How do virtual IBANs enhance the growth of B2B cross-border digital businesses?

How do virtual IBANs enhance the growth of B2B cross-border digital business?

Digital merchants and online marketplaces are here to stay and are rapidly expanding. However, having a solid payment infrastructure is critical to their success.

Businesses must provide secure payment choices to their customers while balancing compliance and regulatory constraints. Adding virtual IBAN to your financial toolset streamlines and simplifies the process in this case. A virtual international banking account number (virtual IBAN) is a bank-issued reference number that enables payments to be routed to a (non-virtual) IBAN/bank account.

Virtual IBANs are addressing many of the inefficiencies between traditional banks and internet payments by modernizing transaction processes. In addition, they are assisting merchants in untangling the difficulties of conventional worldwide banking connections and overhauling their payment systems.

What exactly is a cross-border payment?

Cross-border payments occur when the payee and transaction recipient are located in different countries. Individuals, businesses, and financial institutions wanting to move payments across borders can use this service. International merchants must be able to accept payments in all of the countries they are targeting.

We developed a guide about cross-border payments so you can learn more about the global payments ecosystem and how to grow your business by choosing the proper payment partner for your international payments.

How to send money internationally?

To conduct an international bank transfer, you’ll need the recipient’s information, including their International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC). However, a consumer making a payment to an merchants’ site in another nation will have to do very little to complete the transaction because the merchant and their payment service provider will handle most of the work.

Merchants can make SWIFT payments to their consumers or other businesses. In addition, Visa Direct and Mastercard Send will likely become more extensively used in the future, enabling secure and quick payments to be sent directly to a card.

How does virtual IBAN work for B2B trading across borders?

Accepting and sending foreign B2B payments might result in massive transactional fees for businesses. Virtual IBANs provide companies with the same features as a standard settlement account but without the costs of opening and maintaining a physical account.

Many traditional suppliers will try to sell new customers comprehensive packages that include services they don’t need, such as credit cards, worldwide payment services, and insurance. As a result, the entire process may become a significant burden for businesses, requiring them to devote a substantial amount of time and attention to a straightforward procedure.

A virtual bank account with IBAN provides payment services without the expense and complexity of a traditional commercial bank account. The usage of virtual IBAN accounts further reduces potential administrative costs. The entire system strives to simplify the reconciliation process, allowing enterprises to conduct business with ease worldwide.

FX and payments companies, as well as their consumers, can benefit from virtual IBAN accounts. FX and payments companies can utilize these accounts to manage a master IBAN account from which they can establish and allocate segregated virtual IBAN accounts to each of their customers, making settlement and reconciliation easier.

A virtual IBAN or virtual bank account with IBANis a multi-currency, multi-jurisdictional banking solution for payments businesses that eliminates the need for several banking partnerships.

Below listed are some of the primary reasons that you should know about:

Changing B2B Requirements

Firms are conducting business abroad and in the digital industry are constantly seeking methods to improve their cross-border B2B payment procedures to be competitive and stay ahead of their competitors in their target market niche.

The issue in this complex undertaking is finding efficient and available solutions and adequately executing them to perform flawlessly for all parties involved, including core business, partners, suppliers, and customers.

Determining which technologies are most suited to the payment demands of specific organizations and their international partners is critical to helping them survive and grow once the present worldwide epidemic stops.

Closing the Gap in Technology

Virtual IBANs, like harmonizing international financial regulatory systems, technically bridge barriers between enterprises and markets. Virtual IBANs in B2B cross-border commerce close this gap and reduce the capital overlay needs familiar with traditional banking solutions.

This is mainly due to business and payments’ increasingly global and borderless nature. However, there are also administrative efficiencies to consider (which are growing by the day) and the enhanced capital allocation that such systems enable. This is essentially the basis behind Visa’s new B2B connect service.

Regardless of the size or location of your company, there are several growth prospects outside of your current market. Visa’s job as a payments network is to handle payments between banks on behalf of their buyers and sellers.

Global Financial Regulatory Harmonization

When dealing with various financial regulatory systems worldwide, the most significant hidden benefit of virtual IBANs in B2B cross-border payments comes into play.

Because virtual IBANserves as a single clearing account for international transactions, there is no need for a company to maintain a banking relationship with a local bank to conduct business with local companies.

Furthermore, domestic industries in that country are authorized to transmit payments to virtualIBAN accounts. Therefore, that country’s rules and regulatory regimes have no bearing on the company’s capacity to do business.

In other words, corporations do not have to be concerned about local events and can instead concentrate on the big picture to grow their business.

What are the different types of International or cross-border transactions?

Cross-border payments include credit card transactions, APMs, and bank transfers. So naturally, customers prefer to pay most conveniently for them. However, they also want customized options and assurance that their payment information is secure and managed well. As a result, merchants must cover all bases and provide several payment options for international customers.

eWallet

An eWallet, sometimes known as a digital wallet, is a software-based electronic APM that enables clients to pay for online and in-store transactions. eWallets, which are commonly available as apps for smart devices, allow users to safely keep their preferred payment cards so that they may pay for goods and services. Alipay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Neteller, and Paypal, are just a few examples of popular eWallets.

Consumers can use some eWallets to transact in several currencies and conduct overseas orders. Although you cannot term wallet-to-wallet typeas proper cross-border transactions, they make the entire process easier overall. The process is not classified as a cross-border payment until the funds are withdrawn from the eWallet and transferred to the merchant’s bank account.

Transfers between banks

Another long-standing method of making a cross-border payment is through international bank transfers. Most larger banks will keep a range of currencies on hand, but they will only be able to accommodate a few at a time.

