Transfermóvil, a Project that Does Not Stop Growing

Transfermóvil, a Project that Does Not Stop Growing
Fecha de publicación: 
22 February 2024
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I’m a faithful and constant user of Transfermóvil, I told Julio Antonio García Trápaga shortly before leaving his office, where we interviewed him about the recently completed 9 years of the project he leads as Director of Support and Development of Digital Products at ETECSA.

What has happened with Transfermóvil in the last year?

“I think 2023 was the most prolific years for Transfermóvil, it was the one in which most services were created, more than 15, in which we made the most updates, more than 8. That is, quite a big job. It’s the year in which the team has reached the maximum number it has today, it started with two people in 2015 and then grew depending on the needs and the expansion of capabilities needed, that is, to do more things within the platform.

“The first most important milestone of the Transfermóvil project is, of course, its own existence, but the second, I always say, is the Monedero (Wallet). The fact that Cuba has a mobile wallet is truly a potential, since it provides many advantages today and tomorrow there will be others that will stem from it. We’ve been using the Wallet for a year now and it has really worked uninterruptedly, it hasn’t had an interruption for even half a second, which gives an idea of sustainability, because when you provide services, they can be very good, but if they are not sustainable, they will not last over time. The other thing is the issue of security, of course, and in this regard there have not been any incidents either.”

What about the number of users?

“Transfermóvil has 4.64 million users, that is, almost certainly between 1 and 2 members of each Cuban family use Transfermóvil. We closed the year with 977 million operations, these are high figures, monthly we are doing more than 100 million, therefore this year we are going to surpass 100 million operations, the level of Online Payments has also been a positive aspect. More or less since June or July, greater emphasis began to be placed on banking and when we compare the operations that were carried out in July with those until December, there is a 50% growth. In users we grew by more than 700 thousand, that is, 25%.”

Is the platform prepared to assume the increase in operations that must be generated from this banking process?

“Transfermóvil is ready, right now every second, on average, 37 operations are carried out, there are milliseconds with more than 500 and seconds in which 4,000, 5,000 operations are carried out. The system is ready, it’s well oriented, it’s still well below its capabilities, the platform is comfortable, it’s not congested, the company has guaranteed this, it has taken care of guaranteeing this growth over the last two years.”

Currently, how much does Transfermóvil cover beyond the payment gateway?

“Transfermóvil has several products, it’s already a suite: the gateway platform as such, which is what everyone knows, a boulevard that can manage QR payments, buying of stamps and tax payment on the document, for example, and we also have a gallery of shops, which was a joint work we did with Guajiritos...

I have seen many young people working here. What are the selection criteria to join the Transfermóvil team?

“You must be, first of all, what we classify as a good person, who has principles, honest, disciplined, open to criticism, persevering, who puts effort into things. Also that they are smart, even if they don’t have the experience due to the few years they have in the sector... We are looking for people who have enough fuel to move forward, learn, here you learn something new every day.

“We do a lot of teamwork, that is essential, without teamwork nothing we’ve built could exist, because here everyone does their part, but they all have to fit together later like pieces of a puzzle.

Transfermóvil is such a large project that many people participate at the same time, 6-7 people can participate in a single service, even specialists from other entities, therefore, it has an organization, a discipline, a communication..."

Are those the keys to the team's functioning?

“There are several conditions, team principles, that are very simple, because sometimes the strength of a project is not in the complexity of things but in the simplicity you are able to achieve. Usability studies have shown that the use of Transfermóvil does not depend on age, that is, even people over 60 years of age, who have had to adapt to the technology, use it because it’s simple. Anyone who has read The Little Prince knows that the success of something, its strength, can be found in simplicity.

“The story of Transfermóvil has been full of effort, we’ve been here on Christmas Eve until 10:00 p.m. Collective work and collective intelligence are always important. Another principle we have is to move forward and improve. Sometimes computer scientists, and it happens in life too, become very perfectionists, we don't release a project until it has all the conditions we believe are right and we take a long time. Transfermóvil projects, of any service, are short times, the most complex, in 4 months you have to get it out in phase one, then we improve it, that is, we advance and improve.

“We’ve gone step by step and we have always been there when society, the people, have needed us. There are many examples, the last one I remember, the buying of stamps, a situation arose in 2022, there was no paper stamp, people were reselling it; they asked us to provide a solution and, in less than a month, we provided this solution that we had already developed, we had already made a lot of progress with ONAT, Correos de Cuba joined and this solution was created, in 2023 3.41 million were cashed in stamp procedures.”

They have also been expanding exchanges with other entities...

“We have worked with state and private entities... anyone who has an idea and the will to move forward can count on us. That is another principle we have always had: we have to work as a team and society has to unite. If you want to advance further you have to unite wholeheartedly to work.

“We are open, always. Now Materias Primas is also asking us for a solution for CUP, it’s one of the services we are working on and this year it should be released... the only way to offer solutions to the people is through that path: unity, being receptive, negotiation. ..”

Do you have feedback channels with users?

“40% of the services we have released at Transfermóvil have been the result of opinions from people who have approached us through different means, either on social networks, since many of us constantly enter to see how they think, what they propose; on the street, when they know that we work at Transfermóvil, they also tell us why don't you do this? We analyze everything and, if it’s viable for the project, we carry it out. The last claim we are about to fulfill is the possibility of paying the TFA from Transfermóvil. Back in 2017 and 2018 they told us about Nauta, we did it, that is, many services have arisen from those own needs.

“We also have people in the territories who are part of the Transfermóvil family, they are anonymous, because perhaps they don’t belong directly to the team, but they give us feedback, some even have social networks and do it very well, there are sites that have helped us a lot to solve problems , to serve customers. The Company, of course, also participates and supports us through social networks. On Telegram there is a Transfermóvil channel which is very good, they are people who don’t even do it for profit, but to help others. We must take advantage of the strengths of social networks.”

What satisfaction do these 9 years of work leave you?

“Something that makes us proud is, when you walk around, the approval is almost unanimous when they talk about Transfermóvil, until now I’ve not found anyone who criticizes it, it could exist, but I haven’t found it. They only ask me when we will have the iPhone version, we have the challenge of entering that market as well.”

Projects for the immediate future?

“This year, we aim to make more than a dozen new services and features. That’s a strategy we have followed, in fact, it should appear in the first publication this year and there are some interesting projects, because we are going to introduce another product. Transfermóvil already has the store gallery, the Bulevar, which is vital in the entire QR payment process and has a payment gateway, now we are working on another project, which I’m not going to advance yet, we want to launch it at the Computer Fair, where we will be present, because the Wallet was selected to participate and right there at the stand we want to make this new launch.

"Now we are talking about banking, in recent months, perhaps in recent years, but Transfermóvil, since it was born, back in 2015, was oriented towards the entire digital transformation process, which is still a stage higher than banking, and the founders, since the project began, were clear that we had to transform, modernize and, in some way, make the lives of Cubans viable, with that approach Transfermóvil was born. The road hasn’t been easy, it continues to be difficult, as in any project you encounter many obstacles and you have to be a strategist when it comes to overcoming them, for that you need fuel "The special thing which is perseverance, so that you can circle the mountain and can move forward, this is the work philosophy we’ve had in these nine years and that we intend to continue."

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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