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Payment solutions provider SantimPay Financial Technologies has joined Ethiopia’s flourishing fintech sector and released three products that enable users to make in-store and online payments using their existing bank details.

The startup, which aims to make payments cashless, easy, and simple, unveiled its online payment gateway, mPOS (mobile-point-of-sale), and a Unified Payment Interface (UPI) yesterday, November 28, 2022, at the Hilton Hotel.

With SantimPay acting as a bridge, online payments can be made from local and international bank accounts, debit cards, and wallets.

Akofada (DFS Ethiopia)

SantimPay, which is onboarding merchants, can currently process payments from the six local banks, including Abyssinia Bank, Bunna Bank, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, and Amahra Bank, and Telebirr, while integration with other banks is ongoing.

In addition, through Abyssinia Bank’s Visa CyberSource payment gateway, SantimPay’s payment gateway can also accept Mastercard and Visa.

SantimPay mPOS (mobile-point-of-sale) will turn a smartphone or tablet into a cash register. Any smartphone or tablet can be transformed into an mPOS with a downloadable mobile app and card reader that connects to mobile devices.

The low-cost card readers that connect customers, merchants, and banks, enable businesses to accept payments from any debit card, decreasing their dependency on cash-to-cash transactions.

“Our mPOS solutions are 20 times cheaper than POS machines and can save the huge amount of foreign currency the nation spends on acquiring the machines every year from abroad,” said Professor Daniel Kitaw, SantimPay Board Chairman and Professor of Industrial Engineering at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT), and Addis Ababa University (AAU).

Merchants will be able to use their mPOS to receive payments amounting to 150,000 birr. In addition, the mPOS devices could be used by institutions to settle tax, utility, internet, traffic, DSTV, and airline payments.

“In partnership with Banks we plan to on distribute 70,000 mPOS’s in the coming two years while we see our payment gateway onboarding 250,000 merchants,” said Tensaye Desalegn CEO of SantimPay.

SantimPay has also developed UPI (Unified Payment Interface), which establishes interoperability between all banking tools, including mobile, wallet, and accounts, resulting in an omnichannel way of transacting between customers and businesses.

The SantimPay App, which will be available in a few days on the Play Store and App Store, will enable users to link all their banking accounts into a single mobile application.

Users will be able to scan and pay, as well as send money, using only the SantimPay app, giving them access to all the banking accounts they have linked with SantimPay.

Currently, four banks and Telebirr have been integrated into the UPI.

“Our Omni channel platform promotes digital payments which is essential in the establishment of cashless societies in Ethiopia. This will make transactions convenient and easy, lessens fraud, and reduces the expense of printing money,” said Tensaye.

The National Bank of Ethiopia issued SantimPay a license to provide financial services as a Payment Gateway Operator and Point of Sale Machine (POS) Operator in July 2022.

SantimPay, which has been working under the license of financial institutions until its permits came through, was able to transact over 43 million birr last year after partnering with Birhan Bank for a closed-loop gift card service.

SantimPay, among Chapa, ArifPay, and SunPay, is one of the dozen startups that joined the fintech race following the opening of a digital payment system for non-financial players.

In 2021, the startup was able to raise 160 million birr in a private placement round with 40 million birr in paid-up capital.

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Kaleab Girma, an Addis Ababa-based reporter and researcher, with over six years of experience in the field. He currently serves as Shega's Editor-in-Chief and specializes in reporting on small businesses, innovation, technology, and startups in Ethiopia.

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