Returning expats plan to launch instant payment app

New Zealanders have got used to scanning QR codes for Covid-19 check-ins and now two expats want to launch a service that will allow instant payment via mobile phones using QR codes or a person’s mobile number.

Kiwis Shane Marsh and James McEniery returned home from high-flying corporate jobs in Singapore due to Covid-19 but found many of the digital services they had got used to don’t exist here.

“It has been a real eye-opener,” says Marsh, who worked for ANZ in Singapore.

McEniery, a former Lion Nathan executive, said he really missed the ability to pay friends instantly and purchase goods at the touch of a button via the digital wallet on his smartphone.

“After years away, seeing how everyday Kiwis pay and receive money seems outdated, slow, inconvenient and costly. Coming home, this really hit us as a gap in the market.”

The pair have teamed up to create Dosh – a digital wallet they hope to get up and running by October that will allow instant person-to-person payment and payments to businesses for goods and services.

Currently, to make a person-to-person payment, Kiwis must enter a 16-digit bank account number into their online banking platform, then wait for funds to clear.

It clears pretty quickly if people are with the same bank but can take longer if they aren’t.

Marsh said the ability to pay people instantly via smartphone was commonplace around the world with 45 real-time payments networks globally and 13 currently in production.

But New Zealand is not one of them.

“This service hasn’t come to NZ yet because the infrastructure doesn’t exist to enable it, but what other providers are doing around the world is creating an alternative like what we are providing with an alternative eco-system.”

Dosh users will download the app for free and then transfer money from their bank account to their digital wallet. They can then use this to transfer payments to another person who has Dosh or a business with Dosh.

Marsh said it would allow payments to be made using either a mobile number or QR code that could be scanned at the counter of a merchant or on their bill – allowing parties at a restaurant to split their bill and make separate payments.

The system also allows people to request payment from another user allowing a tradesperson to instantly attach and send an invoice for work they have just done.

Users don’t get charged to transfer money within Dosh, only when they move money back into their bank account.

Marsh said the money was secure as it was always held with the New Zealand banking system.

“The money will be held in a client money account at a bank and that account will be held on trust so it won’t be co-mingled with our corporate funds. The [initial] transaction will be putting money into that account when topping up. When making transactions within the Dosh eco-system the funds don’t leave that account, it is just a ledger change which we are managing.

“And then when you move the money out of your wallet it goes from that bank account back to your account.

“So the money stays within the New Zealand banking system at all times. In that way it is secure.”

As a third-party financial services provider they don’t have to be licensed by the Reserve Bank like a bank, but must be registered and belong to a dispute-resolution scheme.

Marsh said they hoped to have the first-mover advantage and become similar to TradeMe but for financial services.

“People have seen Trade Me – Sam Morgan took that concept that worked around the world and gave it a Kiwi flavour. We are hoping to be the Trade Me of the financial services industry, creating a real Kiwi brand and presence on the ground here that people know and love, and makes their lives easier.”

He said at the moment they were trying to raise awareness of the concept and educate New Zealand consumers but overseas it had taken off quickly.

“In China where it really started – digital wallet provider WeChat disintermediated the banks in a year – so banks lost direct relationship with customers. In America two big players are Cash app and Venmo – one has got 60 million the other 67 million consumers.

“They are both now bigger than JP Morgan in terms of consumer accounts. “For us it is a well-known story the fact these solutions are growing so quickly offshore but in NZ not so.”

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