When I first heard about PayingTone, I thought it was a startup that provides broadband/calling-related services, like “Caller Tune” in Nigeria. I was wrong; PayingTone wasn’t doing that and was more than that. What do you know about PayingTone?
Picture this: you work a 9-5 job and leave for work in the morning only to get home hungry in the evening to find out your cooking gas is out and you need more cash. I am sure you’d be frustrated, but that’s why you have PayingTone.
PayingTone is a helper in times of need; the function of this product is to give you ease of mind and allow you to pay for basic needs in installments, especially when you need them in desperate times. Beyond that, PayingTone strives to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the most accessible access to monthly recurring products and services, and the utmost convenience.
The Idea Behind PayingTone
The idea for PayingTone started with a challenge to solve the problem of unexpected situations; while speaking on the What I’m Building Podcast by Yussouf Ntwali, the founder of PayingTone, Ignace Turatsinze, explained how he stayed in Japan for a couple of months in 2017 and was impressed by how Japanese use a credit card called Passmo.
He explained Passmo as something similar to Tap & Go in Rwanda but with many more features; Passmo was just like a savior in time of need. When you forget your phone or your bank credit card, or you don’t have any other means of getting funds, Passmo is there to rescue you.
When Ignace traveled back to Rwanda, he and his friend, Brenda Munezero, tried to launch a product like Passmo to Rwandans, but he faced the challenge of marketing this unheard product. He didn’t know how the market would accept the product, so he switched games slightly.
The first idea that came to Ignace was to design an IOT product; while speaking on the What I’m Building Podcast, Ignace mentioned how he always faced the unexpected challenge of his cooking gas running out at the most terrible time. The IOT product idea he had was to create a device that could measure the level of your cooking gas, just like your phone measures your battery percentage. Then, you can be informed earlier and be able to prepare for uncertainties.
But then he realized that knowing when your cooking gas will run out isn’t the only solution he could offer; how do you prepare for the uncertainty? You will need money. He understood how cooking gas isn’t the only unexpected problem an individual could face at the household level; you could suddenly run out of food, electricity, and water.
Ignace understood that unexpected incidents will always happen, and he decided to provide a solution that prepares you for unforeseen situations.
The Journey of PayingTone
The fintech startup PayingTone was started in May 2021 and launched in June 2022. One of PayingTone’s missions is to give people access to alternative financing mechanisms that help them sustain their essential lives.
After identifying the problem and ideating a solution, the PayingTone team swept into action. They started talking with retailers, gas shops, market sellers, supermarkets, grocery stores, Pharmacies, and businesses generally in Rwanda to propose the solution they’ve created and how it will benefit the company and the customer.
The problem PayingTone is solving is a problem that the founders, Ignace and Brenda, once faced in their lives; they figured out their pains and provided solutions to them, which makes PayingTone a unique product.
In just a year and a few months with a team of 11 people, PayingTone currently holds more than 4,000 users with over 2,000 active customers and 610 merchants. With this traction, PayingTone was able to emerge in second place in the 2022 Hanga PitchFest, getting funding of $20,000 to scale the business.
It is also important to mention that PayingTone was included in the Fintech Incubation Program by CC Hub and the 250 Startups Incubation Program, where they secured a grant of $ 5,000. Successfully, in November 2022, PayingTone was selected to represent East Africa in Germany out of the four African start-ups that were selected.
According to Ignace Turatsinze, he plans to ensure PayingTone becomes available to 80% of Rwandans by 2029 and expand to neighboring countries like Lusaka and Zambia.
How Does PayingTone Work
PayingTone provides digital credit for spending overtime and only charges 8.3% interest. You can sign up in different ways depending on who you are. You can sign up as a;
A customer is an individual who runs to PayingTone in times of need and is allowed to borrow credits, spend them, and pay them back in monthly installments.
A merchant is a business owner, either small-scale or large-scale. These businesses are allowed to register on PayingTone as a merchant and would be given their own unique Merchant Code, just like how each business has a Momo Code.
The other signup categories are Banks and HR companies. Signing up as a Merchant, Bank, and HR Company requires personal customization and consultation with the PayingTone team; you can’t sign up for these accounts on the websites but sign in to these accounts on it.
When a customer signs up on the app, his financial status, credit analysis, and background information will be examined. This means you must submit a couple of documents and pass the verification stage before using PayingTone to its full potential.
After the verification stage, the customer gets credits, but currently, the highest credit PayingTone offers is Rwf200,000. The minimum credit you will be awarded is determined by your income. You will be awarded a credit equal to a third of the user’s income. Once a customer has these credits, he can go ahead and use them in a business that is registered as a Merchant on PayingTone.
How to Start Using PayingTone
As a customer, getting started is easy; you can use the Mobile App available on both Google Play and App Store or create an account on the website. Here is how;
- Open your browser, preferably Google Chrome or Brave Browser
- Visit payingtone.com
- On the page, select Join PayingTone as a “Customer.”
- Click on the “Sign Up” button at the bottom of the form
- Here, You can create an account with your email or sign up directly with your Google or Apple Account.
- After that, you will be prompted to fill in the rest of your information and ensure they are correct.
- You must fill in your mobile number and gender and create a password.
- On the next page, you must fill in your residential details, such as your province, district, address, and more.
- After that, all you have to do is check the box to accept PayingTone’s terms and conditions, and you’ve registered successfully.
- The last step is to verify your mobile number; an OTP will be sent to you as an SMS. You can paste the code into your registration portal and click “Verify.”
Now you have access to the PayingTone dashboard, but you still have more information to fill in.
- After the verification, you will get a form and be prompted to fill in your employment details, such as your employer email, company name, and more. Alternatively, you could pick your employer details from the employer list created by PayingTone.
- From there, you can follow the other prompts and start with PayingTone.
With a simple solution to a personal problem, Ignace Turatsinze created PayingTone and solved his problem and thousands of other Rwandans. A business idea starts from somewhere, anywhere; for Ignace, it was solving the challenges he and his friends were facing!
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