As a result, when a UK customer wants to send money to a place where they don’t have the currency in stock, they’ll have to rely on their international banking associates to complete the payment. Smaller banks frequently lack foreign currency reserves. Therefore they rely on large banks to handle cross-border transactions.

This is simply a glimpse of cross-border payment processing; many more parties could be involved, causing the transaction to be delayed. SWIFT GPI is an attempt to speed up cross-border payment operations, which we will examine further below.

Payments by credit card

Credit cards are a popular choice for many people when making cross-border payments. Consumers submit their credit card information and wait for the transaction to be validated. However, there’s more going on behind the scenes. Because they must convert between two distinct currencies, cross-border payments necessitate greater effort from the credit card networks and acquiring banks involved. In addition, increased fees are transferred down the payment chain due to the increased workload.

Contact Capitalixe for custom banking solutions

At Capitalixe, we specialise in helping medium to high-risk clients obtain payments and banking solutions.

Our job is to match your company with the most appropriate and beneficial financial solution from our extensive network of over 100+ reputable payments and banking providers we work with.

By understanding your business goals, payments requirements, and market positioning, we take the time-consuming pain away of going to market and provide you with the solutions that are best suited to your needs.

Feel free to reach out to us for a complimentary consultation. We will be more than happy to help you.

 

 

 

How to find the best banking provider for your crypto exchange business

How to find the best bank provider for your crypto exchange company

So, you’re a crypto company wanting to expand your business, but you need to secure the right banking partner. How do you go about finding the best bank account for crypto? And how can you tell which is the best for your needs?

The world of crypto is still facing a lot of challenges, not least because it has a tendency to be volatile and unregulated. Despite this, there is a huge interest from various companies in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology – especially considering the possible benefits that they could bring to businesses all over the world.

In recent years, there are now some banks that have been trying to establish themselves as leaders in crypto-related services and some of them have already entered the crypto sphere – but not all of them are suitable for every crypto business. 

This means that crypto companies need to make sure they choose the right banking partner for their particular needs. However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. But don’t fret. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide that will help you choose the right partner and explain what you need to look out for.

Challenges Facing Crypto Companies

Before we get started, let’s take a quick look at some of the challenges facing companies who choose the wrong bank account for crypto merchants:

Chargebacks and fraud 

Chargebacks and fraud are a huge concern for any company accepting and operating with cryptocurrency. The right banks will be able to mitigate this risk and protect you from fraudulent activity and chargebacks.

Compliance and regulation  

Banks that specialise in cryptocurrency tend to work closely with regulators, ensuring they’re aware of the business you’re doing and helping to maintain compliance. Banks that do not specialise in cryptocurrency will often struggle with regulation, leaving you exposed.

AML and KYC 

There are some banks and financial institutions out there that don’t comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC). If you choose one of these banks, it will put your business at risk of unlawful activities. Banks and financial institutions that specialise in cryptocurrency are fully compliant with AML and KYC.

Choosing the Right Banking Provider for your Crypto Company

When it comes to choosing a banking partner, there are a few different things that you need to consider. The right choice depends on your profile and what your business is looking for in a bank.

You’ll also want to determine which features are the most important for your particular business model. This will help you find an institution with the appropriate infrastructure and expertise while also ensuring that you get a positive banking experience.

Here are five steps you need to take when choosing a banking partner for your crypto company:

Step 1: Do your research and make a list of potential banks and financial institutions 

The first step is to compile a list of potential banking partners – and this is very important. Make sure you include all the relevant institutions that might be able to help your crypto company grow.

You’ll also want to do some research around each prospective bank, such as reading reviews from other businesses using them and checking their latest news online (you can find more information in addition to what’s provided on their website).

You’ll want to pay special attention to:

  • Regulation: You’ll need to ensure that your bank is compliant with relevant regulations so they are able to handle crypto transactions. 
  • Security of funds: You’re going to be trusting these bank providers with your money, so they must have high levels of security in place. Make sure the funds are held in segregated accounts away from their own company funds, protecting your funds in the event of insolvency or bankruptcy.

Once you’ve compiled your list of potential partners, it’s time to move on to step two in our guide.

Step 2: Figure out which bank is the best fit for your company

After you’ve drawn up your list of potential businesses, you’ll need to evaluate how each one can help your digital currency business move forward. You should look at the available features that they offer and compare them against your requirements. For instance, virtual IBANs for crypto in multiple currencies are essential when it comes to doing business internationally, so if your top priority is simplifying the virtual currency transaction process then this feature should be high on your list.

Step 3: Consider how easy it is to open a virtual account with the bank

In order to do business with a digital currency company, banks will need to set up a virtual account. This makes it possible for your business to transfer virtual currencies and deal with fiat currencies as well – something that might be important for your digital currency exchange.

Make sure to assess how easy it is for digital currency companies to open virtual accounts with your prospective bank and if they’re willing to do this in a timely manner. 

Step 4: Check if your cryptocurrency company is being treated with good customer service

Even though banks are generally very responsive when it comes to meeting the requirements of their customers, some institutions have more experience dealing with virtual currency-related issues than others. These banks generally offer dedicated services for businesses that work with cryptocurrencies – so it’s important that you find an institution that is willing to help your digital currency business thrive.

Step 5: Determine how easily you can transfer funds and open IBANs (or other payment channels)

Once you’ve established which bank offers the services you need, it’s important to find out if there are any fees or restrictions involved with transferring currencies – such as setting up an IBAN for crypto. You should also check if there are certain rules that affect how you can pay your suppliers and customers.

There might be certain banking procedures and actions associated with your business type – so you’ll need to work out whether they’re appropriate or not. For example, if you deal with a lot of small-scale transactions, then it’s likely that different rules will apply compared to taking large sums across borders.

Final Thoughts

It’s important that you do your research and seek advice from other cryptocurrency companies and people in the industry when choosing a banking provider for your business. 

