Guillaume Pousaz, founder, Checkout.com
This payments processing company has already lured the likes of Samsung, Transferwise, Adidas and Virgin away from the incumbents by offering a one-stop shop for processing 150 currencies and transaction speeds of 200 milliseconds. Founder Pousaz explains how firms like Checkout are revolutionising modern finance.
What is Checkout.com?
We process all kinds of payments, from Visa and MasterCard to complex cross-border payments. We allow our customers to accept payments all over the world using a single system.
Why is Checkout an improvement on legacy tech?
Most of the players in this industry have been built though M&A. Look at a company like WorldPay, a rival of ours. It is built on lots of companies, some of which were launched 50 years ago.
Imagine you have Chinese, Italian, and French chefs in the kitchen, and the customer has to eat a mixture of all their food. It fills you up but does it taste good? Our first ever developer is still with us so our technology is cohesive.
What advantages does a cohesive technology stack bring to the customer?
One advantage is that we process the fastest transactions in this business — 200 milliseconds compared to MasterCard’s 400 milliseconds. For companies like TransferWise, which has millennial customers, speed is very important.
Do you add value beyond processing payments?
We’ve moved further down the payments value chain now. Between the merchant and Visa or MasterCard there is basically nobody else but us. We are the payments gateway, the licensed financial institution and the authorisation platform.
“Regulatory changes create opportunity for agile companies like ours. We have three lawyers in-house so that we can help our customers to be compliant while remaining profitable.”
We build the features that our clients ask for, and in return, we ask that whatever we build is not on an exclusive basis. For example, TransferWise asked us to pull in forex rates in real time for their Eastern European business. It was a specific product for them, but we’ve now built it into the wider system. We’re also building a marketplace product now, so that customers like Deliveroo can organise payments through us.
Is your business affected by regulation?
Regulatory changes create opportunity for agile companies like ours. We have three lawyers in-house so that we can help our customers to be compliant while remaining profitable.
Why isn’t Checkout a household name?
We are happy to be the silent partner behind our merchants. We’re not like PayPal, which is consumer facing. We’re truly B2B. Merchants have a love/hate relationship with PayPal because it owns the relationship with the customer rather than the merchant.
What’s the endgame for you?
We plan to become the bank of the future, empowering digital commerce. We will to get a banking licence, possibly in the UK depending on the outcome of Brexit. We currently have eight offices around the world so we could expand to other geographies, or we could focus on creating new products and expanding our existing customer base. Ultimately, we’re not VC backed, so we can go at our own pace. We make money on every single transaction right now, so we’re in a great position to grow.