Online payments made simple

Had Michael Jenselius not been left stranded in Phuket in 1995 when his employer went bankrupt two weeks after his arrival, his life would definitely have been different today.
     A long chain of events has led to Michael Jenselius’ currently promoting an exciting new way of doing business on the internet which cuts out the headache of doing ecommerce with the traditional banking sector.
     Michael Jenselius moved to Phuket, Thailand in February 1995 after departing employment in Sweden as Editor-in-Chief of ‘Windows World’, a computer magazine published by IDG (International Data Group) in Sweden.
     Offered a job in Phuket with a small local computer company, the sun and sand beckoned but it took just two weeks for the company to go bankrupt and the owner to leave. He was basically left stranded with no money, no job and no connections. However, he refused to budge and instead started up his own computer business servicing hotels in Phuket.
     “This worked well as there was no other company on the island that could do this at the time,” Michael recalls.
     Eventually he met his wife in Phuket, and they soon decided to move back to Sweden.
     “I just felt I was too tired to run a business by myself in Thailand and thought that things might be better if I moved back to Sweden. Once back in Sweden I started up a company with an old colleague from IDG doing media productions for Internet and print publications. However, after two years in Sweden I could not shake the feeling that I had to go back to Asia. For me, Asia was where the action was!”
     His wife was also pregnant with their first daughter and knowing how Asia was “growing with a spirit that I could not find anywhere else,” the couple returned to Thailand.
     “I sold my shares in the Swedish company and managed to get a freelance job with some IDG-publications doing work that could be done over the Internet. I also found a job as Programming Director with a major Asian online hotel reservation company that was based in Phuket at the time, and in the year 2000 I met my current business partner, Frank Baganz from Germany.”
     The pair shared the dream of setting up their own hotel reservation system on the internet. While planning this, they stumbled on an idea to electronically charge the people that made their bookings with them.
     “This is when we realized how hard it was to obtain a credit card facility for charging credit cards over the Internet. We immediately saw the potential in this business since basically all the Internet companies we knew in Thailand had the same problem. Nobody could offer real-time processing over the Internet. By ‘real-time’ I mean charging the card instantly and getting instant approval or rejection. This was more or less a requirement if you do hotel reservations online. Or any other Internet business for that matter.”
     “So we started to look for ways to create a system that could offer this. My partner started programming our first payment gateway that would support this business model. I started to search for banks around the world that would accept us as a payment processor. As an Asian company, and especially a Thai-based company, this was no easy feat. But after nine months and numerous problems, we finally found two banks that decided to work with us. One in Europe and one in Thailand.”
     “Our company name at that time was DebiThai.com and we soon learned that in surrounding countries like Malaysia and Singapore there was a huge demand for our services as well. We then decided to change our name to Asiadebit.com in order to have a broader scope. We quickly became quite popular in Asia and soon our reputation spread to North America.
     “We soon realized that credit cards are not built for doing transactions over the Internet. There are simply too many risks and there is no real way to protect the card holders from fraud no matter how you do it. Visa and MasterCard tried different approaches to solve this problem but these attempts felt more like patching up a faulty system.
     “And that is how the idea of Payzip started. The idea behind Payzip is to consolidate all information pertaining to the cardholder. This includes card number, personal information and purchasing habits.”
     “This way,” he says, “the cardholder does not need to disclose his/her information at every website he/she purchases from, a situation which inherently opens up the risk of hackers obtaining access to those records.”
     We also have very advanced B2B-functions that suits larger companies as well. If Paypal is aiming for the average Internet user and small business setup, Payzip is more or less aiming for the whole range of users, small individuals to enterprise clients.”

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