Belgian payment app Pay Bonsai hopes to capture market share from well-established services like Payconiq with an environmentally friendly approach. For every ten transactions, the company promises to plant a tree. Collaboration with Google Pay, Google’s payment service, should increase ease of use.
Paying bonsai is not new. The payment app started at the end of 2016 as CashFree with testing at merchants in Sint-Martens-Latem. Signed out with a QR code. However, the application remained very small.
“It doesn’t become a formal payment institution overnight. It took three years to get everything financially, legally and technically in order,” explains CEO Jill Bates. “We really went to market in September 2019. Six months later, we started thinking about the added value, how we could be different from other companies. We wanted to make a positive impact.”
trees in madagascar
And so the idea was born to spend 10 percent of sales on planting trees in the fight against climate change. This happens in Madagascar, where employment is also stimulated. “After that, we were not so lucky that the corona crisis started. After all, we were dependent on food and students,” says Bates. “Fortunately, investors have continued to believe in us.” These are the investors of the Flemish family. They supported a capital increase of €2.5 million.
Currently, the app has about 45,000 registered users, says Bates. In order to increase access, Pay Bonsai now also offers payments via Google Pay in addition to its QR code system. This allows users to go anywhere contactless MasterCard cards are accepted. Later this will also be possible with Apple Pay on iPhones.
Pay Bonsai earns money through advertising deals with merchants, who can also link their loyalty card to the app, and transaction costs. User data has yet to be monetized, according to the CEO, but it will happen in the long run. “While we will never sell data, we will provide marketing insights or services to traders,” Batts explains.
The idea of planting trees is not entirely new. For example, there has been an Internet search engine for some time, Ecosia, which promises to plant trees in every search.
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