Australia’s fintech sector is growing rapidly and becoming a driving force for innovation in the region. At last count, there are over 700 fintech companies in the country according to Fintech Australia, Australia’s national fintech association.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, there has been a huge uptake in paytech services globally, as card, contactless and other digital methods became the preferred way to pay. This is no different in Australia, where the payment sector is booming and is one of the top countries in the world for contactless payment penetration.
Grant Bissett, Co-Founder and CEO of Pin Payments said: “Since the onset of COVID-19 we’ve seen a huge shift in the business landscape towards a greater understanding and use of PayTech in Australia. Businesses who’d previously relied on traditional payment methods were forced online and had to adapt to new payments and fintech services.
“Overall, this shift has been positive, as it’s created easier processes, tracking and security for businesses and their customers alike. With 70 per cent of Australians now shopping online, and over 1 million households shopping online each month, SMBs have more incentive than ever to improve their digital tools and online payment services.
Tim Dickinson, co-CEO at Assembly Payments, also thinks it’s a big year for fintech in Australia, agreeing with Bissett on the effect Covid has had.
“For the blossoming fintech sector, it’s not all sunshine and happiness. A key challenge for the sector in the past 18 months has been the issue of “debanking”. Debanking occurs when a fintech or related business relies on a banking partner for access to the financial system, but the bank restricts access to or completely disables access to banking services along with access to the broader Australian financial system. For the fintech industry, this is an existential threat.
“While the causes of debanking can be many and varied, both fintechs and banks would agree that Australia’s confusing, conflicting and contradictory regulatory environment is not helping.
“Regulation in this space needs to be cleaned up and access to growth-creating public infrastructure and services needs to be opened up. The current environment is not conducive to growth. The government needs to provide a more sensible framework for our financial services economy if we are to continue to export our ideas to the world, rather than continue to import products and services from overseas.
“Aside from debanking, the industry is also preparing for the merger of three key payment entities: eftpos, BPAY and NPP. Each entity controls an aspect of the payment ecosystem, but are all attempting to expand into others. The merger could address some of the open-access challenges in the space, along with the recent improvements in the Consumer Data Right (CDR) work in relation to open banking and increasing both portability and accessibility of key financial data.
“For Assembly — one of the older startups in Australia’s payment space — we’re keeping an eye on the Australian market, but looking abroad for future growth opportunities in the financial services space. We recently announced a merger with cross border payments platform CurrencyFair, who, like Assembly, traces their roots back to Australia. Two Aussie born fintechs joining forces to take on the world. Surely as a country we want more of that?”
Payments are booming
With the industry making waves, particularly as it’s on the doorstep to Asia, making Australia a great location for companies wanting to establish their Asian regional headquarters, here are a few examples of Australian paytech companies:
Beforepay gives you instant access to money you’ve earned at work in order to help break the payments distress cycle. The app also automatically creates a budget for users, predicting when bills and other expenses are due.
Pin Payments is Australia’s first unified approach to payments for small to medium-sized businesses. It supports over 12,000 businesses in Australia and New Zealand to accept payments from debit and credit cards bearing the Visa, MasterCard and American Express brands without a merchant account.
Assembly is one of Australia’s fastest-growing fintechs with a presence in Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore, the Philippines and the United States. They help customers build automated payment workflows that push the boundaries of what’s possible and reduce the complexity of running both classic and digital-native businesses.
Spenda is a fully integrated digital payment and business software solution that is designed to change the way people do business. Their solution equips businesses with smart digital tools that help streamline business processes, and improve efficiency and payment practices – helping businesses to trade faster and get paid quicker.
Launched in 2015, Brighte is a digital payments platform for home energy improvements. Their 0% interest payment plans can be used for energy-efficient upgrades, reducing the upfront costs of larger items such as solar panels and other home improvements.