By Mohammed Waseem
In my previous article, I wrote about Venmo, a mobile payments app from PayPal, which is available only in the US. France has a similar app and it is called Lydia; which works on similar lines with Venmo and is also fee-free, even while using a credit card to send money, unlike the latter which charges 3% fee for using credit cards.
Lydia aims to facilitate easy exchange of money between people and have partnered with Payline and SFPMEI in order to offer the best service. The app also has the mobile wallet feature which stores money in the account which can be transferred to a bank account overnight. Users can send money to anyone in France using debit cards and credit cards and can send money to friends who use the app.
Lydia merges the credit and debit cards and the mobile, such that users can pay from phone instead of using the cards, as the cards are linked to Lydia. When the user chooses a card and makes a payment, the card is debited and money is transferred immediately, which makes it similar to the cards in the way they function. After the completion of each transaction, a confirmation message or a receipt is sent to the user’s email address. All receipts can also be accessed from the Lydia app.
Lyida can be used to pay, even without internet connection. However, in order to see the receipts, one has to have an internet connection. When a user sends money using Lydia, a QR code is generated, which has to be sent by SMS or email to the recipient by providing their mobile number or email. The recipient has 7 days to accept the payment and claim it, which can be done by scanning the QR code. Users can also request for payments through a text message.
When Lydia is free for users, how does it make money? Well, they have another product which is meant for businesses, regardless of their size; it is called Lydia Pro, and it is not free. It allows retailers to accept payments using the Lydia app. They are in turn charge 0.3% per transaction and a monthly plan starts at €4.90. Instead of charging higher fee and using the revenue on marketing campaigns to attract users, they chose to make the retailers their indirect promoters by charging lesser fee, thus attracting the retailers.
They presently have over 20000 users and have over 1000 retail customers, many of which process over 1000 transactions per month. Lydia is currently offered only in France, but they may expand internationally as they do not face technological or regulatory issues. The app is available on Windows Phone, iOS and Android.