Behind the Idea Editor's Choice Europe Fintech

Behind the Idea: OpenPayd

OpenPayd is a digital Banking-as-a-Service platform, simplifying access to payments and banking for businesses by offering services through a single API. With Brexit and its regulatory fall out imminent, OpenPayd will be able to help mitigate the impact, supported by a network of licenses across the UK, Europe, North America and beyond—enabling businesses to continue doing business across borders.

Beyond this, OpenPayd also now offers Open Banking services to its customers, allowing financial institutions, virtual currency exchanges and traders, remittance companies, lenders, and online marketplaces the ability to offer customer account aggregation services, initiate payments from their own platforms and offer their client smoother payment experiences.

Iana Dimitrova, CEO OpenPayd

Lawyer Iana Dimitrova, Chief Executive of OpenPayd, had her first stint in fintech at the multinational payments firm Paysafe, as Head of Legal Affairs, Digital Wallets as well as MD for a 1000-people strong operations centre in Bulgaria. She now leads a diverse team of over 100 staff at OpenPayd, setting the strategic direction and vision for the company.

What has been OpenPayd’s response to financial technology innovations in the UK?

Innovation is the lifeblood of the fintech industry. From consumer-facing experiences to back-office operations, innovative ideas and a drive to transform legacy financial services has established the fintech industry as a force to be reckoned with. However, we’re reaching an inflection point where innovation alone is no longer enough for fintech to be sustainable.

At OpenPayd, we believe that true innovation comes from solving the problems that businesses experience every day. Take cross-border payments, for example, innovation around APIs and automation are enabling businesses to simplify what was once a time-consuming complex process, and scale with ease. To ensure fintechs continue to flourish, innovation must have direction and a purpose.

How has this changed over the past few years?

We’ve increasingly focused on nurturing innovation in two key areas of our business: our technology and our people. We are focused on building a platform that really answers the needs of our customers. We co-design our added-value APIs and functionalities for each of industry we serve by fostering a culture of exchange and feedback with our customers.

The other key area is our people. Our team of experts is at the cutting edge of fintech, with an eye for purpose-driven innovation, so we are able to ensure our technology and overall strategy helps businesses unlock banking and payments as drivers of growth.

Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?

With the regulatory changes over the past year, we’ve strengthened our focus on advocating compliance and governance as enablers of sustainable growth. To ensure that we build on our culture of trust, in a time when the industry—and the world—is rife with uncertainty, we are focusing on transparency and doing things the right way.

What Fintech ideas have been implemented?  

We’ve recently unveiled our banking and payments solution for digital currency businesses which enables exchanges access to fiat on- and off-ramp services. Exchanges have recently experienced their highest trading volumes, and this solution gives these cryptocurrency businesses access to a range of banking and payments networks.

What benefits have these brought?

Crypto businesses can now extend their value chain and provide collection, conversion and settlement services to customers, whilst also enabling the seamless exchange to and from fiat and cryptocurrencies. It allows for fiat payments to be accepted via bank transfers through SEPA, SWIFT, FasterPayments, CHAPS and ACH. Additionally, by recently adding Open Banking capabilities to our platform with our partnership with Token, users will have the ability to top up and make withdrawals from their fiat wallets without ever leaving the site or app they are on.

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

It’s fair to say that recent events risks the erosion of trust in the fintech and payments industry. This is something that we as a collective must address and we all have a role to play. It’s not enough to just comply with regulations. As an industry we must garner trust through advocating a focus on sustainability and furthering an industry-wide culture of compliance.

Can these challenges be aided by Fintech?

Definitely. With Brexit waiting around the corner, businesses are going to be looking for support to cope with the fallout. This means we have an opportunity to re-establish trust in fintech. As we help customers prepare for the future and support them as they scale across Europe, this will be a pivotal point for fintechs to rebuild market confidence.

Final thoughts

2020 has businesses looking to expand their horizons—those who have seen increasing opportunities for growth are looking to capitalise on it, while those who have seen their market shrink will be looking to new markets to make up for lost ground. Now is the time to seize the growth opportunities digital payments offer.

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  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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