Episode 331

How to Set Up Payment Plans for Your Online Business with PayFlexi

Learn how to set up payment plans for your online business with PayFlexi in this episode of the LMScast podcast hosted by Chris Badgett from LifterLMS. Joining us are Tolu and Stanley from PayFlexi, which is a flexible payments infrastructure for your online business where customers can pay in installments for products you sell, making your products accessible to more people.

PayFlexi does integrate with WooCommerce and even LifterLMS directly, so if you’re a LifterLMS or WooCommerce user already, check out their solution at PayFlexi.co. PayFlexi can be used for education, e-commerce, invoicing, or any environment where you want customers to be able to split their payments.

Stanley Ojadovwa
Tolu Olowu

About 2 years ago, Stanley and Tolu got together to work on infrastructure products for institutes to accept electronic payments, which is mostly just credit, and the idea for PayFlexi came about when they wanted to create a system that would work for people who may not qualify for traditional credit.

With PayFlexi alongside LifterLMS, there are all kinds of neat integrations. For example, you can require users to complete their payment installments before getting access to a specific course or membership.

How to set up payment plans for your online business with PayFlexi

The process for getting started with PayFlexi alongside LifterLMS is pretty seamless. You just need LifterLMS installed, PayFlexi installed, and an account with PayFlexi to get your API keys to connect to your website. Then the payment terms are set up, and PayFlexi automatically knows when to enroll that student in a course based on their payment schedule managed by PayFlexi, but paid through your payment gateway on your website.

PayFlexi is based in Lagos, Nigeria, which is quickly becoming a tech innovation center in Nigeria and for Africa. Many tech companies for WordPress have been coming out of Lagos recently, including Paystack, which has recently sold to Stripe.

There’s a specific LifterLMS – PayFlexi integration created by PayFlexi, so you can check that out if you’re interested in offering payments in installments to your customers in any way or seeing how their system works. Be sure to let them know you saw Tolu and Stanley on LMScast.

And at LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high-value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay to the end, I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. I’m joined by two special guests. We’ve got Tolu and Stanley from PayFlexi. You can find that at PayFlexi.co, and if you’re picking up what we’re laying down here on this episode, head on over to the LMScast website, do a search for PayFlexi, and you’ll find links to everything we talk about. But first, Stanley and Tolu, welcome to the call.

Tolu: We’re glad to be here. Thank you, Chris.

Stanely: Thanks a lot, Chris, for having us here. Yeah, we appreciate this.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m really excited to interview you guys. For the listener out there, when I look at what our users do with learning management system, one of the things that’s most important to them is e-commerce. So, when you go into the e-commerce part of selling training or selling access to a remote school, what is PayFlexi? How do you describe it to somebody who isn’t really aware of it yet?

Stanely: Okay. So, PayFlexi is in simple terms, it’s a payment plan solution that enable businesses to offer flexible payment option, or flexible payment plans to their customer. So we can use it across different categories, in terms of for education, for e-commerce, for invoicing. As long as you want to give your customer the option to split their payments, then you can use PayFlexi to do that.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. So how does it consider when they get access to the product, or whatever it is they’re buying, do they get it after they’re done paying or they get it at the beginning? How does that work?

Stanely: No. So for PayFlexi, actually you get access to the service or to the product after completing the entire payment. So that’s how PayFlexi works for now, makes it different from other payment plans.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, which is really cool. And you guys integrate with LifterLMS, WooCommerce, am I correct? And then Easy Digital Downloads?

Stanely: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: What are the major e-commerce integrations that you have?

Tolu: So currently we’re integrate with [inaudible], with WooCommerce, with LifterLMS and we should probably start from there, Easy Digital Downloads. And currently we have other tools in the pipeline that we’re currently rolling out. Other people pay for services or for products which will eventually be the… which is at the pipeline, and we’re starting to roll out the [inaudible].

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, what inspired you guys to make the PayFlexi product and come into this space? What is the origin story of PayFlexi?

