Qpal is currently at war with cash in the Middle East and Africa. Allied by partnerships with financial institutions and merchants, Qpal’s mobile wallet, m-POS technology, and AI solutions help empower the transition to a cashless society.
Targeting territories where the proliferation of cash remains widespread and problematic, Qpal’s technology drives mobile payment acceptance at low cost for banks, merchants and consumers alike. Built on QR rails and delivered both open and closed loop, Qpal’s software is built with pre-existing payment infrastructure interoperability at the forefront.
Qpal was founded in 2016, their technology continues to be built in Aberdeen, but commercial opportunities expanded the business overseas a year later. The Qpal team is now based from Dubai, which acts as a central hub for accessing the MEA region and the untapped opportunities that exist there with huge smartphone penetration rates but low mobile payment acceptance.
Partnered with Visa since 2017, the strategic alignment allows Qpal to leverage Visa’s API technology, regional expertise, and a network of issuing and acquiring banks. Qpal secured an initial non-dilutive investment from Visa to drive cashless initiatives together, and 2019’s roadmap includes card-not-present (CNP) co-creation projects across MEA.
Qpal’s mobile wallet SDK enables any bank or merchant to create their own white-labeled wallet with a simple integration of the Qpal SDK into their environment. Being built on QR ensures 100% acceptance across all mobile operating systems, including iOS, which has been notoriously difficult for 3rd party developers to work around due to the lockdown Apple have on their NFC technology.
Qpal’s m-POS software provides banks with a new product line, and merchants with a cost-effective solution to onboard and drive digital commerce seamlessly. In more developed markets, Qpal’s suite of API’s enable connectivity to pre-existing POS solutions, thus allowing the continued drive of mobile payment acceptance globally.
Although operating in different quadrants, where Qpal differs significantly from the likes of Apple Pay and Android Pay is a core Qpal focus being on AI. The ability to combine financial data, product intelligence, and consumer profiles to deliver actionable insight to banks and merchants is extremely sought after. This isn’t a space the mainstream mobile wallets operate in, nor can this level of rich data be gleaned from transactions made using debit or credit cards, which is another significant factor in Visa choosing to partner with Qpal.
With a continued international focus, Qpal will expand to play a significant role in the growing mobile payments ecosystem alongside leading acquiring banks, merchants, payment schemes and consumers.
Aberdeen finds itself home to The Dons, oversized seagulls, granite architecture, North Sea oil, and since January 2016, Qpal. Founded by Craig Buchan, Qpal has realigned its early technology and market focus, but the original vision of empowering a cashless society remains solidified in everything they do.
Qpal is now positioned towards the Middle East & Africa, a region that continues to have widespread problems with cash in circulation, a vastly unbanked population, yet soaring high smartphone penetration rates – a perfect storm perhaps?
Qpal delivers m-payment and m-POS technology, which drives mobile payment acceptance at low cost for banks, merchants and consumers alike. By supporting digital commerce, Qpal helps fight the war on cash alongside other stakeholders in the payments ecosystem.
A by-product of the Elevator Accelerator programme in Aberdeen, during the 20-week cohort 2 edition, Qpal built their MVP and piloted through the first half of 2016. Originally targeting the live events industry due to the consistent problems cash creates at queuing stations for food, drink, and merchandise; Qpal took the lessons learned from moderately successful pilots to pivot direction.
It was the engagement with Scottish Enterprise’s ‘Start Global’ programme that pushed Qpal to test and validate their international aspirations early on in their journey, and something they haven’t stopped to look back on since.
The commercial team of Qpal is now based in Dubai, which acts as a central gateway to the rest of the MEA region, whilst the technology arm of Qpal remains, and always will remain in Scotland.
Qpal proudly calls Scotland home, being alumni of Scottish Edge, EIE, Elevator Accelerator, and the Scottish Enterprise Start Global programme. However, the reality of far greater, and untapped, market opportunities existing outside their home country of Scotland encouraged Qpal to fly the flag overseas. Shortly after incorporating a subsidiary in Dubai, Qpal caught the attention of Visa, the most prominent brand in global payments. A partnership was born with an initial non-dilutive investment made by Visa into the Scottish Fintech to drive cashless initiatives together.
The partnership that has been formed enables Qpal to leverage Visa’s expansive network of financial institutions and merchants to deliver digital commerce solutions in the form of QR-based mobile payments and Android-based m-POS software. Qpal creates value for their clients from its payment technology, whilst the reward in return for the Fintech doing so is silo’s of powerful financial data, product intelligence and customer profiling being gathered – of which the Qpal AI engine gets to work on converting into insight, analytics and predictive modelling for their partners.
The Qpal journey is only a few chapters down, and as growth continues internationally, the Fintech will always remain proud of its Scottish roots.
Craig Buchan – Founder & CEO