Cash on Delivery Solution "Bridg" Wins GCC Pitch Challenge
A startup named Bridg has recently won the GCC Pitch challenge, as per Startup MENA’s announcement on Twitter.
There’s a good reason too. Their platform could well increase the amount of transactions for SMEs’ online business and e-commerce.
It’s become evident that consumers in the Arab world aren’t too comfortable paying online, and would much rather pay at the door. However this has long presented a problem for e-commerce sites, since there’s no guarantee that the customer will be home, or will change their mind upon arrival of the product.
See Related: Ecommerce Trends in the MENA
So a new app called Bridg plans to alleviate the pain e-commerce websites experience with COD (cash on delivery). Bridg will allow merchants to accept cashless payments without the need for a bulky POS machine or a Cellular / Wifi connection. All they would need is a smartphone running the Bridg app, and bluetooth, which is available on every smartphone.
So Bridg enables offline transactions, which is much needed in developing markets – and they recently patented their consumer-to-merchant smartphone payment platform, fortifying their newly found competitive edge. Bridg also works in flight mode, especially with low cost carriers like Fly Dubai, where much time is wasted swiping cards and collecting cash in multiple currencies.
If neither devices are connected, Bridg caches the secured data and processes when any of the devices connects. The app could also use “mesh networking” to find other internet-connected devices closeby, and process the payment unnoticed.
Here is a video trailer of how the app works:
Paypal offers a similar feature, but it needs a bluetooth dongle to connect to a POS, whereas Bridg’s lighter method is more attractive to SMEs who wish to have increased flexibility and decreased overheads.
This consumer-to-merchant payment platform is designed specifically to fit the needs of emerging markets, both in the MENA and SouthEast Asia. One good example would be the Indian market, where 50% of smartphones don’t have a fully functional data plan or bank card.
“By 2018, more people will have smartphones than bank cards. We will allow these users to send and receive money to merchants, and to each other, without the need for a data connection.” Moussa Beidas, Founder and Partner of Bridg.
More than 1,000 early adopters have been waiting to get their hands on Bridg and have signed up to become users of the beta version. The app will be free for all customers, and merchants pay a small fee per transaction that is equal to current POS transaction rates.
Bridg also offers merchants an analytical dashboard to gather insight metrics on the payments they receive, and boasts a 256-bit encryption to maximize security.
Beidas told ArabNet that they plan to fully launch during the second half of 2015. Stay tuned for more updates on the release.