The story of Pago began in 2016, when Adrian Cighi and Alexandru Popescu founded Timesafe and set out to help Romanians make payments easier and faster, making the payment of utility bills more efficient. The Romanian startup soon drew attention of the BT Group, which became a shareholder, but also of the Mastercard and Visa companies, strategic partners during these years.
This month we celebrated 3 years since the launch of Pago, over 200,000 monthly active users, and a total value of processed payments of over 100 million Euros. It is a good time to remember the main achievements and thank Pago users for their trust!
2017 – development, launch, continuous improvement
Pago was announced at the Internet & Mobile World 2016 event. At the time, the app was available in Beta version for iOS. In the summer of 2017, after more than a hundred iterations with design changes and screens for each version, we also launched the Beta version for phones with Android operating systems. We will always be grateful to the first 3,000 users who provided us with valuable feedback in this extended testing phase, which allowed us to officially launch Pago in November 2017, with the support of Mastercard Romania.
In addition to paying bills to 40 national and local providers, payments such as fast and low priced mobile top-ups and road tax were also available.
2018 – The first 100 integrated suppliers and new functionalities
Immediately after the launch, we focused on increasing the number of suppliers available in the app. As one user told us at the time, “If I have to go elsewhere to pay one of the bills, the utility of the app decreases a lot.” That’s how we ended up exceeding 100 suppliers after a few months, the list including all national suppliers and some of the regional ones, present in several counties in the country.
The second half of the year brought 2 new features without which it would be difficult for us to imagine Pago today: useful alerts about various car-related expiry dates, of which over 100,000 have been sent so far, and RCA mandatory car insurance, where over 15,000 have been bought in Pago so far.
Moreover, over 35 million Pago points convertible into lei were offered and used by our users (equivalent to over 350,000 lei). Points are awarded for almost any action made from Pago, from creating an account to connecting suppliers to making payments and donations.
2019 – significant growth
Less than a year after its launch, Pago was downloaded over 150,000 times, but it was since 2019 that we can say that Pago has grown significantly. The new functionalities and the constant improvement of the existing ones attracted more and more users, and September 2019 brought us two great recognitions, a few days apart: Visa became a strategic partner for the next 3 years, and Pago received the local grand prize at the Central European Awards, as the Fintech Start-up of the Year in Romania.
In 2019 we also launched new functionalities: travel insurance, automatic top-ups and Donate with Pago, through which we help non-governmental organizations to raise individual donations faster, easier and without costs.
2020 – growth in times of pandemic
This year was a challenge also for us, but it also turned out to be an opportunity for growth. We started 2020 by launching Pago in Poland after we created, in 2019, a small local office in Warsaw and we were part of an accelerator for start-ups. Then in October we launched the beta version in Italy and we are working to launch the full version early next year.
March came with the challenges we all felt. Anticipating the importance of secure payments, we decided as a team to make the app completely free from March 12, 2020 and until the end of May. During this period the number of users almost doubled and we were extremely happy to see that the app has an even more important role in society – something somehow confirmed by our first CSR award, received for the Donate with Pago project at the CSR Awards Gala.
By December 2020 over 350 suppliers are available in Pago and the total value of processed payments has exceeded 100 million Euro. We are preparing to launch new features and launch in new European countries. None of this would be possible without the Pago team, over 25 developers, graphics, marketing and communication experts from our team, as well as over 200,000 active users.