#GreyChat: A Conversation with Jerry

Winner Ajibola


#GreyChat is a laid-back series where Grey users share their experiences with Grey. We discuss their relationship with money, tips for financial freedom, and other fun anecdotes. Want to get featured? Let us know here.

Jerry is a senior software engineer with more than nine years of experience. He works for multiple international companies as a full-time employee and a freelancer on the side. In this chat, Jerry tells us about himself, his work, and his struggles in accessing credit facilities because he could only receive his payments in someone else’s name.

Please tell us a little more about yourself Jerry.

Hi, I am Jerry. I am a senior software engineer and an IT consultant. I have a full-time role, and I freelance on the side. I work for multiple companies in Canada, the UK, and Finland.

The Canadian company pays me weekly, and the others pay monthly. I’ve been using Grey since February 2022, and it’s how I receive all my payments.

The real God when. How long have you been a software engineer?

I’ve been in the field for about nine years now, and I started really early so it doesn’t reflect my age. I started in 2013, and I became a senior in 2018 when I was working in the US. Since then, I’ve decided to just remain a senior software engineer. 

I’ve worked in multiple continents, but the truth is, it’s not the years of experience that’s brought me this far. It’s the work ethic plus software engineering is the only thing I know.

So if you just started using Grey in 2022, how have you previously received your salaries?

To be honest, I’m not a banking person. When I was working and living in Malaysia, I received my salary through my brother’s company. In Singapore, it was the same thing. When I worked in the US, I wasn’t living there, so I received my pay through my friend who stays there. 

After that, I set up Paypal and started using it to receive my pay from the US, but then they started the whole regulation wahala. So I got tired of dealing with that, so I switched to Wise. After a while, I just moved to Grey.

With Grey, it's easier to convert currencies. I don’t have to jump through hoops and all that because I was losing a lot of money in exchange rates. So it's always just been complicated until now.

As a Nigerian dealing with foreign companies, have you faced any difficulties with fintech companies when it comes to receiving money? Especially with the stereotypes

Definitely. As I said, I don’t deal with the whole banking thing abroad. In Malaysia, because of the reputation Nigerians had there, it made things complicated for me. I always had to submit extra documents to clear my payments. 

Paypal was fine at first, then I had to start submitting documents. Over time, it just kept leading to more issues until they froze it for no reason. So anything that has to do with money, as long as you’re carrying a Nigerian passport, you’ll be treated differently. 

It really affected me because, since I wouldn’t be receiving payments in my name, I couldn’t receive contracts in my name. So it just destabilized me. It was hard to access credit facilities. People think you’re not making money. Meanwhile, you are making money, and you’re paying taxes, but just not in your name. 

That’s so sad…but thankfully, it’s all in the past. You’ve been using Grey since we rebranded, what would you say is your favorite thing about being a Grey user? 

I’d say it’s the fact that I don’t have to jump through hoops to get my money. To be honest, it was a huge gamble choosing Grey. 

I got a contract this year, and I wanted to initially use my brother’s company. But the exchange rate was going to be crazy low. Then I remember seeing Grey on Twitter and telling my brother I was going to use it. 

And he was like, are you crazy? Do you know their office? But I was like, nah they are on Ycombinator, so they can’t be frauds. 

It made us have a fight actually. Because he was like, if you lose all your money, don’t tell me anything. But I’ve introduced three other people to Grey since then because it’s been seamless. So that’s the best part. 

Nice… Since you work in tech if you were on the Grey Team, what feature would you implement? 

Well, there’s one - the currency converter. It was there before, but then I could convert from Naira to foreign currencies. But now, I can only convert from foreign currencies to Naira. So I  think it was a lot easier before.

I’d also like to see my total credit and total debit in my account statement. 

We’ll definitely be working on these. To avoid bringing back any more bad memories, what’s your worst experience with a Nigerian fintech?

I think it was my money hanging for three months, and this brand didn’t have an office, which is why my brother was adamant about not using Grey. I was able to access my money after three months, but since then, I became skeptical about fintech in Nigeria.

Then there’s a company I invest in, I made a withdrawal and didn’t get it on time. I kept calling and calling, but nobody was answering. When dealing with people's money, be sensitive.

So both times, it was customer service related.

Thank you for the detailed feedback. We’re making sure we only offer good experiences from here on. 

Finally, do you have a financial tip that has gotten you this far that you’d like to share?

So in the last job that I did, I quoted an amount, and my friend asked me to quote five times the hourly rate. I was like nah that’s too much, so I quoted half of what he suggested. My hope was that they would negotiate or something, but they just accepted.  So it made me think I should have gone higher. 

Be reasonable, but don’t shortchange yourself. In fact, people wouldn’t want to work with you. They wouldn’t tell you, but you’ll seem too cheap to be true. 

So do your research very well, depending on the country and client, and then ask. If you don’t know what to ask, tell them to make you an offer. That’s a better alternative.

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