Johnson Sasikumar: Super powering MEASA’s payment landscape

Meet Johnson Sasikumarthe Group Head of StrategyPayTabs, an online mobile, social, and next-generation payment processing powerhouse for merchants and super merchants. With an impressive track record as a serial entrepreneur and over 29 years of expertise as a leader in the digital payments industry, Johnson possesses a wealth of knowledge in driving business development, shaping operational efficiency, and crafting strategic initiatives. His astute leadership and entrepreneurial prowess have positioned him as a trusted name in the ever-evolving landscape of next-generation payment solutions.

Johnson takes us through PayTabs journey when almost a decade ago, Abdulaziz Fahad Al Jouf, a pioneer in Fintech startups, established PayTabs – the payment processing company, after gaining extensive experience founding out of the box startup companies focused on sales optimization and events management. He started the company with limited resources and a big idea to enable e-commerce businesses to sell online and collect payments seamlessly. After months of sleepless nights, Abdulaziz pitched his idea to investors, and as a result, today PayTabs is an awardwinning payments powerhouse which has since grown to over 200 employees in 10 markets. PayTabs is a dynamic and diverse company that is driven to solve global digital payment problems with a local focus, and which aims to change the way people make digital payments by making it easier, safer and faster for people to set up payment gateways and receive payments.

Johnson says with a smile “At PayTabs, our mission is quite simple: To pioneer and lead next generation payments and merchant payment solution services by making it simple, secure and ACCESSIBLE for all.”

Digitizing the Payment Journey

Johnson explains how over the years, PayTabs product has evolved to cater to new consumer segments that are cropping up. “When we started out in 2014, we offered a no frills, vanilla Payment Gateway product with a simple check out page. In addition, merchants like online academies for example could create electronic invoices and share it with their customers. Also included was a merchant dashboard for businesses to check their transaction volume and history. A couple of years later in 2017, to cater to the market dynamic, we also developed a mobile app. Then in 2019, our entire platform underwent a massive in-house development, and we built PT 2.0 which was an enhanced version of our payment gateway. Via PT.20, merchants could now even share invoices over social media. The dashboard became customizable – so merchants could even change their theme to suit their brand. With the enhancement we offer a gold standard in onboarding – one click or online onboarding so entrepreneurs could start their ecommerce business soon after they conceived the idea – if they wished to.

Recently, we diversified with our SaaS solutions offering. It includes Payment Orchestration, White labelling, and our proprietary Switch technology. Via these solutions PayTabs offers banks, financial institutions, and other fintech firms an elevated payment processing experience. If we think that our clients corporate and SME customers would benefit from a payment gateway, but do not want to build one from the ground-up, we can offer customized merchant dashboards, and apps. Our flexible and compelling price points aim to empower processing, and scale in the region, resolving our clients’ challenges of procuring over-priced solutions.

Then our Paymes social commerce platform for freelancers enables micro merchants to collect their payments via social media links and QR Codes. They can even set up a free web store within 60 seconds minutes for no additional cost (yes, we timed it). Such is the dynamic, growth and product evolution that we have brought to the payments space.”

Breaking payment barriers

Johnson speaks of PayTabs early mover position – “Home grown in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, PayTabs had an early mover advantage in B2B payments. At that point, the regional fintech market was yet to reach a saturation point, making it relatively easy for PayTabs to enter the “create mode” and establish a strong product/market fit. Unlike any other generic payment gateways or processing companies, PayTabs proudly stands as a homegrown venture, enabling them to connect with clients on a deeper level by understanding their insights, culture, and behavior before finalizing a sale. With various advantages and unique selling propositions, PayTabs swiftly recognized the need to transcend its initial role as a payment gateway and transform it into a comprehensive “Full Stack Payments Technology Company” to impact the region significantly.

PayTabs can serve the entire MEASA region, benefiting from a broader digital presence and an extensive network of partners. This enables the company to provide customized platforms to clients operating multiple stores and branches across different countries in the region. With diverse payment acceptance options, PayTabs goes beyond international credit and debit cards, offering digital wallet solutions such as Apple Pay, Union Pay International, Mada, and urpay. Expanding its product portfolio to include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, PayTabs has ventured into a new segment, catering to a wide range of customers. From freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups, and SMEs to larger enterprises, banks, and other fintech companies, PayTabs addresses the needs of the entire customer ecosystem. This includes micro-merchants to macro/super merchants, providing them a competitive digital edge in the market.”

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