Paysafe is a payments platform serving specialised industry verticals, such as i-gaming, crypto, travel and e-commerce. With increased consumer demand for alternative payment methods further fuelled by shifting payment habits post-covid, Paysafe is helping businesses to offer multiple payment options at the checkout via a single integration and payments API.
Here we chat with Roy Aston, Paysafe’s COO, who joined the company in 2019. Speaking to The Fintech Times, Aston shares his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities facing the fintech industry today and explains how the company’s recent transition to the cloud has benefitted the company and its customers.
What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovations nationally?
Innovation in the payments industry has historically been about automating manual processes and trying to drive digital innovation into existing established payment methods.
Traditional financial services organisations like banks have so much legacy technology that a lot of their innovation efforts have had to go into modernising their core services to keep up with emerging digital trends. In many areas, we’ve seen companies working hard to innovate in the customer experience layer, whilst the back-end systems are old and very complex.
How has this changed over the past few years?
Over recent years we’ve seen the rise of fintechs: companies which have been able to start with a clean slate and design their services with the customer in mind, creating digital-first solutions which deliver an experience that consumers now both demand and expect. This has undoubtedly started to put pressure on the traditional incumbents to respond and do something similar. This has fueled the trend of M&A in the fintech industry and the resulting launches of new solutions which are impacting the market.
We’ve also seen an increase in access to different payment methods. Merchants have realised there are more ways that consumers can and want to pay now, especially since early 2020 and the outbreak of covid. Financial services companies have had to react and adapt to ensure that they are able to offer as many possible payment methods as possible to help merchants service their business.
Also, talent in payments and fintech is at an all-time demand high and we’re seeing the ability to attract talent globally now has a different dynamic, with individuals proving that they can work in a more remote environment. It’s about accessing talent but also now about retaining them to work on transformational initiatives which becomes more important.
Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside Paysafe?
We are a digital business at heart and therefore we have to be very focused on putting the customer first. Our focus has been on rolling out competitive digital solutions at speed and accelerating the delivery of these services to our merchants and customers so we can keep up with the global trend of rapid innovation. As a business, we continually look at where we have opportunities to partner and acquire. Our three most recent acquisitions, of viafintech, SafetyPay and PagoEfectivo, have prompted us to focus on how we can adapt and expand, for example, our recent growth into the LATAM market.
What fintech ideas have been implemented at Paysafe?
We’re continually looking at new initiatives to support the growth of our business and those of our partners. One of our most significant recent innovations is the launch and rollout of our single payments API, which saw us modernise our technology architecture to bring together the global payment methods we offer including card payments, instant bank transfers, digital wallets and online cash solutions, and third-party solutions, through a single integration which allow merchants to consume and offer multiple payment methods.
The other has to be the recent transformation of our payments platform to be cloud-native, which was completed at the beginning of Q4 2021. This has allowed us to deliver change faster, increase resilience and focus less on core infrastructure and more on delivering value for our business.
What benefits have these brought?
Our new innovations have benefited consumers by offering them more ways to pay at the checkout and increased choice. They’ve also helped merchants by boosting conversion rates as they can now support multiple payment types in multiple regions and offer alternative payment methods where traditional methods such as cards may have had lower acceptance rates.
For Paysafe, they are helping us to grow and scale more efficiently. For our digital wallet operations alone, our migration to the cloud reduced the deployment time of our new platform by approximately 80 per cent.
Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?
Crypto, web 3.0 and the metaverse present significant opportunities. Without a doubt, this is going to be the future of payments as more consumers and merchants adopt digital currencies as a de facto form of payments.
Those companies which can help drive acceptance of crypto adoption and improvements in user experience will almost certainly be leaders in the next revolution of payments, and those that can bridge the existing and new worlds of payments and offer more traditional fintech services alongside solutions for the web 3.0 world will undoubtedly win.
Can these challenges be aided by fintech?
Typically, fintech has been all about modern tech and the ability to scale and adapt. By its very DNA, fintech is all about consumer-focused user experiences and digital platforms. Staying true to this core ethos and using this approach will be key to the successful simplification of crypto payments for mass adoption.
This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting times to be in payments. There’s simply no slowdown in growth. We have seen over the last two years that there’s a lot of work for companies to digitise their businesses and make online payments more accessible.
We’re also at the cusp of the new crypto payment revolution, which will bring another set of payment methods for both consumers and merchants. Those fintech companies which can adapt and transform the fastest are most likely to win.