You’re kidding, right?
Do you mean you can send money to people over WhatsApp?
This was my reaction when I saw a tweet by Wano’s founder, Charles.
I have always considered that there must be a comfortable way to send money over WhatsApp as I chat with family and friends without leaving the app.
Building a solution everyone can use.
If you’re a Nigerian, there’s a high chance that you have made a one-sided successful transaction. I mean, you sent money out of your bank, but due to one error or the other, the recipient didn’t receive it in time.
Wano’s Founder, Charles, had an unsightly experience a few years ago at a supermarket where a stranger was stranded because he had paid using mobile transfer as an option. Still, the money sent didn’t reflect in the beneficiary’s account on time. In such situations, supermarket attendants will ask you to wait till they get proof of payment. In an emergency or peradventure, you’re in a hurry, this is a very bad position to find yourself.
Is there a way people can send money to each other that bypasses the dependency on a singular infrastructure? Charles thought to himself as he went home that day.
The idea of Wano materialized further when Charles sent his cousin out to purchase some items from a merchant, and he was going to pay for the items. The merchant’s account details were sent over WhatsApp to him; he paid and sent the proof of payment back to his cousin to show the merchant.
In simple terms, this whole transaction was carried out on WhatsApp, except for sending the money via a mobile banking app.
A WhatsApp Payment Switch Platform
"What if payments can be made as easy as texting on WhatsApp?”
And Wano was born.
Wano is making it easy for anyone to move money anywhere in the world, as easy as sending a message on WhatsApp. With Wano, anybody can send money to anyone else, anywhere in the world. All you need to do is have a WhatsApp account, however, this is not a necessity for the recipient.
This is impressive because Wano leverages the existing need for people to communicate and solves the payment problem right there on the same platform where communication mostly happens. Over time, Wano has built its product on the feedback of its customers, improving its services without compromising customer support.
Building with Bloc
“I think the biggest upside for us is trust—enabling trust”, Charles said, “We don't have a license; I don't have any intention of getting one anytime soon. But Bloc gives us a sort of license as a service just by mere integration and partnership".
“When a customer asks, 'how do you ensure your platform's safety, are you licensed?' We tell them we are partnered with Bloc [powered by Banc Corp MFB], and that gives them peace.”
Wano manages its customers’ payment experience using Bloc — payment collection, account creation, payouts, etc. The credibility and safety that comes with integrating with Bloc is an advantage for Wano, Charles explained.
Using Accounts—Bloc’s API that allows businesses to create and issue bank accounts to their customers—Wano manages its customers’ payment experience. Wano uses Collection Accounts to issue accounts for collection and enable their customers to fund their wallets.
When a Wano user sends money to a recipient, the recipient initially receives the money in a temporary collections account. The recipient has the option to withdraw the funds either with or without creating a Wano account. In the case of not creating an account, the recipient is issued a tier zero account, allowing them to receive money continuously.
If the recipient later decides to send money using Wano's technology on WhatsApp, they can upgrade to a tier 1 account. To do so, they must provide the necessary Know Your Customer (KYC) documents. Once upgraded, the recipient, now a new customer, gains the ability to send money to any bank account and other WhatsApp numbers.
In summary, when a Wano user sends money to a beneficiary, the beneficiary can initially withdraw the funds without creating an account. However, if the beneficiary wishes to send money using Wano's WhatsApp integration, they can upgrade to a tier 1 account by completing the necessary KYC requirements. This upgrade allows them to send money to any account and other WhatsApp numbers.
NB: All of this happens on WhatsApp.
Bloc’s commitment to Wano is to remain present and available as Wano builds her solution for her customers. Bloc plays an essential role throughout the cycle of Wano’s product lifespan. The goal for Wano is to become the best payment platform on WhatsApp, and Bloc becomes an integral part of that future as we work closely with Wano to help them curate this future for their users.
How the future looks like for Bloc x Wano
Closing out, Charles said, “We are not trying to be a P2P Payment Platform. We are building a switch that lives entirely on WhatsApp, so this switch will power anyone who comes to plug into WhatsApp Payment".
The future for Wano is one where Wano becomes a key player in financial transactions that happen over platforms such as WhatsApp. We will continue to expand our range of services to ensure that we can continuously power Wano’s innovation and provide FinTech infrastructure services that make it easy for businesses to build and scale financial technology solutions seamlessly.