Behind the Idea Editor's Choice Europe Fintech

Behind the Idea: Pelican

Pelican, a global provider of AI-powered payments and financial crime compliance solutions for banks and corporates, recently announced that its Pelican API Interoperability Hub now offers multiple popular standard APIs to over 2,000 banks across Europe.

The Pelican API Interoperability Hub enables Third-Party Providers (TPPs) to access PSD2 Payment Initiation Services (PIS) and Account Information Services (AIS). It connects financial institutions using any of the popular Open Banking APIs, like the UK’s OBWG or the Berlin Group API, regardless of whether they are native TPPs or banks wishing to operate as TPPs in an Open Banking environment.

As a regulated TPP, Pelican’s subsidiary company, PelicanPay, is already using the Pelican API Interoperability Hub to provide AIS and PIS solutions to SMEs, corporates and fintechs. PelicanPay offers a number of innovative digital apps, including invoice and salary payments and also collections. It fully supports PSD2, RTS and SCA standards.

Parth Desai founder and CEO of Pelican
Parth Desai, founder and CEO of Pelican

Parth Desai is the founder and CEO of Pelican, a business he founded over 20 years ago – pioneering the practical application of AI technology to enhance, streamline and secure the payments lifecycle and to ensure financial crime compliance.

What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovation?

From the outset, Pelican has been focused on building deep expertise in AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) staying abreast of the latest technology developments. This has driven our ability to continuously innovate over the past two decades.  I work closely with our global team to nurture our AI expertise and to deliver consistent innovation and client value. This is key in underpinning the long-term relationships we have with clients.

How has this changed over the past few years?

Over recent years, particularly following the advent of Open Banking and real-time payments, the pace of innovation has increased. We are also seeing greater appetite among our banking customers to respond more quickly to the changing landscape, to open up their systems and collaborate more using open APIs. There is now a race to leverage the open and level playing field to reach over 500 million customers with innovative apps that provide easy and intuitive digital banking solutions.

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

We encourage our team to push the boundaries and continually consider how they can help our clients achieve greater efficiencies using the latest AI, machine learning and NLP technologies to streamline payments and financial crime compliance. Change is constant and it’s part of our company ethos to keep evolving our offerings to changing market and customer needs, so we can deliver a competitive advantage to clients.

What FinTech ideas have been implemented?

A crucial test of our Pelican API Interoperability Hub has been for our subsidiary company PelicanPay to use the solution in providing AIS and PIS solutions to SMEs, corporates and fintechs. Most of our PelicanPay digital apps are already in live use with clients in the Netherlands. For example, we have a suite of apps that allow firms to manage invoices and salary payments and also collections. We also offer merchant pay, cash reporting and forecasting apps. All these apps use the Pelican API Interoperability Hub to enable users to connect to their bank accounts across Europe, in full compliance with PSD2.

What benefits have these brought?

Our API Interoperability Hub gives banks and TPPs the potential to reach up to 500 million customers across Europe and the UK using a single API like OBWG or Berlin Group. We are delivering a truly pan-European service, removing all the technical complexity of connecting to customers’ accounts through multiple APIs and their differing standards. PelicanPay’s digital apps are a great example of how our API Interoperability Hub can be used to offer unique, real-time solutions that build on the vision of PSD2. Other TPPs and banks can do the same.

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

Another challenge on the horizon connected to Open Banking is the threat posed by increased payment fraud and the ability to spot and act on this immediately given the transition to real-time payments.

A further challenge is how to service numerous customers in a cost-effective manner. A bank or fintech with access to 500 million potential customers needs to have the appropriate customer support infrastructure.

Can these challenges be aided by FinTech?

Yes, this is also an area Pelican is addressing through the application of AI technology. AI has a key role to play in enabling real-time forensics: spotting anomalies in spending patterns across huge volumes of data and flagging suspect transactions in real-time while keeping ‘false positives’ low.

The use of natural language interfaces to easily communicate with prospects and customers to provide the right information, and enable them to self-serve their information needs can also be provided by fintechs like Pelican.

Any final thoughts…

We are excited by the way Open Banking is Europe is slowly but steadily progressing forward. Multiple applications will be published by banks and fintechs alike that will enrich and smoothen our personal and professional lives. We look forward to a new banking world by 2025!



  • 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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