Tolu: So it’s like 24 months ago, like two years ago, myself and Stanley, we got together to work on products. We set out to build infrastructure for institutes to accept electrical payment. And so largely on the internet, that’s… Yeah and that’s almost just credit. But we wanted to do it so it’s a little bit of a twist and one, because credit starts readily available, and also it’s based on what’s called a grading or a credit system, or [inaudible]. So we thought, why don’t we democratize the old scoring system, and do something that people who might not qualify to get traditional credit, who so want to pay for services, for goods for products or be it in a flexible way, and they would rather space the payments than not get the actual product itself. So we started working on it, and in a few months we add some early add-on tests. And what will interest you is we also found out that sub-tractional retail stores into these in-apps.

They just have an inside tracing services. So we thought if this is already available and people pay with this way and manner, we might credit mainstream and make other people’s bills get their hands on it. And so that for us, is the program’s doing. So we want to offer credit, but we know not everybody will get credit.

Chris Badgett: Wow. That’s really cool.

Tolu: And for those who get credit, we also don’t want them to democratize [inaudible], and we want them to still be able to be for goods and services. That’s the story.

Chris Badgett: I love that mission. I’ve never heard that. There’s a funny saying in WordPress, that everybody is trying to democratize something, like I’m trying to democratize education. I’ve never heard democratize credit, but that makes complete sense. It’s just kind of leveling the playing field. I got into WordPress in 2008, just as a regular user and a blogger. And I thought I was late to the party. We’re recording this in 2021, and there’s still so many businesses, like you mentioned, the mainstream businesses that have credit systems that have yet to go through the digital transformation. So I don’t think you’re late.

Stanely: We’re not at all.

Chris Badgett: There’s still a lot of time-

Tolu: We hope not.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s super cool. I love that story. That’s awesome. And as you’re talking, and as I’ve come to learn more and more about PayFlexi, there’s a lot of focus in the e-commerce world on recurring revenue, but not this kind of credit system like you’re talking about, which is like such a gap in the market. So I’m so glad you guys built that for-

Stanely: Thanks a lot Chris, yeah.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. That’s a good find. That’s a big opportunity and you’re basically allowing anybody to be a bank, and offer financing, which is… Yeah.

Stanely: Exactly.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. That is super cool. Well, what’s the user experience for just a regular user, somebody who’s not a developer, who they like this idea of having a credit system, where they want to sell access to, let’s say, LifterLMS powered course or membership, and they don’t want the person to get in until they finished their financing and building up to it. What do they do? What do they need to install? What’s the fastest, easiest way to get started?

Stanely: Yeah. So the process is quite seamless for us. So what we’ve done so far is to do more native integration, like a platform like LifterLMS. So thanks for LifterLMS for the support in getting that through. So the entire process involves a course instructor or course context owner, basically who have a license to LifterLMS. So they just install LifterLMS on their platform as their learning management system. And then they can then search for PayFlexi as an add-on on LifterLMS, then activate PayFlexi. Once they do that, they can then sign up. So basically the set up for the course owner, they sign up an account on PayFlexi, get their API keys, and then just add it to their set up on LifterLMS. And therefore a normal user who is coming to their course content or to the course platform for the first time, all they need to do is just to select PayFlexi as a payment plan option, and then they can then set up their payment plans.

So what they do is they can set up how much they want to pay, how long they want to pay, and then we just take over the entire process from there. Then for each, what we do is that we just track the payment automatically, and we make based on your credit payment method on file, we auto-debit them based on their schedule. And once the entire payment is complete, we auto-enroll them onto that particular course that they registered for, without even the course owner or the person paying for the course doing anything. So we automatically enroll them and then they get an email and say, “Oh, you’re now enrolled on this course,” immediately they finish their payment, and then they can go ahead and enjoy the course.

Chris Badgett: That is super cool. And how does it work with with the credit or the financing, where for the user, can they kind of build their own plan or they have to choose from like time and amounts, or how does that work?

