Pegasus Technologies Limited, an indigenous Ugandan company, has become the fifth, company to receive a license from the Bank of Uganda to operate as a Payment Service Operator (PSO), having fulfilled the rigorous requirements of the National Payments Act, 2020 (NPS Act 2020) and the National Payments Regulations, 2021.
Pegasus is however the very first indigenous fintech to get the prized license. The only other companies with this license are Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda Limited and MTN Mobile Money Uganda Limited, and InterSwitch (of Nigerian origin).
The license- allows the company to directly transfer funds, as well as integrate with platform owners such as banks, telecoms, utility companies, pay-tv etc to deliver aggregation services.
Ronald Azairwe, the Managing Director, Pegasus Technologies, in an interview with CEO East Africa Magazine, said the license was an important milestone in the 14-year history of the business as well as proof of the company’s consistent commitment to creating fast, secure and simple payment solutions.
“We are proud that our technological, financial and governance credentials have met the stringent Central Bank licensing and certifications requirements. We also pledge to consistently uphold the principles of quality improvement in digital payments and aggregation services,” he said.
“We are excited to now be operating in a regulated environment, by Bank of Uganda, under whose keen eye, innovation in the financial services industry in Uganda has thrived. Being a regulated entity guarantees our stakeholders that extra assurance and confidence that their digital transactions are safe (no money will be lost), reliable (swift and available all the time) and of course, convenient. All these combined, translate into lowered consolidated costs of financial services as well as enhanced financial inclusion for all,” said Mr Azairwe.
Along with the PSO license, Pegasus Technologies also holds Level 1 and Level 2 certifications from the National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) as well as the Payments Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) certificate.
“The PCI-DSS certificate means that we meet all the requirements and security standards, within our network, applications and governance procedures, to operate (VISA/Mastercard) card transactions. This certification allows Pegasus Technologies to design and operate applications that handle e-commerce and other VISA/Mastercard payments,” Azairwe told CEO East Africa Magazine.
“The NITA-U Level 1 and 2 certificate means that we have met the requirements of the Data Protection and Privacy Act 2019 and the Electronic Transactions Act 2011. These certifications allow Pegasus Technologies Limited to publish software, do mobile money aggregation services, build web portals, data processing and other general programming activities, all in conformity with the NITA-U regulations,” he said.
Product portfolio in a 14-year legacy and UGX2.5 trillion transacted annually
Incorporated in 2007, Pegasus offers payments, fee collections, value-added services (SMS & USSD), school fees payments and card services. In total, the company handles over 24 million transactions accounting for circa UGX 2.5 trillion annually and employs 40 permanent and 50 temporary staff in sales and marketing.
Under the payments category, the company works as an aggregator for telecoms, banks, billers (e.g. Umeme, NWSC, URA, KCCA, Umbrella Authorities under the Ministry of Water & Environment, Electricity companies under REA, Solar companies, ISPs, etc), merchants, bulk payers and payment agents. Pegasus also delivers bulk mobile phone payment solutions for organisations that need to pay large numbers of recipients such as UN agencies and other multinational non-profits, banks, employers, government ministries, departments and agencies as well as bulk buyers. It also handles mobile-based remittances for anyone abroad that would like to send money back to Uganda.
In remittances, Pegasus processes about 1.5 trillion shillings annually. This is terminated directly into the beneficiaries’ mobile wallets or Bank Accounts. Pegasus has partnered with multiple banks to enable termination directly into beneficiary bank accounts.
Under the cards category, Pegasus has partnered with most banks in Uganda to provide an eCommerce Payment Gateway that combines both Visa/MasterCard and Mobile Money as online payment modes. Pegasus is the only payment gateway that provides this kind of service in the country to date and is also able to create and implement prepaid card solutions on demand.
Pegasus also provides mobile money collections services- to over 50 companies and growing, moving an estimated UGX28 billion per month. It also handles school fees payments of about UGX15.7 bn per month for over 2,466 schools via mobile, web or cards.
On the value-added services front, Pegasus has its own shortcode (*272#) through which a variety of services such as integrated USSD shortcodes for banks and other clients, hosting special platforms for delivering SMS to all telecoms as well as implementing SMS delivery for bulk clients such as banks, government MDAs and non-profits are provided. On average, the company handles 10 million messages monthly.
Pegasus also provides bill payments solutions to several utility providers, government regulatory agencies, pay-tvs and tertiary institutions etc. This comes along with USSD and SMS solutions to notify clients once their payments have been made.
Commitment to highest quality digital payments facilitation and services
Mr Azairwe said that all these milestones, as well as peer and regulator affirmations, are timely both, for the indigenous company as well as the fintech industry, especially as digital payments take root in Uganda and the African continent. This is being driven by advancement in technology, the proliferation of smart/feature phone, as well as cheaper and easier internet, high literacy levels and the rise of local techpreneurs such as Pegasus. He also said that the Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated and accelerated the need for digital payments, hence presenting a positive future for fintech especially in the developing world.
“All these present a very big opportunity to finally substitute cash transactions (which have many attendant problems) with digital transactions – the latter being superior, not just in eliminating the risk and cumbersomeness of cash transactions but also in offering convenience in the way payments are made. The convenience of paying utilities digitally (be it an electricity token or government tax) and sending money to one’s beneficiaries, at any time of the day or night, without needing to go to an office or meet people in person, cannot be overstated,” said the techpreneur.
“Pursuing and attaining these speciality certifications positions us but also reflects our commitment to providing the highest levels of quality services to our partners and the same high level of quality in our business practices. It also demonstrates our expertise in managing digital payments facilitation,” Mr Azairwe reiterated.