Look to the East if you want to know what the future holds. This saying is particularly true in the world of payments. Asia – and China in particular – is the undisputed leader in QR code payments. Fintech Wamo now wants to make this contactless payment method popular in Europe too – and it’s starting out from its base in Malta, says Founder and CEO Yanki Onen.
For those that don’t know Wamo, can you provide some background on the company?

Our company Wamo was born out of a real sense of frustration at how the exchange of value (money) in the world costs and continues to cost both the payer and the payee money that goes to a third party. This third, fourth or even fifth party is no longer necessary given the tech we have at our fingertips today.

The world of finance still relies largely on the credit card payment system that is fast becoming redundant. So fintech needed to catch up, to take advantage of all the incredible advances in order to fully democratise value exchange. We saw this gap, and we were determined to come up with the smartest yet simplest possible solution for democratising value exchange.

I suppose you could say we were born in a time when cryptocurrency and the idea of transparency was really taking hold of the public’s imaginations. This was around 2018, but when the pandemic hit, we really knew that we had something that could solve a lot of the problems involved in payments today: contactless, touchless, cheap, absolutely effortless, and, of course, smartphone-based. What more do we need nowadays than a smartphone, right?

Can you share a little-known fact about Wamo?

We knew QR tech was the answer to democratising payments when we started fleshing out our ideas around four years ago. It just had a bad reputation in the Western market. We know that this part of the world is now ready to embrace it.

Besides, Wamo’s team is pretty diverse. Turkey, Malta, UK, Qatar… and most of us have been doing this as a ‘side hustle’ after hours for a long time. It’s just in the last six months that we’ve settled into an office in Malta and got some full-time staff. It’s amazing what we’ve achieved all working remotely and ‘after hours’.

What are you currently working on and what are your company’s plans and strategic priorities for the coming years?

We’re very focused right now on completely levelling up the whole of Malta when it comes to paying and getting paid. We want Wamo QR code stickers and the app everywhere but especially in small and micro businesses.

We want to make sure that these businesses know that they do have a choice when it comes to having things like a POS or ePOS device, a bank account, even a place of business – none of these things are necessary. You can start taking payments for your goods and services with just our app and a QR code.

Wamo can work with POS devices of course, and some businesses prefer to have them – but it doesn’t have to be an obstacle. Also, in Malta it can be a very tedious process to open up a business bank account, and it requires a significant deposit, a lot of paperwork – again, this isn’t necessary with Wamo. Of course, we also need the public to download the Wamo app, so they can use it with our merchants across the country. We want to champion small businesses in Malta, and, after Malta, the rest of Europe, and then the world.

Are there any projects/achievements of your company that you are exceptionally proud of?

Honestly, we are just so proud to have gotten this far with this vision and that we are still here. It feels like now is our time, and we’re ready for it.

What in your opinion makes Malta an effective jurisdiction to set up a business?

Malta is very business-friendly – it’s one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe. It promotes professionalism and regulation and offers very attractive tax benefits. Its location in the middle of the Mediterranean means it’s a gateway to European, African, and Middle Eastern markets. There are so many positives – the bottom line is that Malta really encourages entrepreneurship – and that’s a brilliant thing for us and for our clients.

What kind of people/companies in the financial services community would you want to connect with?

C- level executives and pretty much all companies in the sector that are frustrated with banking. We would love to be a solution to their problems.

Bio:

Yanki Onen’s background is in banking, foreign exchange (FX) options, treasury, and equities. He has a keen interest in fintech and the smart future of finances and likes to keep one eye on the horizon at all times.

'Fintech' Related News Articles

01
FinTech – Building a Cluster of Global Repute
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

22nd September 2021

FinXP becomes a principal member of Mastercard
FinXP

by FinXP

9th September 2021

Malta & EU residence programme for digital nomads
1st Step Solution LTD

by 1st Step Solution LTD

10th August 2021

FinXP wins Malta’s Best Alternative Banking Award
FinXP

by FinXP

23rd July 2021

Roundtable Insights: Cyber security and Financial Services
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

8th July 2021

Member Spotlight – Trust Stamp: Advancing Financial Inclusion in Emerging Markets from Malta
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

8th July 2021

FinXP launches Real-Time Payments
FinXP

by FinXP

23rd June 2021

FinXP chosen as Banking Partner for Crypto Payment Solution Utrust
FinXP

by FinXP

13th May 2021

Member Spotlight – RiskDeck: Fintech Made in Malta
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

29th April 2021

FinXP implements ComplyRadar for automated transaction monitoring
FinXP

by FinXP

27th April 2021

FinXP partners with CashtoCode, enabling digital merchants to accept cash payments
FinXP

by FinXP

14th April 2021

FinXP Releases Whitepaper on How Payments Strategy Enables Growth Into New Markets
FinXP

by FinXP

12th April 2021

Seamless Middle East 2020: An exclusive insight
Infocredit Group Limited

by Infocredit Group Limited

4th December 2020

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy Clayton Bartolo launches the MFSA FinTech Regulatory Sandbox
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

23rd July 2020

FinanceMalta’s chairman addresses FinTech Junction event in Berlin
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

8th January 2020

Fintech: MFSA Circular to VFA Service Providers
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

17th December 2019

FinanceMalta’s final BlockFinance event for 2019 delves into STOs
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

6th December 2019

Malta places 1st in European Code Week for 3rd consecutive year 
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

5th November 2019

Malta participates in Decentralized 2019 Conference in Athens
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

5th November 2019

34 prospective Virtual Financial Asset (VFA) Service Providers submit letter of intent to obtain authorisation under the VFA Act
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

4th November 2019

FinanceMalta kicks off Amsterdam Fintech innovation summit
FinanceMalta

by FinanceMalta

24th October 2019