Tolu: So what we’ve done, that is to give the product to the course creator, the content owner in this case. They accept their payment plan or leeway structure. They might say for this course, the maximum number of spread, or installments will allow just two or three. We have that power just from their PayFlexi [inaudible] dashboard. So they could set say, if the cost is lower than say maybe $200, you only allow two installments or three installments maximum. And so when that’s done, they own good score bearing. The costs they’ve done, would come and they’ll be presented with a check out that is quite user friendly. The preference is already set by the course creator would be available, and would be used to customize to check out that the course taker is presented with [inaudible].

So they will pay, they will make a commitment, an upfront, and subsequently the plan will kick in, and they won’t be charged as the plan goes. So if it’s the monthly plan, they will be charged monthly. If it’s a weekly plan, they will charge weekly, up until the last installment on the plan and then they can access the course in the system.

Chris Badgett: What happens when things don’t go well, like somebody doesn’t make a payment or the credit card fails or whatever, what is the experience for the user and what is the experience for the course?

Tolu: Okay. For the course creator, we would file them like it’s a failure if there is an instatement we couldn’t charge or we charged unsuccessfully. And so they know probably there’s just a delay, we will retry; normally two to three days we’ll retry, and then we’ll probably give up and loose five course rating. And failing attempts with person signing up for the payment plan for the course, we will file right away as a payment failure, and we will try perhaps you just need to [inaudible] their card, or from their bank accounts, where the card took this out. And it’s just so we would be able to track and report.

But in a case of total default, where they probably don’t want to take the course any longer, in that case, we will let probably the course creator undo that. And we’ll probably [inaudible] just report to them as how to proceed about money. But what we want is for them to be able to say, “You know what, there’s no way they’d pay all the money back,” because of for their pays will think probably they’re being surcharged. And we’re thinking around that at the moment. I’ll let Stanley probably chime in on that before we leave that topic.

Stanely: Yeah. So most of the time, what that does when a students or whoever is trying to take a course doesn’t complete a payment is that that also prolonge the duration in terms of when they get access to the course. So what that means is that if they have a payment figure at any time, they will not be able to have access to the course because they’ll not be able to enroll into that course until they complete that payment. So we notify them, and also depending on the payment method they have on file, and the country they are, we can also present them with other alternative payment methods and say, “You know what, if you’re having a challenge with…” So for example, if the person is here in Nigeria, we can say, “Okay, if you’re having a challenge with paying with card, then you can try mobile payments, or you can try bank transfer, you can try USSD.”

So these are payment options that are available here in Nigeria that people can try, so that they’ll be able to make payments. So those are some of the ways we try to help the course creator to get their money at the end of the day. Yeah.

Chris Badgett: That’s really cool. So they can switch the payment method in the middle if they need to.

Stanely: Exactly.

Tolu: That is the plan, yeah.

Stanely: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: You guys have thought of everything. The payments while they sound easy, there’s always all this detail, like when you really go through all these scenarios. And I’d love seeing a well thought out product, like PayFlexi, it’s super cool.

Tolu: Thank you.

Chris Badgett: For those of you out there listening, go to PayFlexi.co. Also check out the show notes, we have a link to a page they have about how to use it specifically with LifterLMS.

One of the interesting things about WordPress and for us at LifterLMS and for you at PayFlexi, is that WordPress is simultaneously built for the regular user, and the power user developer persons, which is a challenge, but also one of the coolest opportunities of WordPress. What do you have for developers who want to go further, what can they do with PayFlexi?

Tolu: Okay. So the [inaudible] is the way to go for not the power users, or even the power users, because it’s all able to encompassing it’s-

Chris Badgett: It’s feature complete.

