Seeing the success of Dr Ahmad Khawaja, we have been eagerly waiting to know his history even more. In this interview, he has highlighted a lot about his personal life, following which he talked about the journey of Allied Wallet as well. Dr. Ahmad Khawaja grew up as a kid in Lebanon and then, he came to America when he was a teenager. Later on, he worked in the high-end retail business for years. He even talked about his experience in running a chain of retail stores with locations in Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive as well as at the Las Vegas MGM. As the internet started to grow, Dr. Ahmad began to realize that there is an absolute necessity for a way to accept credit cards and thus, he thought of addressing it. Dr. Ahmad further shared his experience with the international customers. He said that it is all because of them that he had begun to understand foreign business so well. He even expressed his desire to create a way to connect business owners and customers all over the world. He went on saying that it would never happen without Allied Wallet. Ten years back, they were marketing by word of mouth, and then they got fortunate enough to process for 150 million merchants around the world.
Interviewer: Can you explain Allied Wallet and its business in your own words.
Ahmad Khawaja: Allied Wallet is the fastest growing online payment processor in the world as of now. We take pride in being able to provide the ability to process credit card payments to different small and large businesses around the globe so that they can accept transactions from the customers securely and quickly, even from the startups. Our award winning APIs are here to make sure that all the transactions are scrubbed for fraud. This is important to excuse the growing rate of cyber crimes. Allied Wallet can now process in 150 different currencies for a truly international experience.
Interviewer: How did the idea of Allied Wallet pop in your mind?
Ahmad Khawaja: I started this company ten years back since I was inspired to give businesses all across the globe. We were then focused in serving them with the opportunity to take their company to the next level, rather to the global level. That was the time when I realized that there was a need for more secure ways to ensure the processing of international transactions. Looking around the available options, I could eventually figure out that no one else was doing this and thus, it left open a lot of room for fraud for me, which can certainly ruin a business.
Interviewer: Could you tell us about the process of starting up Allied Wallet?
Ahmad Khawaja: Different merchants come up to us and then we make them fill out an application on our website. We have our in-house underwriting team who are assigned with the task of reviewing their documents and then, they would be sending them an approval email with the code for the secured checkout page on their website. Just as the merchant makes the required changes to their site, we set them live. The team of Allied Wallet is capable of doing all this within just a span of 12 hours.
Interviewer: Any particular difficulties that you had to face during startup?
Ahmad Khawaja: just like any other processing company, we did not start with investor funding. I have built Allied Wallet by using my own funds. This is because I believed in this company, and with hard work and dedication from our team, we are here to create one of the most successful processing companies in the world and I have been witnessing its graph today.
Interviewer: How is Allied Wallet developing since the startup?
Ahmad Khawaja: As we first started, we were primarily focused on the gateway. We made it a point to make sure that it had the highest security available to deter all sorts of fraud. Since then, we have also created other products such as our pre-paid card, virtual wallet, and our NextGen gateway. We believe in our motto of evolving each day so as to come up with new and better products to help our merchants each time.
Interviewer: What kind of feedback did you get for Allied Wallet till now?
Ahmad Khawaja: Allied Wallet is extremely well known in nations like the US, Europe and Asia. The company is well recognized for our great processing features. We have been receiving awards continuously for our commitment to ensure that our merchants do well. Our growth rate of 200-500% every year shows that people trust Allied Wallet for their business transactions.
Interviewer: Do you face a lot of competition in this industry especially from companies like Allied Wallet?
Ahmad Khawaja: We love competition. PayPal is probably the biggest direct competitor that we have. However, they have a different infrastructure and we have a global approach with different capabilities. At this point of time, we believe that we have more flexibility for our merchants. The payments industry is very competitive at present, but with our great in-house customer service, low rates, wide variety of shopping cards to integrate with, and unbeatable fraud protection, Allied Wallet has successfully marked its place in the industry.
Interviewer: Anything that you want to tell us about the digital payments’ industry?
Ahmad Khawaja: The digital payments’ industry is indeed very competitive. It can be dangerous too, particularly for the new merchants. There are a lot of things that one needs to understand related to that of accepting credit cards online before you actually jump into it. Alongside, you need to have a secure gateway to keep out fraud.
Interviewer: What is the future of the industry? How do you plan to stay relevant in this industry?
Ahmad Khawaja: The digital payments industry is only growing over the time. You see more people paying with cards or with apps these days, and not via cash. This simply means that more people will now call for a way to be able to send payments electronically. Allied Wallet is constantly improving and creating new products. Thus, it is always making it a point to stay at the top of the game as one of the world’s most reliable processors from the industry.
Interviewer: What is your take on Asian entrepreneurship vs Western entrepreneurship?
Ahmad Khawaja: Being an entrepreneur in Asia, Ahmad Khawaja says that it is very different than being one in the Western World like that of the US or Europe. The law is completely different. Also, there are different regulations. It is rather more important to say that most of the work ethic is different. On several meetings with top businessmen in Tokyo or Hong Kong or Singapore, I notice how determined and focused they are at their work, and I feel surprised to see that they don’t stop until they achieve their goals. It is really very inspiring.
Interviewer: What is your definition of success?
Ahmad Khawaja: Success comes with working hard. It is all about accomplishing your goals, and at the same time, it is also about being able to help others on the way to the top. It is essential to surround yourself with hard working people who believe in you, Success is certainly going to make a difference in your life.
Interviewer: What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Ahmad Khawaja: I have always aspired to become an entrepreneur. I used to collect shell casings on the street and turn them into money as a young kid in Lebanon. Just as I moved to America, I started working really hard at every job I was in. I made sure that the company I worked for grow while counting my contributions towards it.
Interviewer: What are the keys to entrepreneurial success?
Ahmad Khawaja: The primary key to success is hard work. It is also essential to have belief on one’s own self. If you are lacking both of those, you won’t make it as an entrepreneur.
Interviewer: Any parting words of wisdom for entrepreneurs from your personal experience?
Ahmad Khawaja: I would like to say that a vision and hard work would lead you to success. You should work hard, put in the effort, devote enough time, and make sure that you choose a reliable, safe processing company that you can trust to help you grow. If you do all these, nothing can stop you from reaching your goals. Never waste a single day, as a day wasted will leave you to lag behind your goal.