As crypto is still a new industry and widely unregulated, there’s going to be a large portion of financial institutions that won’t work with any sort of crypto companies, but don’t get disheartened. This is where we can help! 

At Capitalixe, we specialise in helping crypto companies obtain high-risk merchant accounts, bank accounts in multi-currency which includes both SWIFT & SEPA, and banking solutions for crypto. 

Our consultants are more than happy to discuss your banking options and give you all the information you need before making any decision.

Contact us today!

Digital Payment Trends Dominating 2022

Digital Payment Trends Dominating 2022

The Covid 19 pandemic has resulted in a rapid increase in both the volume and value of digital payment options. In fact, according to Statistica, the total transaction value in the digital payments segments is projected to reach $7,860,739m in 2022 and $10,715,390m by 2025.

Mobile wallets, cryptocurrency and voice-activated payments – it’s all changing so quickly that it’s hard to keep track. But at Capitalixe, we’ve got your back. 

Below are some of the biggest trends in digital payments today and what the future holds for them. So grab a pen and paper (and a lovely hot cuppa) because here are the trends you’ll be discussing at your next dinner party…

Mobile Wallets 

Now one of the most used digital payment methods by consumers, mobile payments use will continue to rise with 26.93% of CAGR projected between 2020-2025.

These services offer customers convenient, instant payments with no need for cash or PIN numbers. And they’re changing more than just the shopping experience, they’re even revolutionising how we make utility bill payments and send money abroad.

Today, we can use our mobiles to pay for groceries and petrol or even delve into the world of digital currencies by transferring Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies between wallets. And we can do it all with just a tap of our phones.

However, there’s still room for improvement in this sector as many retailers are still reliant on cards as an alternative to cash. This is mainly due to the fact that not everyone has a mobile wallet and some customers still don’t trust them.

BNPL Schemes

Buy Now Pay Later schemes are quickly becoming the preferred payment method, especially with millennials and Gen Zs. StudentBeans found that 42% of UK shoppers aged 16 to 24 used a BNPL service for big-budget fashion items and expensive tech purchases. 

These schemes allow users to spread the cost of expensive purchases over time. Let’s say you want to buy a product for £200. You can split this purchase into three or four monthly instalments with zero interest.

Klarna is one of the leaders in this field, with an impressive 90 million users utilizing their services. They are quickly replacing traditional credit cards, especially for internet shoppers. Last year, the company announced it had raised $639 million in funding rounds, bringing the company valuation to $45.6 billion.

Voice-Assisted Payments

If you own an Alexa, Google Home, or Siri device, you probably use it to get the weather report or book a cab. But did you know that these devices can also make your shopping easier?

Statista found that 35% of users use smart speakers for buying products like home care, groceries, and clothing.

So how does voice-assisted shopping work? You simply tell your digital assistant to order you a new pair of shoes, and they do it for you – there’s no need to type in any payment details as they are already logged into your account!

Cryptocurrency Payments

The future of digital payments is undeniably crypto. And with mainstream providers like PayPal, Stripe, and Square now accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment, it’s easier than ever to use these new currencies.

40% of large corporations in the Americas, Middle East, and Africa are considering using digital currencies for purchases over the next year. Plus cryptocurrency is helping a number of our clients who have high-risk merchant accounts. 

This includes the online gambling industry which has been completely revolutionised by cryptocurrency. Our Co-founder Lissele Pratt discussed how in Fintech Times

Named one of the biggest trends in the payments industry by PYMNTS, crypto is becoming an increasingly attractive payment option. If you’ve still got doubts about them, here’s why more and more companies are looking into crypto payments.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

AI is already changing the way we live, and now, it’s also revolutionising digital payments.

Machine learning algorithms are helping to identify fraud and prevent them, as well as providing real-time security measures against hacking.

AI can also help companies personalise the customer experience. Algorithms can identify a user’s shopping habits, preferred payment types, and any special requests – all in real-time!

As people become increasingly reliant on AI to provide a better user experience, these technologies will continue to gain in popularity.

AI Banking

As well as improving the user experience, AI is also starting to take on some of the back-end tasks that are traditionally handled by humans.

For example, AI can now provide automated financial advice based on individuals’ spending habits. Meanwhile, chatbots are also helping customers manage their accounts and complete simple transactions – without ever having to speak with a human being!

In the future, we may even see AI-enabled financial advisors replacing some of the roles of human advisers. For example, rather than recommending a specific assortment of products to invest in, an AI system would be able to provide financial advice based on individual circumstances.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. Our top digital payments trends for 2022.

As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more innovative payment technologies – particularly in the fields of artificial intelligence and cryptocurrencies. These could all become integral parts of our daily financial routines over the next year, from voice-assisted purchases to chatbots.

Capitalixe

At Capitalixe, we leverage the latest in financial technology solutions to help high-risk companies like those in the gaming and cryptocurrency sectors. We can help attain high-risk merchant accounts, multi currency IBANs or even bank accounts for financial institutions and the latest payment solutions. 

Contact us today to find out how we can help your business grow!

Capitalixe: How is Cryptocurrency Revolutionising the Online Gambling Industry?

The online gambling industry is still relatively new, with the first internet gambling site introduced in the mid-90s. Although it’s still in its infancy, the market is growing rapidly. According to a report by Research and Markets, it is expected to reach $72.02 billion by the end of 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.3%.

One of the main reasons for this growth is its willingness to adopt new technological advancements. Many industries remain wary of accepting these changes in fear that they will be detrimental to the future of their business. However, this isn’t the case with online gambling. Known for being the industry to take risks, online casinos and gambling sites constantly adopt new trends to meet the ever-changing demands of the market. 