Tolu: It’s feature complete, yes. That’s the word I was looking for. So if they want to do something more advance or just more customized, then they can go for a custom integration. And so we have [inaudible] that they can pull in, and just get going with PayFlexi, without maybe go through the [inaudible], as they were. So they can head over to developers at Payflexi.co, to get started on that. And that would allow the to do something like from today, to maybe a particular day to the future, give me a customized checkout, and I don’t want any installment. Just speed over that ending. So things like cost customizations and all the other [inaudible] that might not be readily exposed to the plugin ,they can access it. And we’re also working on exposing the rest of the APIs, that they can probably get going, probably they want to use something endless, we can power that as well. But if they have just any mean the feel they most probably might not be ready to cater to, that will be the way to [inaudible].

Chris Badgett: Very cool. And another just use case question for you, if somebody like a course creator has a site, and maybe some people just want to pay full price there, they don’t want or need financing, but others do, is it kind of something where they can go either way?

Tolu: Yes. So each checkouts with the payment plan customizations also included in this opportunity, the access to just make one payment. And so if you can afford the cost fee pay, and you don’t need to go on a payment plan, you might as well just make a one-payment for to cover the cost fees today. And so on the check out, so you can say, “I’m not making a payment plan, I want to make the complete payment today,” and that’s a relief.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s the thing with checkout these days, is people want options. Like I’ve always seen, in my own testing and seeing it in my experience, that if you offer like two options, let’s say like Stripe and PayPal, some people will go to PayPal, some people will go to Stripe. And now you guys having like a credit system is super smart, because basically, from my perspective, what’s happening in technology, is all the power is going to the user, which is a good thing. Like I want my package to arrive quickly, I want to do all my shopping on the phone, I want like an entire school on my website, I want to be my own bank, like it’s awesome. It’s just a great time to be in technology, and just empowering people and entrepreneurs and all that stuff. So that is super cool.

Tolu: It is, from [inaudible]. Something else probably to get it or that we should talk about right now is, we have something that we call Bring Your Own Payment Gateway.

Chris Badgett: Bring Your Own Payment Gateway. Well, I’m curious, what is this?

Tolu: Okay. So if you’re already set and accepted payment where you say Stripe, we want you to not do anything at all differently from what you already do. We want you to bring your Stripe account and use it on PayFlexi. So what that would do for businesses, is it would allow it to get started on day one. So as they sign on to use PayFlexi, they can already go live because they probably are already accepting payments via Stripe. And so we want to extend that to other payment gateways. Right now we have very many gateways supported. We have Stripe, because Stripe is available in like 44 countries, almost all of Europe, and you can use it from anywhere.

But for all gateways, they are not so maybe mainstream or widespread like Stripe. We have also Paystack. Paystack is heavily used in Africa and you can already get going with the existing Paystack accounts, Stripe accounts. We are working hard to have [inaudible 00:25:39] supported in a week. So with this, it makes one body, it makes getting started quite easy. We just put up a [inaudible 00:25:52] in their existing integrations or into vantages as they were, and they continue to process payments they way they’ve always done it. And we think, for us, we are quite excited about the possibilities, and be able to share that and not having drop anything, or maybe miss a payment, miss a payout because there’s this new product they want to try out, and it’s making them drop everything they’ve always used. No other for our customers or users. So we want it to be quite easy for them to me to get started with PayFlexi.

Chris Badgett: That is really cool. Bring Your Own Payment Gateway. And that’s going to help with people getting going and getting started. You just get to leverage… The future of the internet is like the network. So just by leveraging all those payment gateways is amazing. You mentioned Paystack. Did they come out of Lagos? Can you tell us about the Lagos tech community and innovation that’s happening?

Tolu: So Lagos is where it is up in this [inaudible]. When you’re talking about the tech community, when you’re talk about creative products coming out of Lagos is out of this world. And not only local businesses, even international businesses are from… They run a lot of power houses from Lagos. And it’s an exciting period. Yeah. So you have small businesses, like [inaudible], and then you have bigger businesses. You have businesses who have raised funding, who’ve received seed as a [inaudible]. Even with a serious [inaudible]. And so it’s an evolving ecosystem. It’s no longer the… what’s it called? The NASA of the growing… isn’t an environment that it used to be. And lastly, probably you already know, we’re just the tech hub of Africa, I’m able to say that, and we’re glad for what’s happening around this [inaudible].

