain risks and responsibilities in the card network schemes and rules.

The embedded loyalty programme offers the WiserCash (a cashback reward program), Wiserpoints (shoppers can earn and redeem points anywhere within the Spendwisor ecosystem) and Wiserdiscounts (retailers can issue discount coupons and locality-based offers).

Spendwisor’s initial market focus is the Qatar market, which is considered an early market for Fintech products and solutions. Qatar recently started its initiative to build a vibrant Fintech eco-system with the collaboration of Qatar Central Bank (QCB), Qatar Financial Center (QFC), QDB, and other stakeholders, giving Spendwisor an advantage of early market entry. The digital transformation drive is at the peak, high demand for payments in HORECA Sectors (Hotel, Restaurant, and Cafe) and GE (Government and Education) sectors. Soon we will expand into the adjacent (GCC) market where the opportunity to replace cash and cheque to digital payments stand at $700 Billion, as per the latest study conducted by VISA Inc.

We live in a digital economy. Every interaction of a customer in a digital platform leaves a digital footprint. These footprints can be used even by retailers to offer a more personalized experience to their customers. This helps to build a more meaningful relationship between the retailers and their loyal customers. This is the goal of Spendwisor.

Contact Press: Catalina Correa

Licorne Gulf Inc.

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