As Co-Founder at Capitalixe, Lissele Pratt helps companies in high-risk industries obtain the latest financial technology and banking solutions. Here she shares her thoughts on how cryptocurrency is revolutionising the online gambling industry. 



Cryptocurrency & Online Gambling

Lissele Pratt, Director & Co-founder of Capitalixe

A recent trend in the online gambling industry has been the adoption of blockchain technology. Bitcoin paved the way for this change as the first blockchain-based currency adopted by casinos in May 2012. This was shortly followed by other popular digital currencies, including XRP Ripple and Ethereum. We’ve recently seen the emergence of new cryptocurrencies, specifically for the online gaming industry, such as CasinoCoin. 

Cryptocurrency casinos allow people to deposit money and withdraw their earnings in digital currencies. These casinos have completely revolutionised the industry as more people are reaping the benefits of their use.

Benefits of Casinos and Players Using Cryptocurrency

Increased Security

Many people who gamble online fear that they may be at risk of their banking information being stolen by fraudsters. This year, Experian found that the surge of online gambling during the global pandemic increased online fraudulent activity. 

Anyone who understands how cryptocurrency works will likely know some of the benefits of blockchain technology. Blockchain can be defined as a database of information that records the provenance of a digital asset in a way that makes it very difficult to change. It is a digital ledger of transactions and provides an open database of every transaction involving value.

This makes using this technology extremely secure. Cryptocurrency is easy to track as each transaction comes with its own unique identifier code. However, it is impossible to manipulate these transactions because all digital currencies are encrypted. This ensures that payments made using blockchain technology are safer than traditional currencies. It also reduces an internet users’ chance of making unauthorised transactions. 

Anonymity 

Blockchain technology also offers users complete anonymity whilst they play. Because no identification is attached to a bitcoin wallet, players can feel secure knowing that nobody can obtain their personal information. Instead, they can focus solely on their games and not have to worry about other users seeing their progress. 

Online gaming also won’t have a negative effect on player’s credit scores or their chances of loaning money. Cryptocurrency will not be visible on any bank statements. When applying for a loan, banks will sometimes look through these statements to better understand spending habits. If they spot any gambling activity, they’re much more likely to refuse this loan. 

Speed 

One of the most frustrating issues a player faces when gambling online is the number of hurdles they must jump through to receive their money. This is especially true when their payouts are made from international businesses. SWIFT payments can take anywhere between 1-5 working days to receive casino payouts, resulting in many players turning to brick-and-mortar stores rather than playing online. 

Playing with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin prevents users from waiting long periods of time to receive their winnings. Cryptocurrency winnings are transferred into a player’s digital wallet instantly so players can spend their winnings faster.

Cost-Efficiency 

Because cryptocurrencies are decentralised, they do not have a governing body examining the validity of the transaction. When transactions are made with traditional currency, there are always additional costs and transaction fees required by banks. For example, if you use your credit card for gambling, you will be charged a cash advance. According to Finder, These transactions attract a cash advance fee between 3% and 5% and a high cash advance APR. This fee is considerably higher if it is an international transaction.

These additional costs apply both to the player and the casino. Gambling with cryptocurrency means that these fees are either removed entirely or significantly less. You can also convert this cryptocurrency into fiat currency without having to visit a bank. 

Final Thoughts 

The use of cryptocurrency is still widely debated. Some feel it is too unstable for the average investor; others believe it is the way of the future. But could the integration of cryptocurrency in online gambling be a perfect match? It would seem so.

Offering this payment option to players will allow online casinos to attract new clients and provide additional benefits to existing customers. In Addition, this digital currency appears to solve a lot of the problems facing the online gambling industry. Using cryptocurrency can be a faster, safer and more cost-efficient solution to both players and online casinos. 

 

Lissele Pratt, Founder of Capitalixe – Payment & Banking Solutions to Help Scale Your Business

As Co-Founder at Capitalixe, Lissele Pratt helps companies in high-risk industries such as crypto, gaming, and financial services obtain the latest financial technology, payments, and banking solutions. 

With 6+ years of experience in the financial services industry and her global perspective, the entrepreneurial-minded Lissele is a recognized expert in foreign exchange, payments, and financial technology. 

Lissele was the first-ever female to be awarded top salesperson at her previous company and has recently been listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe Finance 2021 list.

Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)

Lissele Pratt: I’m currently working with some of the leading businesses in crypto, gaming, and financial institutions across the world. This is extremely exciting because many of my clients have been attained through my partnerships, referrals, and attending business events. Being a small business and working with these world-renowned clients takes a lot of hard work and commitment.

This year, this hard work was recognized, and both myself and my Co-founder Ivan Kovachev were listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 Finance list in Europe. This has always been a dream of mine. I am an avid Forbes reader, and whenever the lists were published, I would always scroll through them all hoping that one day I’d be good enough to make it on there.

 

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?

Lissele Pratt: Being a woman in a highly male-dominated industry was tough. A lot of my male co-workers were unsupportive of me throughout my finance career, and when I decided to launch my own company, many laughed and thought I would fail. I can recall several times where my colleagues told me “women don’t belong in this industry”

This made me doubt myself, and there were many times at the beginning of my career where I experienced imposter syndrome. Being a female founder, you need to have thick skin. Whenever I experience any self-doubt now, I remind myself of how much I have achieved. I channel all the negative comments from doubters into drive, and this helps me work even harder to achieve my goals.

 

Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?

Lissele Pratt: “Don’t start a business. What happens if you fail?”

