The global payments market has undergone a huge transformation in recent years with payment options continuing to evolve to meet consumer and regional demand.
Demand for account-to-account payments gathered pace through 2022. Unlike cards, which require a substantial infrastructure to support them, A2A payments only need internet access and a bank account.
One of the front runners in A2A payments is Brite Payments, a second-generation fintech based in Stockholm. The instant payments provider leverages open banking technology to process A2A payments in real-time between consumers and online merchants.
Founded in 2019, Brite Payments now operates across 21 markets in Europe and is connected to more than 3,800 banks within the EU.
To find out more about the evolution of Brite Payments – as well its 2023 plans following a year of hypergrowth – we caught up with CEO and co-founder Lena Hackelöer.
Tell us more about your company and its offering?
My name is Lena Hackelöer and I’m the founder and CEO of Brite Payments, a Stockholm-based fintech company that offers account-to-account (A2A) payment processing and merchant services across Europe. I founded Brite Payments in 2019, after a decade working in the financial technology industry for companies like Klarna and Qliro.
That put me in the perfect position to launch Brite, an instant payments provider that leverages the open banking framework to process A2A payments between consumers and online merchants in real time. With Brite, consumers can authenticate themselves with top-of-mind details using their bank’s usual identification method, eliminating the need for account signups or credit card details.
The convenience has proven to be a huge hit with merchants and end users, generating a range of benefits. Since our launch, we’ve expanded to offer our solutions in 21 markets in Europe and are connected to more than 3,800 banks within the European Union (EU). We also work with some of the sector’s biggest brands, including SOFORT. Now, we’re embarking on a phase of continued expansion and expect both those numbers to grow even further in the very near future.
What problem was your company set up to solve?
The payments sector has evolved considerably in recent times, but it’s still plagued by inefficiencies – including how merchants implement new payment options for their customers. I wanted to address that with Brite. Our team has been able to achieve this with our instant bank payments solution, which importantly covers payments to merchants, as well as payouts to consumers.
We’ve leveraged the power of open banking-based A2A payment methods, crafting intuitive and straightforward solutions that simplify the payments process. With Brite, users can make payments without needing to complete cumbersome sign-up forms, or creating additional passwords. All a consumer needs is the top-of-mind information required to log into their banking app.
Brite is also spearheading the rise of open banking-powered recurring payments products across Europe. Again, this has been in direct response to growing customer demand for innovative, automated payment methods that tackle some of the issues associated with traditional recurring payments methods, such as card-based subscriptions. By mitigating some of the main causes of payment failures, we’re helping merchants to reduce customer churn, and ensuring consumers never unintentionally lose access to the services they love.
Since launch, how has your company evolved?
When we first launched our product in 2020, we covered only a handful of markets. Since then, we have grown to become a pan-European player, providing payments and payouts across 21 markets, with additional markets set to launch this spring. A growing number of merchants are appreciating the benefits of our solutions, which in turn, means that we are quickly growing the number of consumers paying with Brite.
In 2021, we more than doubled transaction volumes on our platform, which teed us up for a breakout year in 2022. This is validation that we are indeed solving a major pain point for merchants and consumers alike. In 2023, we’ll continue to focus on delivering greater user experiences, and reducing customer churn for merchants.
“It’s our ambition to be at the forefront of the instant bank payments movement”
What has been the biggest challenge or most ‘tricky moment’ to overcome?
One of the biggest challenges we face as a business is around changing regulations within the payments sector, and the lack of alignment across different regulators in Europe. Staying on top of regulatory changes across Europe is difficult, and often time and cost intensive. That’s why we’ve worked to factor this into our operations from day one, ensuring that we always have the time and resources required to uphold them.
Cultivating great relationships with the banks in our extensive network has also been a huge help in this endeavour. Now, if there are any changes made to regulations, or relevant standards we’re able to work hand-in-glove with leading financial institutions to ensure they’re properly implemented and stringently upheld. All of this puts us in the optimum position to respond more effectively to an ever-evolving regulatory landscape.
What are your biggest achievements or ‘proudest moment’ so far?
I’m pleased to say there are plenty to choose from, with many of them happening during the course of 2022. From doubling transaction volumes to several significant growth milestones, it’s been a year to remember. In fact, as we enter 2023, I’m delighted to say that we now rank as one of Sweden’s fastest growing fintech businesses, which in of itself makes me really proud.
A highlight has been the launch of our innovative ‘Single Sign’ solution, which came to market in 2022. It allows customers to pay straight from their bank account with only one authentication step, where possible. Essentially, the service represents the open banking equivalent of one-click payments. As such, it represents a new era in instant bank payments, the solution has been shown to help its users make payments up to 40% faster than standard A2A payment flows.
I’m also really proud of the commercial partnerships we have formed, including our collaboration with the popular online banking payment method, SOFORT, to launch a pan-European instant payout solution. This unique partnership will deliver greater speed and convenience to over 80 million users of SOFORT in Europe’s largest markets, empowering them to make truly instant payouts.
How would you describe the culture of your company?
We might be a young company, but we’ve been able to bring in a lot of people with deep experience in fintech and very well-rounded profiles, and I think that’s reflected in the working culture at Brite. We strive for excellence as a team, which has helped us achieve some fantastic results in a relatively short period of time. Building a culture like this undoubtedly attracts others of a similar ilk, which is why I think we’ve been able to attract some high-profile fintech experts into our ranks since launch.
Whether it’s the appointment of Lisa Edström, formerly chief compliance officer at Zettle by PayPal, as our new compliance director, or our welcoming of Jan Plasberg, the former CTO of SOFORT and VP engineering at Klarna to our board, I think it’s clear that Brite Payments is a business that people want to be part of. That’s a huge source of pride for me, and reassures me that we’ll maintain our momentum as we continue to scale.
What’s in store for the future?
This industry is constantly evolving, and new developments are always emerging. Our aim is to continue to establish local operations across Europe and to further expand the capabilities of our products for individual merchants and consumers, bringing sorely needed connection and convenience to even more geographies and currencies.
It’s our ambition to be at the forefront of the instant bank payments movement, leading in the development of digital payments and money transfer solutions that positively impact the way that people manage their money and make payments. At the heart of that drive is our commitment to making these areas of everyday life more convenient, while remaining secure and safe.