Keenu’s launch event gets featured on IDG Enterprise!
Saad Niazi, Keenu COO, shares his thoughts in an exclusive interview with ARY News
Wemsol, a subsidiary company of United Mobile, has launched its Keenu service most recently. The latest service will provide convenience to Pakistanis with regard to electronic payments and also link merchants with online banking.
Not only that, for aspiring businessmen who want to open an online shop but lack the necessary direction are provided free consultation via Keenu service.
Regarding the functions of the service, Wemsol CEO Ejaz Hassan said:-
“POS machines are exclusively installed by existing acquirers which only accept Visa, MasterCard, UnionPay, etc. cards; we wanted to launch a network that served to various other services, and offered intra-operability. Internationally, most of the big banks or acquirers are not financial institutions but independent service operators (ISOs) because a single machine can act as an effective delivery channel for offering various products and services across different institutions, such as banks, telcos, etc.”
We sat down with the Chief Operating Officer of Wemsol, Mr. Muhammad Saad Niazi to discuss about the scope, functions and relevance of Keenu service.
Q. What were the challenges you faced when you decided to venture into this type of business?
Challenges were manifold. When we started, the biggest challenge was to have a top management who shares the same vision as yours. They have to buy your vision and cooperate with you in every aspect to ensure success as well as growth.
The other thing is our general mindset, since people want the whole pie for themselves. We always forget the fact that no one can lead the market alone, we all have to work together to make something as big as this work. Every single person wants to lead the market alone, which is not possible since Pakistan is not that big.
Another challenge was trying to recruit a team that was suitable for this type of service. A group of trained and highly qualified professionals are difficult to come across for a business such as ours. It took us a while to train our team and I’m proud to say today, we have the best one judging by our competitors.
Q. What would you describe is the Unique Selling Point of Keenu?
Our customer centric approach is I feel our biggest advantage and strength. We tend to provide services for the benefits of the customer primarily.
Q. Do you think there is a market for non-cash payment services in Pakistan?
I know where this question is coming from. We as a nation tend to look at things from a negative or pessimistic point of view. We always see the glass as half full, which should not be the case. Here are some facts for you:-
The spend market at POS has amounted to a whopping Rs 177 billion and it is growing in double digits as time elapses. Nowhere in the world we have experienced such a huge amount of growth. Let me further break it down for you, in Pakistan, as many as 1,300,000 people have access to credit cards out of which 800,000 cards are active. This means people are converting from cash payment methods to other methods. Also, carrying cash is seen as an inconvenience by people. Reason number one; people view cash as an inconvenience due to inflation. Reason number two; people suffer from insecurity while carrying cash. You’re always worrying about someone stealing it from you at gun-point in this part of the world. Thirdly, inconvenience itself is an inconvenience. So the market is growing and what you have to understand is that we are not competing with anyone in particular, we are enhancing the business as a whole.
Q. How important are factors such as education, literacy and being a technology-savvy nation?
The answer that I am about to give, will surprise you. These factors have marginal importance in relation to what we do and here’s why. If I talk about retail services or card usage, then awareness is more important rather than the factors that you have mentioned. However, even illiterate people can use mobile phones, can’t they? Hence, education is not such a huge detrimental part for this service. The most suitable example I can quote to you is that of Easy Paisa. Have you seen how phenomenal its growth has been? And its main users are those whom we dismiss as illiterate or the generally unaware public.
Q. What would you say is the one basic advantage Keenu has over its competitors?
Simply put, our customer-friendly approach. Our future offerings, which I can’t reveal at the moment.
Q. Future plans for Wemsol?
Mashallah, we number to almost one hundred and I expect us to expand even more in the coming future. We have offices in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi plus we are also looking to expand into other cities as well. We intend to get into branchless banking and operate overseas as well. We want to earn outside Pakistan and bring money back home.
Q. Any last thing you’d want to say to convince people to use Keenu?
It will basically benefit you and the business that you are involved with, hence you should avail its advantages. With Keenu, we will make your payments as well as money transfers become convenient and easy. We are growing, we are expanding and if we can get international players in it, we can create a revolution.