In life, you will always come across people who put you down and doubt your abilities. As mentioned earlier, you must block out the naysayers. If you believe in your business and in yourself, you can and will succeed. I’ve found that self-belief and resilience are two of the most important qualities needed to be an entrepreneur. I left an extremely well-paid job in the city to launch Capitalixe. It was scary, and of course, there was always the chance that it wouldn’t work out. However, I firmly believe that with every mistake, comes a lesson. I embraced them and learned from them. I also truly believe that failure and success go hand in hand. If you’re not failing at anything then you’re not giving yourself opportunities for growth.

 

Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?

Lissele Pratt: To me, resilience is never giving up, regardless of how hard something may be. It’s being able to bounce back from mistakes and come back even stronger. As well as the ability to quickly recover from any setbacks you may face, and there will always be plenty along the journey!

 

When you think of your company, 5 years from now, what do you see?

Lissele Pratt: Over the next five years, I’m focusing on the implementation of our business growth and expansion strategy. I’d like to move from a small business to a medium-sized business, and there’s a lot of factors that will ensure this happens. This includes securing more clients and partners and extending our capabilities and offerings. To do this, I plan on scaling up my team, particularly on the business development side. I also plan on expanding to new jurisdictions and target sectors. So, I’ll be carrying out internal training sessions to ensure that everyone on my team is up to date with the recent trends in the payment sector.

 

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?

Lissele Pratt: I would say business leaders need to possess determination, perseverance, and a positive mindset. All three qualities work hand in hand and are instrumental to a business’ success. Determination helps turn your dreams into a profitable business. So many people have these great ideas that they’re passionate about. Without determination, though, these are never implemented or followed through.

Perseverance is also key to success. You’ll never come across a business owner who said their journey was plain sailing. When you launch your own business, you’ll inevitably come across obstacles and have to overcome these. Don’t give up when the going gets tough. Persevere and you will succeed.

A positive mindset is the most important quality I believe entrepreneurs should possess. One of my favorite quotes reads, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” I honestly believe that your attitude can determine how successful you will be. As a business owner, this is now more important than ever. Attitude is contagious. If you’re optimistic and confident, the people around you are likely to be too. I try to set a good example for my team by avoiding negativity. Keep a positive mindset and you are more than likely to attract positive things into your life!

 

What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?

Lissele Pratt: I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that people buy into people. You can offer fantastic products or services, but if your clients or customers don’t have faith in you, as an individual, they’re unlikely to want you to work with them. Trust is the most crucial component here. It’s great that your clients like you, but they need to trust you and feel confident in your abilities. Building your personal brand to position yourself as a thought –leader in your industry is crucial.

 

What’s your favorite leadership style and why?

Lissele Pratt: There’s this famous proverb that says, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” It’s important for me that, instead of telling my team what to do, I help them find the answers for themselves. I do this by asking them questions. I think as a business leader, it’s important to ask your employees ‘why’ they’ve come to a confident decision or solution. I strongly believe that if you always provide your team with the answers, you’re enabling them to always seek you out for a solution. This stops them from being able to tackle problems themselves and limits productivity.

 

What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?

Lissele Pratt: There’s no time like the present. If you believe you have a great idea, don’t put it off. I launched my business when I was 23. I questioned whether I should wait a little longer until I had more experience. Luckily, I went for it and am now running a successful business and following my dreams. You can always find reasons why now isn’t the right time to start a business. Maybe you have a young child, or you don’t think you have the money to invest in your company yet. But there will always be barriers. So why wait?

If you are worried about not having enough income to fund and sustain your new business, I would suggest starting it off as a side hustle alongside your full-time job. This way, you’ll have money coming in whilst you’re building up your business.

 

What’s your favorite “business” quote and how has it affected your business decisions?

Lissele Pratt: There’s a quote by Brian Tracy which I have stuck on the wall above my desk. It says, “There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking.” There have been many times where I’ve doubted myself. But this quote reminds me that I am capable, and I just need to believe it. As humans, we’re programmed to fear the unknown and do not believe in ourselves. It’s important to constantly train your mind out of these ways of thinking.

 

Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Lissele Pratt for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.

If you would like to get in touch with Lissele Pratt or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page

Women in Fintech: YAP Global, Cake DeFi, Xero, the Access Group, TPAY MOBILE, Capitalixe

This October at The Fintech Times we are championing the fantastic females in the fintech industry. Around 30% of the fintech workforce are women, and we want to spotlight those who have not only made it to the top, but those who have overcome hurdles, bulldozing a path for the women to follow.

Here we hear from Samantha YapBettina HospAnna CurzonAndrea DunlopSahar Salama and Lissele Pratt as they share how they paved the way for others to follow.

Samantha Yap, CEO and Founder of YAP Global

Samantha Yap, CEO and Founder, YAP Global

“Actions speak louder than words, and I believe by staying focused on building up my firm, I am paving the way for women and minority groups to do the same in the DeFi, Crypto, and PR space. While stereotypes exist in varying degrees, I have never let my race or gender limit what I am able to achieve, and I feel others should not as well.

“Although it is not an external ironclad policy, my team and I will always go the distance especially for panel discussions and press coverage, to ensure that deserving speakers get equal opportunities to shine as thought leaders. This is often more challenging as it takes more time, as we want to weigh all factors and select by merit, but also want to take the chance to elevate those who are underrepresented.

“Internally, for hiring and training employees, we at YAP Global have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, and recognition is given fairly based on effort and achievements. I also embrace global diversity by leveraging the different skills sets and experiences of team members, which is a big part of how I’ve been able to expand from five to 20 plus employees from Australia, the UK US, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Germany, and India in just one year.

“In essence, let the quality of your work and accomplishments, and your values as a person define you rather than your race or gender, and you will steadily and surely empower underrepresented groups.”

Bettina Hosp, VP, Operations of Cake DeFi

Bettina Hosp, VP, Operations of Cake DeFi

“I think it’s difficult to take credit for something like this. In an ideal world, every employer is a fair employer — one that ensures that hires are made based on the person’s ability to do the job, and not because of their race, gender or religious beliefs.

