5 Minutes With Peter Jasani
Zprepay wants to make sales transactions easy for retailers so they developed prepaid platforms that work on Windows, Google Chrome and Linux PC. We talked with CEO Peter Jasani about the growth of prepaid wireless, payments, and his company.
AH: Peter, how did you get into the prepaid business? Have you always been in payment technology?
PJ:I have been in the prepaid business for a little over 15 years. We founded Zprepay in 2009. We also successfully completed our acquisition of Precomm in 2011, hence quadrupling our customer base.
AH: You are based in Texas. Did you start the company there for any particular reason?
PJ:I have lived in Texas for a long time and it has one of the best small business structures in the US. Texas is so multi-cultural that it makes a perfect fit for the prepaid products and services we offer.
AH: Tell me about the Zprepay POS system? What does it offer retailers?
PJ:Zprepay offers retailers a state of the art prepaid platform, which allows any store owner to sell prepaid products, bill payment products, gift card products, and international top up products using multiple points of sale. This includes website, counter top terminals, iPads, iPhones, and Android capable tablets or phones.
AH: What about Prepaid Stop? Tell us about that platform.
PJ:PrepaidStop.com is our full service prepaid and bill payment platform, which implements advanced, user-friendly prepaid technology. Besides letting retailers or merchants sell multiple products through multiple points of sale channels, we are capable of private labeling our platform to other ISOs in the market.
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We currently have the capability to connect to any domestic or international prepaid pin or top up vendor within a few days, rather than weeks. We can sell all of our products through iPhone and Android based units.
AH: Do retailers really need another gateway to ecommerce?
PJ:Yes, why not? We provide full API connectivity to all customers regardless of their monthly sales volume. The customer simply has to qualify under our credit underwriting guidelines.
AH: Zprepay developed platforms that work on Windows, Google Chrome and Linux PC. Why is that so important?
PJ:In today’s modern and electronic world, every retailer has a mobile tablet or some kind of a smartphone so it is imperative for prepaid companies to offer a simple mobile app to resell pins or top up to their customers on the go. Being able to process pins or top up on all three platforms eliminates the need for a retailer to sign up with two or three different companies for selling the same products.
AH: What are your retailers saying about Zprepay? What do they like about it?
PJ:Since launching the Prepaidstop.com platform and piloting out to over 1,300 retailers nationwide, there has been an overwhelming positive response to our platform, pin and top up portal and reporting modules. Retailers like the simplicity of our website, mobile apps and speed in accepting any top up or bill pay payments.
AH: How big is your network of retailers? How many retailers do you serve?
PJ:We have close to 4,000 active merchants nationwide and close to eight private branded ISOs using our platform, which accounts for about 20,000 plus locations nationwide.
AH: How do you provide customer service? In other words, how do you support your retailers?
PJ:We provide 24/7/365 days of customer service and tech support, available for our retailers and private label ISO’s. Merchants can reach us via email, Instant Messaging, and of course, our toll free numbers. We have a feature in our software that enables all dealers to see any new products or services added. We use Facebook and Twitter, also email marketing such as Constant Contact to communicate.
AH: What advice do you give your retailers? What if I wanted to open up a cell phone store?
PJ:All I want to say to all retailers: Now you don’t have to worry about buying an expensive PC or laptop when you can sell all products from a very cost effective tablet or even your current mobile phone. We also offer very competitive rates on all prepaid products, international and domestic top up and long distance products as well.
AH: What other products should we talk about here?
PJ:Through Prepaid Stop we are also offering long distance pinless products through a website called zpinless.com. This system or portal also has full ISO/Agent capabilities where ISO/ Agents can set up their own stores and offer commissions to their retailers directly. We can private label this. Our long distance switch platform offers wholesale minutes, long distance hard cards capabilities, pinless dial capabilities and much more.
AH: Where do you think financial mobility is headed in the future?
PJ:Financial mobility or mcommerce is the future of payment processing. Several products from mobile banking to mobile money to mobile wallet have revolutionized the payment and banking industries over the past several years and this technology continues to accelerate with new features due to the computing power of smartphones these days. Mcommerce facilitates bill payments, accounts details, wealth management, cash in and cash out, multi-currency transactions, cross border payment processing and much more.
AH: Any other innovations?
PJ:We happen to be working on an IVR solution for store owners, which will be ready in the next three months. An IVR solution will enable store owners to use their phone to get pins and top up phones. This solution fits perfectly for retailers that are in flea markets, trade shows, or on the road.
AH: How big, would you say, is the international top up and payments market?
PJ:According to the 2011 American Community Survey, there were 40.4 million foreign-born people living in the US. You’re looking at a very significant market. If someone wants to send a small amount of money, the money services are uneconomical. That’s why there’s a developing market for international mobile top-up. Over the past several years this industry has seen more than a 1,000 percent increase in sales.
AH: What could be the next big market?
PJ:The next major market will be international bill payments. We are working with several countries and intermediate companies worldwide to enable consumers in the US to pay bills in other countries, especially in South and Central Mexico, India, Pakistan and African countries.
AH: How do you think we can improve the image of prepaid? We want mainstream Americans to trust us. How can we make prepaid business a trusted brand?
PJ:Right now, prepaid is leading the market. Even Verizon has a prepaid plan. Most of the world – almost 90 percent – uses prepaid mobile services as there are no credit checks or sophisticated payment options and it is beneficial for the consumer. This entire model has changed in the US and it continues to adopt this new prepaid culture.
Consumers are more aware of their usage and money they are spending every month. I believe prepaid business is already a trusted brand and in the near future this will be the main feature from all mobile operators. Look at T-Mobile – they have changed their entire postpaid model to prepaid. Slowly, but surely, all other mobile operators will go in this direction. •
Peter Jasani is CEO of Zprepay. Visit Zprepay online atwww.zprepay.com.