[G2A PAY] Could you please shortly introduce Payoneer and its industry objectives to our readers?
[Joseph Laloum] Payoneer is a digital payment platform that fuels global commerce. Our mission is to help businesses and individuals go beyond borders, limits and expectations by facilitating their cross border payments. In doing so, we enable any business of any size, from anywhere in the world, to access new economic opportunities. We make it possible to transact as easily globally as you do locally. Payoneer was established in New York in 2005 as a cross-border payments company. We were fintech before fintech was the hot new buzzword. We lived first-hand a digital revolution and witnessed the rise of our digital economy which lowered barriers to entry for new businesses, made it easier to expand internationally, and created a more connected ecosystem. Our business was built to fuel global growth and to make it easier for digital entrepreneurs to succeed in the modern economy. Today, we offer so much more than payments, and have expanded our product line to offerings that range from tax solutions to working capital. We aim to be a global growth partner for businesses of all sizes, ranging from the individual merchant in Bangalore, to the world’s largest brands like G2A, Amazon, and Google. In the context of G2A – through our new partnership, publishers can now get paid in a significantly more efficient manner. We give publishers the flexibility to choose their method and currency of payment and to avoid traditionally costly fees.
[GP] What is your outlook on 2019 when it comes to fintech, what are the most interesting trends and what are you looking forward to the most?
[JL] We see a lot of consolidation going on within Fintech as companies try to reach breadth and scale quickly. I believe that those who succeed will be the companies that manage to integrate quickly, while remaining focused on customer needs. At Payoneer, our goal for 2019 is to keep customers top of mind. We have a strong reputation for taking care of our customers and our focus will be to continue to act in a way that brings them the most value. Furthermore, it has been very interesting to watch the disruption of the banking industry over the past several years. Fintechs long ago started offering financial services that were traditionally supported solely by banks. What we’re seeing now is that their foray into the world of banking services is far from over. As fintechs continue to evolve and plant their flag in the world of banking, their offering grows. And with it grows the cooperation between banks and fintech. As a stakeholder in this industry, I find it fascinating to observe the evolution of this relationship between the two parties – moving from pure competition to a partnership between two harmonious entities that are inextricably linked and dependent on the other for survival and growth in our digital economy. One last thing: as regulation continues to tighten globally, it will be interesting to note how this affects the business of both banks and Fintechs. We are already seeing massive changes being made following the implementation of PSD2 and the 4th AML Directive, and it will be interesting to continue following how future directives (and potentially Brexit!) alter the way we do business and comply with evolving regulations in the financial space.
[GP] Given the international coverage, what insights can you share with us regarding fraud across different countries?
[JL] There are two elements to this question. Firstly, the capabilities of those attempting to commit fraud are getting increasingly sophisticated as they adopt the latest technologies and search for innovative ways to circumvent the mostly commonly-used defenses. Secondly, due to the realtime nature of social media and 24/7 news media, we simply hear more about cases of fraud from all over the world and are therefore more aware of them. Just like the adoption of technology, fraud is a global phenomenon stretching all over the world. The global nature of it requires businesses to be highly attuned to specific nuances of the local markets, and employ best-of-breed global technologies and localized operational processes to combat it.
[GP] What products are you currently working on? Could you please name some of the most important players in the fintech market, as well as banks, that you work or have partnered with?
[JL] At Payoneer, we are constantly making investments in our product to better serve our customers, from expanding the number of global receiving accounts that we offer, to continuing to improve our working capital solutions, and introducing a new payroll offering that reduces the complexities of managing a global workforce. We are constantly adding new services to make sure we’re keeping up with the needs of modern businesses, and we have some exciting
new partnerships that will be announced over the coming year, with new system integrations and new banking partners added to our roster. As a company, we identified the need for strong banking networks early on and started to immediately build the infrastructure necessary to support our growing global economy. Today, we are linked with over 100 local clearing systems, banks, and providers, and are integrated with marketplaces and digital platforms throughout the world. These relationships are time and resource-intensive, and being able to form them early on allowed us to grow globally at an unmatched scale. We work with some of the world’s largest and most renowned banking
institutions – such as Citi, Barclays, Bank of America, Ping An, and more – and are constantly expanding our redundancy and reach.
[GP] How is the market for Payout solutions changing and what do you do as Payoneer to stay competitive?
[JL] Companies that initially offered P2P cross-border payments are try to expand their focus to B2B payments. While this shift may seem easy, they are struggling to develop robust KYC protocols and operational teams to onboard sellers and freelancers quickly. In addition, they are facing difficulties identifying fraudulent transactions. Given our long history supporting online marketplaces, we have mature KYC and fraud detection practices and tools that are region specific. By supporting marketplaces and their sellers and freelancers, we can create a payment map to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions much faster than our competitors. As we continue to invest in our core payment offerings, we are also working with clients to develop new products and offerings that reduce the time, friction and operational burden required to support payments. We are currently beta testing these new offerings and look
forward sharing more soon.
[GP] Have GDPR and PSD2 regulations been a concern for Payoneer and do you think these were necessary to replace the current directives?
[JL] Payoneer has always complied with applicable regulations, including the former data protection directive (Directive 95/46/EC) and the first European Payment Service Directive. As such, it was only natural for Payoneer to implement all necessary programs to comply with the new directives. Payoneer invested and continues to invest in efforts to ensure that it complies with the new regulations and that our operational processes and procedures are updated in accordance with the new market standards and legal requirements.
[GP] With mobile devices becoming more and more common, are you planning to introduce a Payoneer mobile platform, do you see any dangers associated with providing financial services via this channel?
[JL] We recently revamped our mobile platform (available on the App Store & Google Play), and are continuing to improve its functionality and capabilities. Adopting mobile was inevitable for us. All service providers today are expected to provide intuitive, user-friendly, advanced mobile services to their customers in order to address the needs of a modern business. Providing financial services through a mobile medium certainly adds an extra challenge when it comes to risk mitigation and fraud protection, but these are challenges that today’s providers must overcome. Digital businesses need the flexibility to manage their finances through a mobile platform. So long as security checks are put in place to protect the consumer and his data – as long as threat mitigation is prioritized by financial institutions – then the benefits of mobile usage (efficiency, speed, ease of use) outweigh the dangers.
[GP] How do you address data protection, and why do you think so many companies fail to keep their users’ information secure?
[JL] As a digital payments platform, we have always been very strict about how we treat customer data and have always maintained the highest standard of cyber security. We believe that, in order to keep data secure, you need to have two main elements in place: the first is strong cyber technology. The second is an organizational culture that is customer-centric and motivated to protect personal data and avoid its abuse. At Payoneer, we have both of these elements and are committed to protecting our users’ data across the board.
[GP] How much space for innovation do you think there is in the current payments industry?
[JL] There is a lot of room and need for innovation in the payments industry. Digitalization has impacted every aspect of commerce, and new business models have arisen as a result. However, legacy payment systems haven’t kept up with the pace of change. Today’s entrepreneurs are used to tapping into the world through digital channels, and this has changed the way they buy, borrow and invest. The payments industry has to evolve accordingly. Over the coming years, we believe that we will continue to see fintechs as a driving force for disruption in the payments industry, with companies like Payoneer at the forefront of the digital revolution.