“At Cake DeFi, our ‘rope ladder’ consists of progressive initiatives and policies that enable a safe, friendly, and highly flexible work culture. Everyone at Cake DeFi has the opportunity and the right to express their opinions and they are encouraged to share them openly and often, which enables us to understand ways in which we can improve to better support them. We also like to think that we empower our people to forge their own paths to leadership, not simply by working hard and smart, but also by expressing unique ideas that have the ability to positively impact their team and the company. You could say that we operate on a meritocratic basis, with zero tolerance for any work-based discrimination and prejudice.”

Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer, at Xero

Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer, at Xero

“One of the biggest challenges many women in technology face is the unconscious gender bias that comes with being a minority in your field. In my early years, I often struggled to connect with my colleagues because I was a single mother and everyone on the leadership team was male. I often didn’t see people like me around the table. Relationship building and business was done in the evenings over drinks and it was inaccessible to me. “As I learned more about the importance of diversity and inclusion and the evidence published about the benefits, the more confidence I grew. I realised the lens I was providing was really important and that being the odd one out in the room meant that you were probably the most valuable because of your unique perspective. It’s irrefutable that having a gender balance leads to better business outcomes, greater profitability and value creation so I do everything I can to ensure my team realises the same thing and can reap the benefits of being afforded equal opportunity.“One of the biggest challenges many women in technology face is the unconscious gender bias that comes with being a minority in your field. In my early years, I often struggled to connect with my colleagues because I was a single mother and everyone on the leadership team was male. I often didn’t see people like me around the table. Relationship building and business was done in the evenings over drinks and it was inaccessible to me.

“I remember when one of our long-serving female product leaders came to me because she was so convinced that we needed to build a cash flow forecasting tool to help our customers. I backed her conviction, purpose-led drive and data-orientated proposal to make a real difference to the lives of our small business customers and as it happened, once the global pandemic hit, cash flow became even more critical for the survival of businesses. Because our product leader foresaw this need and we supported her in meeting it, we were able to provide the first iteration of our short-term cash flow tool to all our businesses and partners at no cost during the pandemic.

“We need to create business environments where everyone can thrive. This is particularly important in the tech sector, where women and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have historically been shut out of this world. This means enabling people to think critically and understand their privilege and how they can actively use it to ensure everyone feels included. Today, over 60% of the global leadership team at Xero are women and I’m proud that 50% of my product leadership team are women. We have programs in place to foster an inclusive and equitable workplace and this changes everything. For example, it is a requirement for any leadership role at Xero to undertake unconscious bias training and this year we also launched our D&I Leadership training so that all our managers know how to create and lead diverse teams. This is one of the reasons why Xero is included in the 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the second consecutive year. I also believe it’s why my team is the most effective and highly performing team I have worked with in my career.

“Thinking of this important cause, I’m reminded of a quote from Michelle Obama‘s Mum in her book, Becoming – “Bullies are scared people hiding inside scary people” – and that’s why this year, I’m committed to offering everyone in my team the opportunity to undertake Ally Training so we can better understand our individual power and privileges – and learn how to use them for the benefit of others. We are all responsible for creating a safe environment for those around us and I encourage everyone to do an ally training course — it will not only change your life but also the lives of those around you.”

Andrea Dunlop, Managing Director of the Payment Division at the Access Group

Andrea Dunlop, Managing Director of the Payment Division at the Access Group

“I recognised that in my early career I had been focused on my own career, juggling the challenges, and learning and struggling to navigate the ever-increasing politics of senior leadership.  I started to look for help, and it was in that process of looking for help myself that I started to see the same themes come up time and again.  The types of experience that I was having were common among many women, I wanted to make a difference not only within my own company but much wider within the industry but just didn’t know how to affect that change.

“I talked through these challenges for women with Tony Craddock, Director General of the Payments Association and we determined that networking for women was a major gap.  We agreed to hold an event and invite several people from across the industry, both men and women, to attend with the purpose of asking women what they want out of networking events as a fact-finding mission. This started, I think, a process within me on how I could use my position to raise awareness of the challenges faced by diverse groups, not just within my own company but across the industry and make a difference. To a large extent, in the early days of this process it was about creating events focused around key areas to help develop people, and to promote mentorship and sponsorship across the industry.

“The events helped us to create on-going and self-supporting platforms which helped people build confidence, share knowledge and insight.  At these events, I became increasingly confident to talk about my own challenges and struggles and it opened a door to meet new people and to widen my impact on supporting others.  From that first networking event to now, I mentor men and women not only within my own organisations but across industry and even back to my old days of serving in the Military,  supporting  groups likes  Ex Military Jobs, Ex Military Careers, Jobs for Ex Military Personnel which is focused on helping servicemen and women to make the jump from the military into civilian roles. In fact one of my mentees is ex-military and he is doing so well in his career in banking now – it’s very inspiring.

“There is no doubt that the way in which I help to make a difference has evolved, and while I still do many gender-led initiatives and belong to many groups like European Women Payments Network (EWPN), I also act as a sponsor for many helping people helping navigate into new roles. I’m also a co-founder of Investfem helping women to raise funding for their businesses.  I have also used my experiences to help people through grievance processes in the industry, leveraging my own personal experience of being involved in grievances as a manager, and also my own experience of raising grievances.  These can be lonely and stressful situations for many people and I’m pleased to be able to listen and give pragmatic support to help people navigate very difficult situations.

“I do rather unashamedly leverage my network to help others, and there is nothing better than helping to lift others up and see people move on to bigger and better.

