Digital payments can bring reassurance post-COVID-19
Motivated by their first-hand experiences of - what they perceived as - exorbitant transaction charges while on abroad, James Lynn and Craig Goulding, both experienced investment bankers, founded Currensea as a ‘smarter way to pay overseas’.
Creating a debit card capable of linking directly to the user’s domestic bank account and dispensing with the complexities of top-ups, alternate accounts, etc, the company aims to give its customers an effortless, competitive and sustainable alternative to standard holiday transactions.
“We wanted the convenience of our regular high-street bank account, but without the charges,” explains Lynn. Having spent a year with the and navigating the regulatory aspects, the company finally launched in late 2019.
The shift to ‘protected payments’
Soon after, the COVID-19 pandemic began to disrupt regular travelling patterns. However, despite this, Currensea still managed to gain thousands of customers and garner good reviews. The explanation, Lynn believes, lies in digital payments’ ability to bring financial reassurance to people at a difficult time.
“One of the most important things to pay attention to right now is charges: at a time when individuals and businesses are feeling the squeeze, paying 3 to 5% in charges is just not acceptable.
“People are far more wary of using cash - from an economic point of view, for SMEs (small-medium enterprises), digital payments are cheaper, and consumer costs are similarly reduced,” he explains.
Furthermore, Currensea is also a champion of transparency: dispensing with opaque charge structures, it opts for all transactions to be either free or at a capped fee of 0.5%.
“You can have very reassuring protection if you use the right payment card. By comparison, if you were to transfer money directly, you would have no protection whatsoever.”
A surge of interest
In Lynn’s view, the utility of digital payments is two-fold: 1) a cheaper, easier and more convenient method for individuals and businesses to manage their finances; and 2) an effective way to navigate the volatile post-COVID-19 market.
“The thing about COVID is, where there are more pressures, there will be more businesses going bust. Especially since holidays are generally booked in advance and therefore have greater potential for cancellation,” he concludes.
“My guess is that we’ll see a surge of interest in card payments, as well as ‘last-minute bookings’ too, with a subsequent revision of hospitality sector policies to reflect that.”
Image sourced from Currensea website
Tink partners with Novalnet AG for open banking payments
The Munich-based fintech Novalnet AG, which was founded in 2007 and is one of Europe’s leadingfintech companies, has announced a new partnership with Tink, the Swedish open banking platform currently connected to more than 3,400 European banks.
Novalnet AG delivers payment solutions and fully automated services, from checkout to debt collection. Its solutions are also available worldwide.
According to reports, the fintech company plans to launch a real-time payments feature for merchants across Europe, to expand its current services and enhance the transaction experience it operates through its platform.
The new feature, says Novalnet, will revolutionise payments for ecommerce with transactions being credited to merchant’s accounts almost instantly.
Novalnet partnership with Tink
By partnering with Tink for payment initiation services (PIS) technology, Novalnet will take previous region-specific payment methods and offer a new unified digital payments service to its merchants across Europe.
The fintech’s real-time merchant payments feature, which will be launched initially in Germany and the United Kingdom, will then be integrated across other European markets during 2021.
Speaking about the new collaboration, Emmanuel Kirse, COO of Novalnet, explained, "We expect great things from our strategic partnership with Tink, which is a significant development for both parties.
“With Tink, Novalnet can offer a new set of open banking-related solutions in Europe. The new opportunities offered by this partnership will help both Tink and Novalnet grow together, along with our merchants."
Cyrosch Kalateh, Regional Director for the DACH region at Tink said, “Our partnership with Novalnet is a big step for Tink in the German market, and we are excited to work together to bring new, innovative payments services to merchants across Europe.”
He added, “At the end of 2020 Tink committed to expanding its payment initiation services from five to 10 markets, fuelled by an €85mn investment round. We are proud to add Germany to this list by announcing we have now fully launched Tink’s PIS services in this market.”
Image credit: Novalnet AG