Paymency, API-driven Platform for Banking, Delivers “Banking-As-A-Platform” Service to US

paymencylogo_transparentWhile numerous European startups have succeeded in transforming banks into app stores, only the California-based Paymency has managed to do the same in the U.S. According to the American Banker, the API-driven platform for finance and banking delivers “banking-as-a-platform” service to U.S. banks.

Paymency founder Gary Lewis Evans predicts that application program interfaces will power banking. With the use of APIs –known to ease the outsourced software app creation process when building for customers — users will benefit revolutionary impact that’s akin to the emergence of credit cards or internet banking.

“We are going to be an API-driven platform for finance and banking the way Amazon is a platform for retail,” said the fintech veteran, Lewis. “Banks will have the ability to interface easily with products and services and use it as a way to create a virtual bank and get out of the legacy branch structure.”

Banks will have access to Paymency’s edition of an an app store, where they’ll offer budgeting, mobile payments, personal financial budgeting, as well as services a tad more sophisticated (P-to-P lending, insurance, and investing). Numerous fintech companies and their partners will be able to offer up products in the store. What’s more, Paymency may seek out a bank charter, making it possible for nonbank entities (ex. Walmart) or digital bank startups to connect and offer their customer base full-scale banking services. Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform is used as the base technology for Paymency.

According to Lewis, the company soon plans to unveil its text-based mobile payments product and network Groovy Pay, which resembles Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile payments system.

“I describe it as something very similar to when Amazon first launched as a bookseller, and then they expanded their platform at a later date,” said Lewis, who co-founded Bofl Federal Bank, once known as Bank of Internet USA. “So we’re going to launch with mobile payments and build our base that way before expanding.”

With more than four decades of experience under his belt, Lewis has a long history of digital innovation. He spearheaded California’s early venture into internet banking in 1995 when he was serving as president of La Jolla Bank, which was one of the first in the nation to do so. Lewis left La Jolla Bank in 1996 to launch Bank of Internet USA, starting out in a computer center at the University of California-Santa Barbara. He stayed on as president until 2010, leaving to pursue his next project, Paymency.

A “soft launch” of Paymency with GroovyPay is expected within the next six months. Lewis believes it may take up to three years for Paymency’s app-store-like platform to be fully formed and formally launched. The API-based model provides more flexibility, with regards to services and products, making it far more attractive to banks. To do this the right way, Paymency will have to appeal to banks’ core vendors, and banks’ will require core systems that could facilitate API-based banking. Core vendors tend to wank banks to buy all or most of their ancillary products from them, rather than another party. However, many believe core vendors are becoming more flexible and more willing to under consumers’ attraction to API-powered banking.

Banks are also more drawn to the idea of partnering with outside firms, so they’re able to offer more services and products. These fintech partnerships are changing with the market, becoming more fluid and more dynamic, offering solutions and becoming provocative for the sake of expectant consumers. The API banking-as-a-platform services are natural progress, as that’s the way technology is moving. Technology is moving so rapidly, that this is API banking-as-a-platform services are fixed part of banking reality, according to Lewis.

So, how does one influence FinTech buyers?

fintechConsumer behavior has tooled and enabled the FinTech market, and vice versa. Because of this, the market has changed to become far more competitive, challenging nontraditional and traditional entrants. Investment in technology by financial institutions has led to reduced costs, enhanced security, the introduction of new products, improved customer services, and compliance with new and complex regulations. Globally, bank spending on information technology is expected to hit $150 billion in 2018, rising approximately 19.9 percent.

This fast-paced growth has led to numerous challenges for FinTech vendors, including enrollment in an oversaturated market, a lengthier and more complex sales process, and failure to gain marketing support. Also, for those wishing to interact with financial institutions and vendors during the sales process, it may be difficult to know what influences FinTech buyers.

So, how does one influence FinTech buyers?

Well, the easiest way to learn how to influence FinTech buyers is to understand who they are and how they function. Fifty-two percent of information technology decisions involved ten or more individuals, with the average being 36 people. Approximately 15 percent of decisions made involved 50 or more people. To get on a buyer’s radar, being able to provide trusted advice is critical, which is normally made possible through communication with industry consultants, peer relations, industry analysts, and internal business analyst. Also, content and SEO ranking has been identified for “long list influencers,” who look to vendor webinars, trade shows, vendor led events, direct marketing, trade media, business media, and web searches for valuable insight. They’re least likely to deem advertising or national media as credible sources as a key influence.

Also, those interested in FinTech buyers should have an understanding of how to meet buyer needs, which can be met through thought leadership, delivering unique insights, building credibility through third parties, delivering cutting edge technology and identifying why a particular vendor is different than any other. It’s not at all surprising that value because a significant fact for buyers, who prefer hard numbers and deliverable, and require evidence that vendor can do what they advertise they can do.

There is information not being made available to FinTech buyers, such as prominently being evidence-based data. Buyers want evidence that vendors have experience delivering deliverables and hard numbers to similar companies. They also would like access to industry feedback, customer references and case studies, and demonstrable track records. Ultimately, they want guarantees in regards to visibility, differentiation, and evidence –which can be provided via a number of channels and approaches, whether through analysts, trade media, or influencers. Internal business analysts, reputation, unique insight, credibility, and hard evidence are more important than social media, national media, and advertising.