“I will always be grateful for those first steps I made and the people that helped kickstart my journey which in turn has enabled me to create my own power network of supporters. I have to say that I personally don’t feel I would be where I am today without all those people that have supported me and continue to support me today.  It has taken some time to create that rope ladder for others but it is definitely there in new networking organisations, support networks, and the skills and experiences that I share and I’m proud to do this every day.”

Sahar Salama, CEO of TPAY MOBILE

Sahar Salama, CEO of TPAY MOBILE

“There have been positive strides in the drive for workplace diversity, yet for both women and overlooked minority groups, there are still huge inclusion gaps. The question remains, how do we actively change this? How do we encourage a broader, more diverse demographic to show an interest in and enter the fintech world?

“In my experience, the latter is answered by not only focusing on attracting talent but on retention strategies for diverse backgrounds. At TPAY MOBILE, we work hard to promote an inclusive work culture, ensuring resources are purposely allocated to the recruitment of all groups to fill senior positions, and not only encouraging but empowering any group who faces pervasive disadvantage in the broader society to stand up for themselves and what they believe in.

“The lack of parity in the fintech space is partly driven by the belief of some that women, as well as racial and ethnic groups, lack the aptitude or skills to succeed in the fintech industry, particularly at a senior level. This underestimation can be extremely demotivating for those working in fintech and even lead to them walking away from their role, and indeed, the workforce.

“To overcome this obstacle, I have implemented anti-discrimination policies to endorse diversity (like training employees in implicit bias) and accountability practices (like implementing a formal reporting system for discrimination). TPAY MOBILE promotes a culture of effective policy compliance across the organisation. I also ensure that as a company, we offer diversity mentoring and professional development programs to help minority groups who want to gain more experience and move up the career ladder in fintech. It is important to have role models to look up to – but these are not always easy to find.

“At TPAY MOBILE, the message that I pass on to those below is to have confidence. It’s important for people who are breaking into the fintech market to believe in themselves and speak up for their ideas. Regardless of experience, each one of us always has something valuable to add and contribute.”

Lissele Pratt, Director and Co-founder, Capitalixe

Lissele Pratt, Director & Co-founder, Capitalixe

“This year I implemented entry-level traineeships at Captalixe, specifically targeted at young women who want to work in finance. Gender diversity is extremely low in this field, and these roles are still very much male-dominated. According to a study carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority, women only make up 17% of FCA-approved individuals. I think it’s imperative to give young women the opportunity to thrive in a finance career. Our first entry-level trainee starts this month, and I plan on making more traineeships available as we continue to grow and scale our business.  “Capitalixe does not require any of our recruits to hold a bachelor’s degree. I’m incredibly hands-on with training my team and believe that anyone can thrive in this industry through hard work and dedication. As a child, I moved around a lot. Before the age of 15, I had lived in Thailand, Spain and England. Because of this, I missed out on a lot of schooling. I wasn’t the biggest fan of school work and knew that university and the traditional schooling route wasn’t for me. Because of this, I understand that, regardless of what educational background you have, it’s still possible to succeed if you are passionate. If I wasn’t given the opportunity to work as a Junior FX Broker at the age of 18, I would likely not be where I am today.“This year I implemented entry-level traineeships at Captalixe, specifically targeted at young women who want to work in finance. Gender diversity is extremely low in this field, and these roles are still very much male-dominated. According to a study carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority, women only make up 17% of FCA-approved individuals. I think it’s imperative to give young women the opportunity to thrive in a finance career. Our first entry-level trainee starts this month, and I plan on making more traineeships available as we continue to grow and scale our business. 

“I’m also a huge advocate for mentoring. I hold monthly mentoring meetings with each and every one of my team, where we discuss their progress and whether they would like additional training. I also mentor two young women interested in entrepreneurship. At present, I hold monthly video calls with them to discuss their goals, ambitions, and I answer any questions they may have. Then, we set out monthly goals and work towards achieving them. These goals could be anything from creating user personas to confidence-building activities like writing down daily affirmations and also working on their needle movers in the business. Recently, one of my mentees launched her own business. It’s been brilliant to see her idea turn into a reality, and I’m excited to help her with its future growth.

“Finally, I recently launched a mastermind group for aspiring entrepreneurs on WhatsApp. Here, we focus on collaboration, brainstorming and peer accountability. People challenge each other to set strong goals and hold them accountable for achieving them. This has proven to be really successful in inspiring these young aspiring entrepreneurs.”

How can female leaders in fintech pave the way for the next generation of women?

The fintech industry continues to struggle with a gender gap that sees women making up just 30% of the fintech workforce.

Fintechs must do more for the next generation of women in the industry to follow

In recent years, fintech has been seen as an exciting and dynamic sector. There are plenty of opportunities for career progression, high salaries and even the chance to bring about significant social change.

Despite this, many female employees cite harassment or bullying at work. In their charter, InChorus revealed that 85% of harassment-related incidents in UK fintech were related to gender, and 84% of victims were harassed more than once.

This shows that fintech is still not an industry where women can feel welcome and safe enough to progress.

As more women fight for their place in this male-dominated industry, business owners, directors, senior leaders and managers must create a rope ladder for the next generation of women in this industry to follow. Here are five ways they can do this:

1. Gender-diverse hiring practices and implicit bias training

One of the most effective ways to ensure a more representative fintech workforce is, of course, by hiring women. However, female founders and managers must also go beyond simply hiring women – they need to seek out female talent across all levels of their company, from junior roles right up to director-level roles.

In addition to this, fintech leaders must tackle implicit bias in the industry head-on. Implicit biases can influence our behaviour without realising it, and 80% of CEOs interviewed in a recent survey recognised a need for diversity within their organisations.

With AI-assisted technology like training programs on unconscious prejudices, it becomes easier than ever before to step back from day-to-day operations, so we all have room.