Stanely: Yeah. So if I may chine in there, so for us, Legos we have a lot of talent here. So yeah there’s a lot of talent here, in bright minds. Was solving not only local problems, but continental problem and global problems like what were doing with PayFlexi. So it’s always lively here, so we have people who are willing to try new things, who are willing to commit to a new thing. So yeah so it is more like the innovation center for Nigeria and for Africa. So that’s why you see a lot of… Like Paystack, Paystack is from Lagos, but they went to YC. Gone through various stages of development, and now they’ve sold to Stripe. So Paystack is now a Stripe owned company. So you can see how amazing that is. That is to tell you how the ecosystem has improved over the years. Yeah.

Chris Badgett: How about what’s the WordPress scene like in Lagos? There’s different parts all over the world where there’s just a WordPress community stuff going on.

Tolu: Yeah. So WordPress is probably the platform on which was caught up [inaudible] right. Even myself, I certainly think of it with WordPress, they’re about certainly a [inaudible], certain things, there about. And this thing, like you’ve asked, at that time, Walter, the WordPress helper meets us. It’s really strong in Lagos. And it used to be this regular meetups. I, myself, I wouldn’t say I’m so article in that [inaudible] right now, but I know it. I know the [inaudible], I know they used to do it. I know the WordPress local community is resource strong here in Lagos and Nigeria generally.

Stanely: Yeah. So also the WordPress community, there’s a slack channel of over 1,000 currently active users on slack currently as of today. They’re active community on slack, and engaging and discussing various… also contributing to open source. So we have one of the contributors to WordPress here in Nigeria also. So he’s in Nigeria. So that tells you how the WordPress community is also growing in Nigeria.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. That’s awesome. It’s always cool to see just, with the open source community, just all this innovation happening all over the world. It’s amazing. Well, awesome.

Well, Stanley and Tolu, I want to thank you for coming on the show. I want to encourage everybody that’s listening to go to PayFlexi.co. Also head on over to the LifterLMS podcast, and click on the links. We’ll have links to some info they have around PayFlexi for LifterLMS, their developer documentation, and other resources.

Stanley and Tolu, it’s been a pleasure hanging out with you. Do you have any final words for the people?

Tolu: So we want to see LifterLMS users, content creators, call on us on the [inaudible] PayFlexi, see how they like it. And we’ll always be on hand to call, any way we can. If they’re having any issue getting started, and you have questions, just reach out to us and we’ll be more than obliged to help.

Chris Badgett: Awesome.

Stanely: Yeah. So for me, I want to encourage all course content creator or creator in general not to leave money on the table. So one of the ways to do that… because when customers come to your platform, sometimes they don’t have the full money, and then they don’t have a payment option available, most of the time they’ll just leave without making a course purchase or making any commitment. So one of the ways for you to encourage your customers to jump into your course, or to register, is to give them the payment option. And that’s what PayFlexi basically does. So it give you that power to your customers to hop in to a plan that will make them committed to your course. So, I encourage everybody sign up to PayFlexi. And if you have any challenge, always reach out to us, and we are here to help you.

Thanks a lot, Chris, for this time.

Chris Badgett: Stanley, Tolu, it’s my pleasure. So head on over to PayFlexi.co and I can’t wait to do more collaboration with you folks. I love working with great companies and I highly recommend you check out PayFlexi. Have a great rest of your day.

Stanely: You, too. Yeah. Have a nice day. Bye.

Chris Badgett: And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at lifterlms.com/gift. Go to lifterlms.com/gift. Keep learning, keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

Exclusive Download: 2021 WordPress LMS Buyer’s Guide – Stop wasting time and money researching online course and membership site tech.

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