Cashing in Online

When the banking system collapsed in Russia in 1992, a group of scientists and engineers sprang into action to develop technology that would accept cash payments over the web as a means of helping non-banking customers buy products.


But what started out as an answer to a crisis turned into an opportunity to serve millions of non-banking customers in the United States, and PayCashMobile was born.


PayCashMobile's target market is the 30 million people in this country who for various reasons do not have bank accounts, as well as those without credit cards.


This 30 million is made up of individuals with bad credit, college students, immigrants and people who simply choose not to put their money in banks.


Users deposit money into a PayCashMobile account or one of the 11,000 locations of APS Check Free to create an electronic wallet. Once an account is activated, the user can shop online with cash automatically withdrawn from the PayCashMobile account.


More recently, PayCashMobile expanded its PayCash™ System to allow users to use the service to pay utility bills or pay at a restaurant using a prepaid credit card through a relationship PayCashMobile has with Visa.


"This service is more secure than credit card transactions," said Joe Barboza, president and chief executive officer of Marlborough-based PayCashMobile. "We have patented security technology that offers 1,024-bit encryption code versus what most merchants use, RSA's 128-bit encryption technology."


The Russian scientists and engineers who developed the technology brought it to the United States in 2000 and hired Barboza to capture market share in the states.


Under Barboza's leadership, PayCashMobile recently added a new PayCash System Payment Gateway for merchants. In general it takes days to implement a pay- cash option on an eCommerce site, but the new gateway allows merchants to set up pay-cash options within a few hours, Barboza said.


"The gateway saves them time and solves the problem of having to commit IT resources for an extended period to adopt and maintain pay-cash systems," said Barboza


The service requires no software or hardware at the merchant site; instead, scripting software is used to link back to PayCashMobile's payment system.


About 1,000 merchants are using PayCashMobile's PayCash System, and the company just signed a deal with shopping cart technology provider Arlington Web Services to give its 1,500 merchant customers access to PayCashMobile's new gateway service.


"The system is up and running and we are beginning to promote it, but we think that if we tell people they can give customers the option of buying with cash the response will be very good," said Bob Kister, president of Arlington Web Services of Columbus, Ohio.


"I think even customers who have credit cards will use this service because they fear credit card and identity theft," Kister added.


Another project under way is with AAA to install units that will allow customers to view directions, book a trip or rent a car and pay using their PayCashMobile account.


Investors such as Criptomint & Lederman and 7-Eleven Corp. have made undisclosed investments in the privately held company. PayCashMobile's operating plan is to reach $15 million in revenue within 12 months, Barboza said.


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