VerPay Solves Merchant Payments Pain Point

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Dana Buys, CEO of the Cape Town-based fintech Cloudone.mobi, got the idea for his company’s new telephonic payments solution when he was trying to book a table at a restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he was visiting a daughter at university. 


“If I wanted to book a table at a restaurant, they wanted to get my credit card details over the phone to make a deposit so that I would be charged if I don't show up and fail to cancel,” Dana explained in an interview with BigFive Digital. “That doesn't happen in South Africa. Perhaps because nobody here will give you the card over the phone.”


This experience led to VerPay, a new product from Cloudone.mobi that allows businesses to take secure payments over the phone, without requiring consumers to share credit card details or other sensitive information.


VerPay is aimed primarily at retail and hospitality businesses, which are the key sectors that Cloudone.mobi serves with its TallOrder point of sale solutions. However, the solution makes sense for any business that has time as its perishable inventory.


Cloudone.mobi is making it easy for merchants to trial during the COVID crisis, which has hit Cloudone’s core target industries particularly hard. The company is offering merchants a free 30-day trial and is waiting set up fees for the remainder of the year. After the trial, the service costs R199 per month. Cloudone.mobi will not charge any transaction fees on top of the subscription. 


While the need for telephonic transactions has always existed, completing transactions telephonically has been difficult in the past. The risk of fraud and the potential for disputes around the terms and conditions have been among the leading gating factors for telephonic payments.


A primary VerPay use case is bookings made over the phone where the merchant would like some security in case of a no show. But the consumer needs to feel comfortable making the payment.


“This is good for anybody in a business where time is the commodity,” Dana explains. “Take a golf course, and there's a foursome booked for Saturday. If they show up, that's gone forever.”


The way VerPay works is when the merchant tells the customer over the phone how much to pay, the customer enters the amount into the VerPay app on their mobile phone or on a desktop. A shortcode is generated which the consumer then reads to the merchant. 


Next, the merchant reviews the customer’s details (e.g., name and surname), and verifies that the amount is correct. And finally, the merchant assigns T&Cs, which the customer reviews, accepts, and then selects a payment method to complete the transaction. Once the payment confirmation is processed, both merchant and customer are notified. 


VerPay supports a number of popular mobile payment applications, including Zapper, Stripe, Netcash, Masterpass, and SnapScan. 


This video explains the process as well:



VerPay appears to be unique in the market and has a clear use case. What remains to be seen if whether that use case outline by Cloudone.mobi is sufficient to drive demand for VerPay. Another question that only time will answer is whether the user experience is seamless enough to support widespread adoption. 


VerPay’s origins and use case are independent of the COVID crisis, which is a positive, given the pandemic will eventually subside. Even if at times it seems it will go on forever. VerPay’s contactless nature does give Cloudone.mobi licenses to make a COVD-related case for the new service. 


Yet any payment solution with a use case dependent on pandemic conditions is doomed to failure. At least until the next pandemic, that is. Which we all hope is at least another century away. 


Editor’s note: Dana Buys will be a guest on an upcoming episode of the BIG5D Podcast. He will also be speaking at the upcoming BigFive Small Business Fintech Summit on 10th March. To learn more about this virtual event, visit the Summit page


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