Applicant name: Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA)
Applicant type: Public Company
Headquarter City: La Habana
Headquarter Country: Cuba
Innovation Name: Platform for digital payments in Cuba: Transfermóvil
Innovation Type: Solution
Category: Top Service Provider
Status of Innovation: In-market
Innovation Active Since: 02/10/2015
Innovation Description: It is a platform for making payments for services and purchases of products within Cuba’s e-commerce ecosystem. It has a mobile application through which 4.1 million Cubans make their digital payments. The communication of this application with the platform is through USSD codes, although for the purposes of the clients it is reduced to clicks and completion of the necessary information to make said payment. Responses to customers come with SMS. The average time of the payment process (until receiving the SMS the customer) is between 7 and 10 seconds. It allows the payment of all public services and its scope exceeds 27 thousand businesses including virtual businesses (virtual stores). It handles more than 75 million operations per month. It is integrated with all the POS that are operational in Cuba and also with a significant number of cash registers that provide service in Stores and Shops.
Payments through this Platform can be made using the bank cards of the main Cuban banks: BANMET, BANDEC and BPA, without the need to carry these cards. It has a mobile wallet that allows people, especially the unbanked, to pay through two virtual accounts: one in the CUP currency and the other in USD. Payment operations through this platform represent 70% of all electronic payments in Cuba. In his 8 years he has had no security incidents.
What is your competitive advantage? The payment method is very simple and at the same time secure.
It has 4.1 million Cubans, 40% of the entire population and represents 70% of digital payments in Cuba.
Every 3 months new services and functionalities are introduced on the platform, many of these based on the recommendations of our users. It is the most popular platform in Cuba.
Why is your solution best in class? Because it is a simple and at the same time secure solution: payments requested by users generate USSD codes and receive their confirmation responses by SMS. This average time does not exceed 10 seconds. It works very well, even in areas of low coverage, which allows its operability in areas of very poor coverage. In each payment transaction, the information of the cell phone number that generated the request is available. When the client registers on the platform, the telephone number is linked to their bank details in a unique way and while the registration to the system is valid, operations can only be made on the platform from that number. The 10.6% of users are over 60 years old, which denotes their flexibility in people with few showers in handling technologies. Full compatibility with applications that allow the visually impaired to hear the options within this application is guaranteed. Each time the customer wants to make payment transactions or queries, they have to authenticate with a previously defined password. It is an inclusive solution. It is a macroproject that has its own infrastructures that make its accelerated development sustainable and guarantee its very high availability.
Name one advantage of your solution versus competitors. It is the simplest, safest solution for electronic payments in Cuba (zero security incidents in 8 years) that has a high availability and is constantly implementing new electronic payment services. For example, the purchase of virtual stamps (payment of taxes on the document) was recently implemented, without the need to use the stamp in paper format. It provides solutions to difficulties that exist in society and that make their payments more flexible.
Explain your market presence globally and in your strongest market. The growth rate of new users is more than 1 million per year and that of operations grows more than 200% per year. These trends have continued in the last 4 years.
As of February 28 of this year, the Cuban mobile wallet is introduced, which allows money to be credited from anywhere in the world, through an international financial institution, to the virtual USD account of said wallet, whose trade name is Bag My Transfer. This will increase the volume of payment operations, diversification and its reach.
From the point of view of infrastructure, it has everything necessary for its stability and growth.
What was the inspiration for this innovation? It is the most popular application for electronic payments, with more users (4.1 million customers), with a wide range of payment possibilities and better positioned by far advantage in Cuba. This project was born on February 10, 2015 and since then it has been growing rapidly and above all capillarizing within our society. The main reason that inspired me to develop a payment platform was very simple: to give all Cubans the possibility to participate in all the advantages and benefits that electronic commerce has. Well, we cannot talk about electronic commerce if we do not have payment platforms. At the same time, it accelerates the economic development of society, something so necessary in these times. The Transfermóvil project: solution for the development of electronic payments, has brought together dozens of specialists from different entities, whether state or private, to advance and achieve better results for a higher good: to develop as a society. For Cuba, which is a poor country, this platform represents a great opportunity to develop in the sphere of electronic commerce in a sustainable manner.
Who can benefit from your innovation most? The biggest beneficiary of this solution is Cuban society (all Cubans). During the three years of the pandemic, thanks to the use of Transfermóvil, millions of Cubans were able to pay for their services and buy food without having to make a physical presence, contributing to stop the pandemic, by not leaving home for these needs. Today Cuban society appreciates these facilities, and this situation can be seen in all surveys and social networks. In 2020 and 2021 we obtained the popular award in all the surveys carried out on the means of electronic payments that exist today. At the Informática 2022 event, the Transfermóvil project was recognized for its contribution to the fight to eliminate the pandemic. In this year we received the Excelencias award given by a Spanish magazine in the category of popular vote. In 2020 we received from the Ministry of Science and Technology of Cuba the award for best technological innovation that is only given to the 10 best scientific and technological works in a year. In 2021, a special award was received for the economic impact of this solution: Transfermóvil in our society. This is a single annual award given by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Cuba. In 2022 we received the national innovation award given by the Association of Innovators of Cuba. Transfermóvil is a solution that is alive, growing and diversifying according to our society. It is a 100% Cuban solution, which means that we can make any improvement, modification and new implementation using our own resources. Much remains to be done and advanced, but I believe that the initial objectives that motivated this project are being met. This solution is a great challenge for the team because of the social and economic responsibility it carries, right now we are working on 7 new lines of development that must be concluded before the end of this 2023. Each one is a dream to achieve of our entire team and dreams are almost always very difficult to achieve, but we have three basic principles that sustain the project and one of them is based on a phrase that more than 150 years ago an English woman said and says like this: the difference from doing something possible to doing something impossible is that achieving the impossible will only take us a little longer of time.
Why do you think you should win this category? I believe that the most important thing about opting for this award is that you consider that you could win, but regardless of the result, the very essence of this solution does not change. A project has been developed that has resulted in a solution that benefits Cuban society, accessing an e-commerce ecosystem that facilitates procedures, saves time and raises the quality of life of Cubans. This solution continues in progress and development to continue raising the social and economic development of Cuba. It is a solution that listens to its customers improves existing options and implements new services and opportunities to pay electronically. In the last two years, 40% of implementations originated from recommendations and suggestions from our customers. These requests are analyzed for feasibility and then designed and implemented. For the Transfermóvil team it is already an honor to be able to participate in these awards.
Full Name: Juan Antonio Garcia Trapaga
Role: Team leader and solution architect
Full Name: Frank Cruz
Role: Lead Developer
In the last 5 years, more than 700 articles, interviews, reports have been generated in several dozen national and international media.