Saudi Arabia, the country that was famous for its traditional dependence on oil, is now shifting towards innovation, digitization, and entrepreneurship. To strengthen this shift further under Saudi Vision 2030, the Saudi Arabian government aims to raise the contribution of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the GDP from 20% to 35% by 2030.
As such, there are tremendous growth opportunities and potential for people, businesses, and communities who want to be part of this transformation. And PayTabs, a home-grown payments company is contributing to the Saudi 2030 vision by providing an easier and secure payment gateway.
“We have analyzed the gaps in the payment market and launch solutions that play to the strengths of our diverse and dynamic team,” says Abdulaziz Al Jouf, the Founder and CEO of PayTabs.
Read the following interview where Abdulaziz has shared how he was inspired to venture into payments gateway space and how PayTabs has been helping businesses streamline their online transactions through the company’s easier and safer platform.
Please brief our audience about your company, its values, and its journey so far.
Back in 2014, PayTabs was established in a humble office with only 6 members on the team. Seven years ago, we were a struggling start-up and today we’re proud to mention that we are an award-winning payment solutions company with operations around the MENA region.
Our vision has always been to be global in outlook but next-door in service by making payment processing simple, straightforward, and seamless for all members of the e-commerce field.
Over 7 years, PayTabs has evolved since its founding from a home-grown payments company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to a regional GCC market player to an iconic global payment solutions enterprise.
With presence from Cairo to Dubai. Originally backed by Aramco’s Waéd Entrepreneurship Center and later by other private institutions and individuals, it now has strategic partnerships worldwide.
PayTabs success has been built on many factors:
List the range of PayTab’s offerings, and how you have ascertained your stronghold within Saudi Arabia.
We have analyzed the gaps in the payment market and launch solutions that play to the strengths of our diverse and dynamic team. We are geared to take the region’s payment ecosystem to the next level of sophistication and e-commerce adaptation via our digital products and online solutions suite which includes:
Recurring Payments: This solution is perfect for merchants who wish to set up repeat payments such as gym membership, educational fees, etc.
Social Payments – Paylinks: Our new social commerce solution #PayLinks allows our merchants to sell from the comfort of their home or office desk and get paid with ease. It is a secure payment link that our merchants can share with their customers over any popular messaging platform and get paid instantly.
E-Invoices: An in-built in-house solution for quick electronic invoicing and invoice customization. PayTabs supports up to 168 currencies for effective digital invoicing.
Biller Solutions: From Oman to Jordan and UAE to Egypt, we have localized options for bill payments to simplify the lives of millions and allow them to make effortless bill payments from home.
Education Solutions: A centralized fee payment portal that enables parents to pay enrolment, registration, tuition, and other fees online while providing schools and educational institutes with a secure platform to manage the collection of student fee payments.
Hospitality Solutions: PayTabs and SecurePay have partnered to offer a seamless pay by link and 3DS payment gateway solution for the hospitality industry to streamline reservations operations, increase occupancy, and eliminate chargebacks.
Paytabs Switch: In Q4 2020, PayTabs entered a software purchase arrangement with an India based technology company – for a middleware switch technology that will complement PayTabs’ current technology stack and help in expanding the business to cater to multinational banks and partners that may be looking for an end-to-end payment processing solution.
Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on why the adoption of modern technologies is necessary for your industry and how have you leveraged technology within your company?
The silver lining of 2020 was that merchants increased their engagement of online platforms and demand towards innovative payment solutions and acceptance of cashless transactions grew.
From Zoom meetings to online food delivery and on-demand movies to digital fitness, technology has overpowered our lives. Customer behavior during the pandemic was evidence of the technology surge in our lives.
Our enhanced payment processing platform has been designed to enhance our merchants’ user experience, automate, and streamline payment processes.
The PT 2.0 100% in-house technology platform will ultimately result in ﬂexible and nimble rollout of new product features for web, social media, and mobile play. PayTabs soon aims to offer a full suite of acquiring solutions that include both oﬄine and online processing modules which will bring cutting-edge technology like Phone NFC, social commerce, digital invoicing, and merchant ﬁnancing along with issuing an end-to-end acquiring platform.
