Payments are changing – Modulr exclusive interview

Thursday 17 February 2022 09:03 CET | Editor: Vlad Macovei | Interview

Must businesses focus more on payment experiences as the industry continues to shapeshift? Marca Wosoba, Managing Director at Modulr Europe, answers this and more as she goes through Modulr’s mission in Europe

Please introduce us to Modulr. How does Modulr position itself (finops/techfin)? What problem do you solve and for who?

Modulr is the payments platform for digital businesses, but you could describe us as the payments-loving 'tech behind the tech’. Business payments today are clunky and cost businesses time, resources, and customers. We provide an API payments infrastructure that allows businesses to efficiently automate and embed payments which unlock operational efficiency and revenue drivers. To do this, we’ve invested in gaining the same access to payment schemes that banks have and the necessary regulatory permissions to operate in our chosen markets (UK & Europe). The difference is that our adaptive and agile technology is geared towards actual and future business needs – so we package this all up to deliver seamless payments experiences for our customers and our customers’ customers. We’re bringing European businesses the payment services they want, not what they’re given by existing legacy providers.

Modulr is now licenced as an Electronic Money Institution by De Nederlandsche Bank. What does the new licence enable you to deliver?

Our newly acquired Dutch licence enables us to build on the existing services we offer clients across the European Economic Area (EEA), bringing further localised payment capability, payment methods, and local IBANs in key countries. It will help us to further enable fast and reliable digital payment services for European businesses across industries including accountancy, travel, and financial services; giving them a real competitive advantage with smooth payment flows at either end of the rail and our proven real-time payments engine. The licence will also pave the way for additional localised payment capabilities across Europe starting in Spain and France. In order to deliver this, we’re looking forward to welcoming talented individuals as we grow our Dutch and broader European teams throughout 2022.

In your opinion, what’s the regulator’s role when it comes to market disruption?

Proactive regulation and legislative change play crucial roles in disrupting markets and encouraging innovation. You only have to look at the Payments Services Directive (PSD2) and the Open Banking Standard in the UK to see how they’ve effectively created a level playing field between different payment service providers. This has served to increase transparency, innovation and competition in the market. After all, if you encourage new entrants, you increase the competition. If you increase the competition, you increase the rate of innovation (as companies compete to get ahead). And, if you increase innovation, you increase both customer choice and the wholesale efficiency of an entire industry. As a platform for other businesses to build innovative propositions on top of, wholesale payments efficiency is ultimately what Modulr is driving towards.

Speaking of the Netherlands, what made Modulr choose Amsterdam for its expansion and what are your investment plans for the Dutch office?

The Netherlands was our first choice to establish a presence in continental Europe and gives us a solid foothold to begin eliminating payment inefficiencies for the EU’s many businesses. Amsterdam has a vibrant fintech scene and provides us with the specialist talent and the local business services that we need to help us on our mission to bring about wholesale payment efficiency. It also acts as the springboard for further EU-wide expansion in 2022 and 2023. To boost this growth, we’ll be expanding the European team across a number of functions; including product, compliance, and business development.

Why should businesses focus more (if they are not already) on payment experiences?

When it comes to customer experience, historically, payments have been playing catch up with a digital customer experience, be it consumer or business. As technology continues to push the boundaries of convenient, digital customer experiences, customer tolerance for clunky payments is wearing thin. 

We carried out some research recently and it confirmed just how vital the payments experience is for today’s customers. 71% of those surveyed said that it can ‘make or break’ their relationship with a brand, regardless of whether that brand uses a payments partner. And, there’s much to be gained from businesses investing in their payments platform - 77% said they are more likely to trust a brand that invests in modern, customer-friendly payments processes. And 53% said that a trusted payments experience would encourage them to use the online service provider again and reward them with their loyalty.

What is the future of European payments (SEPA, instant payments, invisible payments)?

I wish I could predict the future. ‘Embedded financial experiences’ has seemingly retained its Buzzword-of-the-Year title as more and more businesses look to better control what payments can do for their customers. But truly embeddable financial experiences need to be delivered by API as default to give businesses the full flexibility they need to build their propositions and innovate the market. This trend will only gain more momentum across Europe as businesses look to use embedded payments as a competitive advantage to shore up their internal efficiency and payment experiences. This is because the true potential for a digital API-led alternative to commercial payments will rely upon an agile and efficient ‘behind the scenes’ payments process. 

We’ve engineered our platform to be as ‘future-ready’ as possible so our customers can be flexible in the face of new and emerging payment trends. In this way, we can help ensure they’re well-positioned to adapt to future needs, even if they can’t yet predict them.

About Marca Wosoba

Prior to joining Modulr, Marca held a number of senior international, commercial roles – including General Manager, Europe at Global Reach and Head of International Development at WorldFirst (now part of Ant Financial) with accountability for new market expansion and new market revenue. Marca led the fintech into markets as challenging as China and Japan amongst other Asian, North American and European countries. Before moving into fintech she held progressive leadership roles with Royal Bank of Scotland where most recently she was Head of Retail Transaction FX. Marca holds an MBA from Baye’s Business School, London.

About Modulr

Modulr is the Payments-as-a-Service API platform for digital businesses that need a faster, easier, and more reliable way to move money. Businesses can automate payment flows, embed payments into their platforms, and build entirely new payment products and services themselves. All managed in real-time, 24/7 from one API. Modulr powers the payments plumbing for the likes of Revolut, Sage and Hodge Bank. 

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Keywords: Modulr, PaaS, customer experience, fintech, regulation, API, EMI licence
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: Europe, United Kingdom
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Payments & Commerce

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