Paywise Vs WiPAY: 3 Lessons Of Entrepreneurship

This week was a very interesting week! If you were like me, you probably woke up Monday morning with an email from Paywise boss, Ian Alleyne, stating that as of April 3rd, they would no longer be in operation. I then went to a seminar at Lok Jak where both Paywise & Wipay CEO’s were the guests and I got to see first hand some deeper lessons of entrepreneurship at play. There are some great lessons to be learned when you look at Paywise vs Wipay subjectively.

Going through a lot of the comments one thing was very very clear. Most people don’t actually know what Paywise or WiPay does. So the comments were very skewed. Both companies need to do a better job providing better information because people are reallllly confused as to what these companies do.

Let’s start with Paywise. Paywise attacks the problem of Cash payments! They have been around since 2013 and became available at NLCB booths in 2015. For a cash heavy nation like T&T, they made cash payments simple. They built their business off of using existing infrastructure NLCB provided. What is important to note is that their arrangement was with a company named IGT who provides the terminals that are used at the NLCB booths, NLCB provides the actual physical lotto booths, IGT supplies the terminals.

Wipay has a variety of services. They provide an online payment gateway to process credit card payments. You can also send money to Wipay registrants by purchasing top up vouchers at a variety of locations, one location being NLCB. They used to be registered with IGT until they let their contract run out and because they were building their own terminals, they secured a partnership with NLCB to have their terminals inside the lotto booths as well.

Paywise only purpose is to make cash transactions easier. You would go to a lotto booth, give the Paywise account number of the business you want to pay and give them your cash.

Wipay allows you to send cash via their voucher system, pay businesses online with your credit card and now with their terminals, you can pay all the businesses that are registered with Wipay at any location with their terminal. Wipay has a bunch of other services and a much bigger mandate than Paywise, but I will go into that another time.

So you can see right off the bat that at some point as consumers begin shifting into the online space, Paywise was always going to die out if they did not innovate but they solved the most immediate problem for a cash heavy country.

Watching both Aldwyn Wayne (Wipay CEO) and Ian Alleyne (Paywise CEO) at the Lok Jak seminar on Digital Payments. You saw first hand the difference between an Entrepreneur who was looking ahead to solve a bigger problem and an Entrepreneur who solved an immediate problem and whose time has essentially run out.

Here are the 3 key takeaways I got from the seminar and the Paywise vs Wipay situation on the whole:

  1. Build Your Own System
  2. When leveraging other networks build your brand name
  3. Focus on solving a mix of immediate & future problems

Build Your Own System – When you are building your entire business on the infrastructure made by another company, you need to abide by their rules. Whenever they decide to change things, you need to follow suit. They can also effectively kill your entire business for any reason and there is nothing you can do about it. Ian Alleyne received his email that his business will no longer be allowed to operate on IGT’s terminals on Carnival Sunday morning while in high spirits. Wipay essentially told IGT to keep their terminals and built their own & then struck their own partnership with NLCB to install their own terminals in the same Lotto Booths.

When Leveraging other Networks, Build Your Name – Listen there is nothing wrong with leveraging an infrastructure to build your business, especially if they are well established in your market. However, you must ALWAYS have an eye towards the future and build your brand name and figure out a way to build your own network that you can control. Paywise got killed and are now thinking about building their own network for Payments. Wipay saw this coming and are perfectly positioned to deal with the problem without any hiccup.

Focus on solving a mix of immediate & future problems – Paywise solved the most immediate need of moving physical cash for consumers to businesses, that’s it. The minute the nation evolved and became more digitally savvy, there would be no need for this service. Wipay allowed you to use your cash for vouchers to send money, but they also allow you to take credit card payments and for you to move money across all people/businesses registered with Wipay. Their terminals and partnerships allow for more businesses to receive money. They also have government partnerships that allow you to pay for essential services on their terminals and you can also pay your Digicel & Bmobile bills on their systems.


During the seminar, Aldwyn had a lot more to add to the conversation on Digital Payments and showcased a great grasp of what’s to come in the market Caribbean wide. He has a great grasp of what’s to come in the future because his company is one of the leaders of building the solutions and connections for the future. Ian could only talk about the past and what has happened up to this point.

So while they both gave good information on their businesses and how they got started, the lessons for me were unsaid & unwritten on any of their slides. Business is very funny. You could have the solution today & the market changes, a partnership changes and you could go out of business in that very instance.

Entrepreneurs/Solopreneurs must innovate and understand their market & be agile to make changes as QUICKLY as possible or risk dying out. Paywise vs Wipay is a perfect example of this.

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6 Comments

  1. Christopher March 17, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    Very powerful points in this article. Food for thought for both budding entrepreneurs as well as seasoned entrepreneurs and business. The pathway to becoming obsolete is always present. However, one must actively choose to resist going down this path by remaining relevant and being capable of identifying opportunities as well as threats to one’s business.

    Great article Keron

    Reply
  2. Sherelle March 18, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    This was a great and informative read. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Michelle Baptiste Williams March 21, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Brilliant insight here, especially as it relates on the best way to leverage existing platforms with an eye on the future. Enjoyed your take Keron.

    Reply
  4. Adeola Reid April 20, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Lovely article, I would have liked to read some of the insights stated for the future of Digital payments in the Caribbean.

    Reply
  5. Young Malkin July 8, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Really great information, thanks for the share and insights! I will recommend this to my friends for sure.

    Reply

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