In today’s hyper-connected world, we continue to make payments super simple for clients that have placed their trust in us. For the ﬁrst time in the region, we successfully launched PayLinks which will enable our merchants to sell from their homes or oﬃce and get paid easily.
It’s a secure payment link that merchants can share with their customers over any social platform. Once the customer clicks on the shared PayLinks they are directed to a payment page and then the merchant gets paid instantly. PayLinks can be shared via Facebook posts, Instagram photos, Tweets, LinkedIn articles, or even emails.
Taking into consideration, the current pandemic, and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your company to sustain operations and ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?
We focused on the health, safety, and well-being of the PayTabs team and other stakeholders by continuing to work from home where necessary, during these strange times.
It took upon us to motivate the team to progress with the roll-out of PayTabs’ sophisticated new payment platform PT 2.0 to our merchants and partners, in KSA and globally to facilitate their payments more effortlessly, amidst Covid-19. The company also introduced relevant payment solutions during the pandemic and enabling businesses to think cashless.
One of the features of our new system is social commerce. Social payments enable thousands of freelancers and small businesses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other markets to sell via Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, by sharing payment links with their clients.
Here is a fun fact, across the Middle East, Instagram has 63 million users, representing about 10% of global users on the platform. Imagine being able to sell to all of them and get settled via a simple and effective payment link. This is what excites and motivates me about running a payment company.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the market that your company is catering to?
Today, it’s a different mindset and culture brought on by millennials. What I would like to say to this young generation of entrepreneurs is, take chances and make the most of given opportunities.
One of the first things I learned through my experience is that you cannot do it without money; operation costs are inevitable. You must work smarter and be more prepared when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Secondly, you cannot do it without a good team. While this is true, I always surround myself with what I call challengers (people who do not fear to challenge the boss). I hire and work with people I have never worked with before and learn from their diverse cultures and multicultural backgrounds Hire people that will amaze you. Negate your weaknesses by the strengths of your team members.
I think what I have grown up believing is that people who ultimately succeed in life are not the strongest or the most intelligent but the ones most adaptable to change and survival. Its’ always about moving to your next destination without delay. Change is a part of the journey so why fear?
Travelling, another hobby of mine that has helped me be an open-minded person. Travelling opens my eyes and the doors to new possibilities and makes me try things that I have no idea about but excite me.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021?
Being the first homegrown company in KSA to provide seamless B2B e-commerce solutions to SME’s, the team and I at PayTabs are currently working on launching our next generation, unified payments platform, PayTabs Switch© to interlink the multi-billion-dollar enterprise market chain in the MENA region.
PayTabs Switch© is an electronic fund transfer (EFT) software platform. This turnkey platform will power secure transaction processing on an elevated scale in real-time for banks, financial institutions, processors, and other businesses with a retail interface.
PayTabs Switch©, a full-stack product suite, will offer other Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and financial institutions a premium gateway to access major alternative payment methods in the MENA region.
About the Leader
Serial entrepreneur and fintech influencer, Abdulaziz Al Jouf founded PayTabs when he faced problems in finding a suitable payment gateway for one of his business startups. After figuring that many other SME owners in the MENA region need access to a payment platform tailored to their requirements, Abdulaziz created one of the most exciting and successful new e-commerce businesses in the MENA region.
Known to his staff as AA, his passion and focus and with his trait of being a hands-on natural leader Abdulaziz has been leading the company to soar new heights while being fiercely supportive of his team’s growth. He believes in giving back and he does so by tirelessly mentoring the region’s young entrepreneurs. As a confessed risk-taker, Abdulaziz is always open to opportunities as they arise and making the most of them. He recognizes failure as a lesson to gain valuable experience.
Abdulaziz and PayTabs have been regularly lauded by their peers both locally and internationally. In 2020, PayTabs emerged as one of the top 10 funded startups in the Middle East while in 2019, it was ranked number one on the top 20 Fintech Startups list, by Forbes Middle East.
“We have worked recently with PayTabs and they were very helpful, trying to help the startup ecosystem as much as they can, it was a great experience.” – Yousef Gamal, Nerd Mentors, Jordan
“Exceptional and quick service, excellent platform. Special thank you for assistance with concluding the corporate business partnership.” – Karl Hougaard, Trade License Zone, UAE