May 12, 2020 By Raoul Itoumbou 3 min read

How the Sprint Pay mobile payment application was built on IBM Cloud.

Most people in Sub-Saharan Africa don’t have bank accounts, but they do have mobile phones. The proliferation of mobile technology across the continent and the introduction of secure mobile money banking has created a much-needed solution for Africans looking to pay bills online and avoid the sometimes-corrupt cash economy.

Sprint Pay is helping customers to more easily and more securely send and receive money using their mobile devices. Our company’s mobile app enables secure, fee-free, cross-border money transfers. The app also lets customers receive payments, either directly to their bank account (if one exists) or through means such as a bank card, MTN Mobile Money, or an Orange Money account.

This means, for example, that a person in France can feel confident that when they send money to a family member in Cameroon, the money will be received. Neither person needs to worry about exchange fees and the transaction takes place immediately.

The Sprint Pay application is currently available in 43 countries through Google Play. To date, more than 15,000 people are using the Sprint Pay app, with the majority of activity centered around payments to, from, and within Cameroon, Africa.

Startup with IBM: Building the Sprint Pay mobile payment app on IBM Cloud

The credibility and security of IBM Cloud has always been a differentiator for Sprint Pay. We built the Sprint Pay solution on the IBM Cloud as part of the Startup with IBM program in late 2018 and recently signed on to continue the relationship.

Anticipating graduation from Startup with IBM, the IBM teams (IBM Paris Ecosystem Advocacy Group and the Cloud ISV Business Development team) worked with us to optimize our architecture. We’re now running IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers and IBM Cloud Virtual Servers, an open source load balancing server from Vyatta on IBM Cloud, Compose for MongoDB, Compose for mySQL, Postgres, and Node.js to help facilitate smooth, secure money transfers. We also use IBM Watson Conversation to facilitate chatbot functionality, providing robust customer service to our users.

The security features of IBM Cloud are really important to us. Being born on the cloud—especially IBM Cloud, which is known for its security—helps users trust our services.

We will also soon be using blockchain to further comply with international standards and banking regulations to help ensure safe, secure payments.

Use cases: Enabling easy, secure payments for Cameroon institutions

Working with IBM lends our organization credibility and has helped us win work in Cameroon.

A large bank in Cameroon turned to Sprint Pay for help deploying a mobile banking solution for its customers. The app allows customers to bank, make payments, and receive credits to their online account, all through their mobile phone.

In 2018, there were an estimated 19 million mobile subscribers in Cameroon. For many users in Cameroon and Sub-Saharan Africa, connecting through their mobile phones is the only way they can get online, so solutions like Sprint Pay that enable easy and secure payments are critical.

A Cameroon government agency recently signed an agreement with Sprint Pay to help the citizens of Cameroon more easily and more securely pay their taxes.

In Cameroon, most of the country conducts business with cash, and with cash, there’s risk of corruption. The government agency is looking to technology as a tool to help reduce the risk of corruption and enable citizens to pay taxes with their mobile phones.

Once the custom solution with Sprint Pay is launched, the people of Cameroon will be able to use the government app to see the taxes they owe and pay taxes directly to the government. The Sprint Pay platform will allow for multiple secure payment methods. For example, citizens could use mobile money transfer, Orange Money, MTN, a bank account, or PayPal.

The solution with the Cameroon government agency is currently in development and slated to go live by August 2020.

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