Today, the e-Payment systems are gaining much popularity due to its intact and secure performance. They have been improving the quality of human lives by providing ease of the payments for online transactions. However, many organizations are emerging with the new concepts and ideas to enhance the electronic payment services.
In an interview with Insights Success, Ken Berke, the Co-founder & President of PayQwick, gave some perspective views which highlights the unique and distinct electronic payment services the company offers its customers which make flawless transactions in a most secured way.
- Kindly tell us about your company.
PayQwick is a compliance-based electronic payment hub that empowers legal cannabis commerce throughout the entire cannabis supply chain, from seed-to-sale. PayQwick enables electronic payments between growers/manufacturer/dispensaries/retailers and all of their service providers, like landlords, attorneys, accountants, testing labs, and non-cannabis product suppliers (B2B); and between dispensaries/retailers and their patients/customers (B2C).
Because PayQwick takes the cash out of the cannabis transaction, Forbes Magazine has labeled PayQwick “The PayPal® of Pot.” With regard to payments from patients/customers to dispensaries/retailers, the PayQwick app works exactly like the Starbucks® app or card, allowing patients/customers to pay electronically at the cash register.
- What kind of services and solutions does your company provide that makes you stand out from the competitors?
PayQwick’s full suite of services for cannabis businesses, consumers and ancillary businesses are listed below. Importantly, all of these functions can be accessed on a desktop computer or even on a smartphone or tablet computer because the PayQwick App is currently available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Cannabis consumers can transfer (load) funds into their PayQwick account electronically via an ACH transfer from their bank. Soon, consumers will be able to transfer funds into their PayQwick account from their credit/debit card.
The Retailers/Dispensaries can accept payment from Consumers electronically, instead of in cash, when the Consumer uses the PayQwick smartphone app. When Retailers/Dispensaries accept payment from Consumers via PayQwick, PayQwick’s software re-allocates the money from the Consumer’s PayQwick account to the Retailer/Dispensary’s PayQwick sub-account. With PayQwick’s Business-to-Business (B2B) electronic payment hub, Cultivators, Manufacturers, Retailers, and Dispensaries can pay for inventory and receive payments electronically this same way so that no cash need trade hands.
- Kindly brief us about the innovative industry trends?
The most innovative industry trends today involve eCommerce cannabis transactions. In the Business-to-Business (B2B) space, there are websites that allow cultivators and manufacturers to list their items for sale on a website – think Amazon. These websites are typically referred to as “Exchanges.” Without PayQwick, these orders are all paid cash-on-delivery (COD), which creates a huge security and public safety risk for the delivery drivers because after making 5-10 deliveries in a day, they are driving around with $100,000-$200,000 in cash in their truck. With PayQwick, the customers need not to carry cash due to online payment system.
In the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) space, delivery services and dispensaries/retailers are building websites that allow their patients/customers to order online. Patients/customers login to the applicable website and select the items they want to buy, dropping them into a shopping cart. Without PayQwick, these orders are all paid cash-on-delivery (COD), which creates a huge security and public safety risk for the delivery drivers because they are driving around with large sums of cash in their car. With PayQwick, payment can be made electronically online or via debit/credit card at the consumer’s front door.
- Briefly, tell us about the CEO/Founder of the company.
PayQwick has two Co-Founders. The Co-Founder and CEO, Keith Marks, has more than 30 years of experience in real estate, corporate finance, and restructuring. Over the last several years, he has overseen the acquisition and disposition of 235 service stations and sites in the Western United States. Over his career, he has completed in excess of 500 transactions valued at more than $6.5 billion. Mr. Marks, along with a core group of strategic partners, owned or managed several other companies. Mr. Marks has a Juris Doctorate from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate/Finance from Arizona State University.
The other Co-Founder and President, Ken Berke, is a California-licensed attorney with over 30 years of experience. In 2014, Mr. Berke combined his legal, business, and regulatory compliance expertise to co-found PayQwick. As PayQwick’s President and an attorney, he has played an integral role in creating PayQwick’s BSA/AML and state law compliance programs. Additionally, through developing PayQwick, Mr. Berke has gained extensive experience implementing cash management protocols for cannabis businesses, which has greatly helped PayQwick’s partner banks minimize the amount of cash they handle when working with legal cannabis businesses.
- Kindly brief us about the unique strategies that you use in your company.
First and foremost, PayQwick is a compliance company. So, one of PayQwick’s key strategies involves strict compliance. Although PayQwick is not a bank, it is a financial institution and is governed by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and the Anti Money Laundering laws (AML). PayQwick has the most robust BSA/AML Compliance Programs in the cannabis industry. Our BSA/AML Compliance Programs have been reviewed by the FDIC (which regulates banks), the NCUA (which regulates credit unions), our bank/credit union partners,third party auditors, and by multiple state regulators.
PayQwick’s second unique strategy involves complete openness and transparency with (a) our regulators (typically, each state’s Department of Financial Institutions), (b) our partner banks/credit unions and (c) with our clients. Only by being open and transparent with all of our stakeholders can PayQwick achieve long-term success and help to normalize and legitimize the cannabis industry.
- Kindly brief us about the most satisfactory experience with a client. What kind of game-changing services have you provided them?
One of our cultivator clients called me with this story: The business was family run; it was run by the mom, dad, and son. Normally, the dad or son made deliveries to dispensaries. One day, the dad and son were busy, so the mom decided she would make the deliveries. After making her morning deliveries, mom wanted to stop for lunch. To her surprise, she had accumulated $50,000 in cash with her. She had no idea what to do with the cash when she stopped to go into a restaurant. Should she bring it with her? Should she leave it in the car? She couldn’t decide what to do and was scared. Then, an epiphany hit her. “ Oh My God! My husband and son are driving around all the time with this much cash, and often more. I am putting them in terrible danger every day!” When she got back to her office, she immediately called PayQwick and signed up for an account so her dispensary clients could pay her electronically instead of in cash.
- How do you work on your long-term relationship with your clients?
Because of the vast suite of services PayQwick provides and because of the extensive due diligence PayQwick’s conducts when onboarding new clients and periodically thereafter, our clients stay with PayQwick for the long term. For example, PayQwick conducts periodic on-site inspections of our clients’ facilities to ensure the businesses are operating in compliance with state law. We share the results of these inspections with our clients, so they can fix any problems we identify before the state regulator does his/her inspection and issues a citation for the violation. By helping cannabis businesses “stay in business,” we foster long-term relationships with our clients.
- What are the values and factors that you attribute your success to? Also, suggest the one quote which adorns your company very well.
We attribute our success to transparency and openness with our regulators and our partner banks/credit unions and to a strict focus on compliance, which comes for our two co-founders. Valuing compliance starts at the top of any organization. If the owners don’t stress compliance, no one in the organization will either.
“PayQwick is one of the few cannabis-related money transmitters that has gotten buy-in from state regulators. To get their endorsement and blessing – I would say you’re probably doing something right.” Hilary Bricken, Harris Bricken, Cannabis Attorneys, and Authors of the CannaLaw Blog.
- What are the future advancements of your company and how well equipped are you?
Our future is very bright. We are licensed, operational and/or approved for our licenses in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, and Michigan. We are expanding to Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and every state that has legalized medicinal or adult-use (recreational) cannabis.