Some of you may have seen a budding payments app in your app stores named Dash.
It is a payments app by design, but according to the founders, its approach is different based on the features it brings to the table.
We say different because there a ton of payments solutions out there that serve customers across the Africa and the globe. Truth be told, most of the solutions work just fine, but in some instances, an app may fail to do a small thing, say process Paypal payments, effectively forcing you to look for alternatives.
We had a sit-down with the Dash team, which revealed the product’s development and plan as it targets to be Africa’s top payments app.
Dash – A Company Introduction
As said, this is a fairly new product, whose focus is the development of a unified alternative payment network for people in Africa. Dash says that it plans to do this by taking advantage of the continent’s Mobile Money network.
We know that mobile money services continue to grow across Africa, and are developed and distributed by carriers and banks. Kenya’s example is the most popular (M-PESA), having started operations back in 2007, and has since grown to cement the power of mobile money and its associated products.
To this end, we all know that mobile money is a robust payments infrastructure – but according to Dash, the ecosystem is fragmented.
Dash adds that it is aggregating more than 200 mobile money wallets into a single wallet that can work and be used extensively in Africa.
At the moment, Dash has integrated six wallets of the said +200 wallets. The 6 have been completed in Kenya and Ghana.
This development means that as Kenyan Dash user can fly to Ghana and use his/her Dash account to transact in the country without the need to interface with Ghanaian mobile money wallets, that is, they don’t need to pick a new mobile-money enabled SIM card while in the West African state.
Dash says that its approach is borrowed from the likes of AliPay, but is original in its own way; it is building value-add services on top of the product.
“We’re however taking a page from AliPay/WeChat Pay’s playbook by building value-added services on top of our platform. This will allow users on Dash to access services in a single app,” says Prince Boakye, Founder & CEO
Admittedly, groups that have worked across different countries in the continent have reported their difficulties in completing transactions seamlessly because each state has a different payments method with different instructions, currencies and other limitations.
“Card usage and adoption is still scant compared to Mobile Money due to the huge unbanked population so we decided to build a network on top of Mobile Money, akin to the way Visa/Mastercard have done with banks,” adds Prince Boakye.
The company has also raised $518K in pre-seed financing, and is currently taking part in Techstars NYC accelerator.
Dash on Mobile
The Dash app is available for both iOS and Android users.
Setting up the app is easy; just start with your number, receive a verification code and set up your passwords and you are in. you might need to take additional steps to fully verify your account, such as entering your national ID number. The app will take care of the rest.
One thing you will note is that the app is feature-packed, with a ton of options for the majority of actions we take when making payments. So far, Dash appears to have it all, which is a very good thing for a growing application.
So, we wanted to know the motivation behind going all-in in terms of features and services.
“Our approach is very product-driven. Our core team is from an engineering background, we prioritize simplifying processes and features that will make the current way of doing things easier and transparent,” says Prince Boakye.
Dash also brings up a very important point. For instance, comparing payments in the continent to that of developed nations, there are several key innovations that simply day-to-day lifestyle that cannot be found here.
An example is recurrent payments. For instance, you satellite or fibre subscription is paid for monthly, and the companies behind them will remind you when your subscription elapses.
Using Dash, you can set your, say Zuku bill to be paid on a given day, and the app will notify tou five days prior so you can choose to pay then.
“We have several nifty features that save our users time daily when doing financial tasks that are currently repetitive and are prone to errors,” adds Prince Boakye.
Besides, payments are the basis of digital commerce, and Dash reports it is building what can be referred to as ‘payments as a platform.’ It enables businesses to digitize their services using the app.
Dash has also done the same thing with its savings product. It has partnered with a CMA-licensed fund manager in Kenya, which in turn gives the platform higher returns that are then split among users.
Bill payments such as airtime purchases are free.
Top ups to your Dash wallet are also free.
However, bills such as Kenya Power, Zuku, Safaricom Home and DStv, among others, come with a small fee.
Withdrawals from the wallet are also charged.
It is not often that you find PayPal integration in payments apps that serve the continent.
Dash says that the feature was integrated into the app following many customer requests.
“This feature came by popular request from our users who claimed getting funds from their side hustles via PayPal could be a daunting task, some say it could take days to weeks to get the funds and at terrible rates so we decided to solve that pain point for them.
“Our prime goal isn’t to build a walled garden but rather, build an interoperable, inclusive and accessible network for our users,” says Prince Boakye.
Dash Business and Dash+
Dash business allows businesses to use the Dash network to collect payments from their customers, no matter where they are. Businesses that partner with the platform use the Dash business platform to have a real-time overview of their business transactions.
On the other hand, Dash+ gives users access to exclusive services in the app at a fixed monthly fee. Among those premium services are the ability to increase your limit for the day and more.
Why Use Dash?
Dash insists that the app is not a remittance service, but a payments product.
Therefore, it is equipped with many useful features that seek to enhance financial lifestyles for all uses, such as sending cash, spending it, receiving or requesting cash from friend and family at any currency.
For now, Dash works in Kenya and Ghana (country of the user), and across borders as well.
It has plans to extend its reach, with the goal being serving all African countries.
The Dash App can be found here for Android users.