We launched Payer more than 1 year ago, and since then over 10,000 users have registered to use Payer, and an overwhelmingly large percentage of users have retained with us.
We like to think that in the past year, we’ve done somewhat of a good job with keeping the service stable and running, except for occasional downtime of certain products. The biggest challenge for us is ensuring service reliability. Payer is a payment service aggregator which integrates with several other service providers. Once the other end of the integration does not work, the service provided on Payer is not available as well. Most of the times these things come to us by surprise, hence we’re unable to inform users in advance.
When we developed Payer, we looked into how to make the service as intuitive and user-friendly as possible, especially while making transactions online. Ideally, we don’t believe that Payer should even have a wallet, because that would cause several problems. We believe apps like Payer should be directly integrated with your Bank accounts. However, due to the Banking and infrastructure limitations in the country, creating a wallet was the only option available for us (except for cards, we don’t want to do that).
We were able to create a seamless deposit / cash-in process unlike other apps in the market. We made it as simple as possible for our users to cash-in. Everyone loved it until it reached its limitations.
If you’ve been using Payer for a while, the most frustrating thing you could come across is seeing the Deposit Failed notification. We understand your frustration, we feel it too.
Why does that happen?
Even though the Deposit process looks simple, there’s a set of operations running behind the scene. Due to the limitations of Banking in the country, we’ve automated a very tedious manual process, which doesn’t always work as intended.
The process looks something like this.
While this looks pretty simple on the paper, we run into several issues during the process.
- We rely on Internet Banking, and If the service is not available, we cannot verify the transactions.
- OTP is required for using Internet Banking, every now and then, there’s a delay in receiving the OTP. When this happens, OTP is expired by the time we attempt to log in, and the whole process fails.
- We’ve experienced situations where customers have transferred us the money, but the transaction does not appear on our statement. We assume this is caused because of a delay in updating the statement or due to some form of cache (we don’t really know, it’s a mystery).
What can you do in these situations?
- 99% of the time when you retry again after a few minutes (10–15), it should work.
- We’ve seen users continuously attempting to deposit in this situation, but that doesn’t work.
- If you sometimes need money urgently, eg: for topup, we suggest keeping a small amount in Payer Wallet for emergency use. We know that It’s not ideal, but that’s one way to deal with it.
That all makes sense, but what’s up with the octopus?
If you’ve been using Payer for a while, then chances are, you’d have already come across this Octopus who keeps asking you to attach your receipt.
This is our Manual Deposit process, or we’d like to call it, the Octopus mode.
What’s happening here is, at least once a week (usually Sunday night), there’s a window of time where we’re unable to verify transactions automatically.
During this period we’re unable to get an updated Bank statement until the next day, hence we have to manually go through the receipts and verify the transactions. Obviously, this is not the best and scalable way to do this, but this is the best option we’ve got so far.
We try to make these processes as fast as possible, on average we process a transaction within 2 minutes. We’ve built internal tools to make this as fast as possible.
Occasionally, you might come across the Octopus on days other than Sunday. For example, today and the past few days. We’ve to go manual mode when there are issues with our verification process. We’ve been having issues with retrieving statements from the Bank for the past few days, hence forcing us to delegate the task to our friendly Octopus.
Why are we still doing this?
We want to see a future where banking is integrated with other aspects of life. However, in order for this to happen, there needs to be a shift in banking and infrastructure for APIs and data to thrive rather than being feared for.
Countries in the EU are making the most out of open banking and data exchange with the support from the government and policymakers. Australia and Canada are getting ready for Open Banking.
We hope to see some of these being implemented in the Maldives.https://medium.com/media/9593010a1c83b939aa605b2e8d88bec7/href