2. Mentoring

Mentoring is a process of providing guidance to another person, especially by an experienced, more senior person or expert on how they can acquire skills and knowledge.

Women who work in fintech should actively be offering their time as mentors for women entering into the industry so that both parties get something out of it – the mentee gets valuable advice while having someone with insider connections guide them through their job search.

Meanwhile, this helps seasoned professionals learn what needs fixing when it comes down to recruiting new talent.

3. Adopting flexible working practices and parental leave policies

The demand for childcare services has risen sharply in recent years thanks to changing work lives. Offering flexible working and parental leave initiatives are fantastic ways fintech leaders can pave the way for the next generation of women in fintech.

For many women, flexible working hours are critical in allowing them to juggle the increasingly essential responsibilities of a career and motherhood. A recent study revealed that nearly half of mothers don’t get the flexibility they ask for in the workplace.

When applied to fintech, remote working is an effective way for many women to work without compromising their careers/ family life. Several firms have been praised for their open and flexible working environments, which has helped them become leaders in the industry.

4. Traineeships and apprenticeship programmes for women 

Many fintech companies are failing to offer women fintech applicants the chance to get their foot in the fintech door. By fostering female talent through traineeships or apprenticeship programs, leaders can provide women with an entry point into the industry by laying down their own framework as future applicants follow suit.

5. Creating digital communities for women in fintech to network

Fintech companies must create digital communities for women working in fintech – whether they are fintech founders or workers – to network with other like-minded professionals. These networks can be used as a platform for sharing advice and information about how to succeed, posting upcoming job roles and even advertising your services as a mentor.

There are plenty of networking groups fintech founders and workers can join to help them network with women fintech professionals. A quick Google search will help you find the best programmes that highlight the achievements of female fintech pioneers and offer advice and support on how other fintech leaders can encourage gender diversity.

What Is Banking As A Service?

The global finance industry is undergoing a massive evolution and has come a long way in the past decades. As a result, making payments and the overall banking experience have become more effective and comfortable than ever before.

The primary reason for such advancement is the access and availability of those services and tools that were almost locked out before. As a result, customers are now benefiting from the vast array of new products and genuinely helpful technology for banking activities. All the credit for this evolution goes to BaaS or Banking as a Service.

Banking as a Service- what does it mean?

The term BaaS or Banking as a Service refers to a balanced ecosystem in which licensed and legal institutions offer access to their banking services to other business that is not part of the banking sector through APIs. One of the best examples of Banking as a Service is the concept of employee expense cards.

The dynamically growing market largely depends on BaaS for the successful delivery of its products. as mentioned above, employee expense cards allow access to payments and banking services from licensed institutions like banks and various other payment providers.

The integration of all the services is made possible using the most advanced technology, including API calls. Moreover, the financial institutions develop their tools, user experiences, and interfaces to ensure that their clients can solve all the major problems regarding employee expenses recording and reporting.

Earlier, this model was impossible, and experts were expecting a big startup to take up the responsibility of launching the same. It would have been a very lengthy process with several challenges during the journey.

The startup would have to sign deals with very sluggish legacy institutions to make the whole setup work. Besides, integrating significant banking technologies into their technology stack would mean facing various major legal hurdles. Last but not least, the whole model would be costly.

BaaS is a contemporary entry into the financial service industry. The same can eradicate any hurdles that businesses may face when they try to integrate or launch financial products.

This includes complex legalities, old technologies, and sluggish legacy institutions. Therefore, it is evident that functioning in or dealing with financial matters has become a lot more effortless than ever before.

The usefulness of BaaS or Banking as a Service

Banking as a Service comes with several problem-solving skills, and here is a summary of some of the primary problems that it can take care of.

  • As the name suggests, BaaS is the gateway to all banking activities for the non-banking sector. With the help of banking as a service obtaining financial services and products has become easier than ever before.
  • Banking as a Service is a boon for all budding industries and those stuck at the back for low-level technology.
  • BaaS is an excellent option for customers because it gives them more choice compared to traditional banks.

So, that’s a brief discussion about the meaning and benefits of banking as a service. It is growing dynamically, and considering the industrial growth pattern, the growth of BaaS is more likely to improve.

BaaS is one of the rapidly pacing trends of the decade

Were you aware of the concept of SaaS or Software as a Service? The delivery and licensing model makes individuals and businesses eligible to become users of specific applications and programs.

These are unlike those applications that one needs to download, install, and update several times. Instead, users can go to the website and enter their credentials to log in to their persona account. Just like this plug-and-Play pattern has gained so much popularity, the same is the case with its banking counterpart, BaaS or Banking as a Service.

Now that you are already aware of the meaning of BaaS and its potential benefits, here is understanding the larger picture of it. Let’s first start with learning about some of the most interesting facts about online banking or BaaS.

Facts about online banking or Banking as a Service

The shift of focus from the traditional banking system had started quite a long time back before we could even start realizing it. It was only after people started using the internet for all their work that online banking or BaaS became popular.

Most of us had almost forgotten when we visited our banks physically. Moreover, the outbreak of the global pandemic became a cherry on the cake for online banking, and therefore the popularity of BaaS is now rapidly increasing.

Here is a list of some fascinating facts about online banking:

It all started from here

The first-ever bank to offer online banking facilities to its customers was the United American Bank. It was back in December 1980 that the bank management went into a discussion with the radio organization. Finally, they decided to plug in a special device for home computers. So, if an individual could pay a $25 monthly charge, it became possible to check account balance, apply for loans, and pay bills using the internet.

The UK started it in 1982

While the US was the first to come with this excellent solution, the UK was not far behind. The first usage of the internet for banking in the UK was recorded in September 1982. It was the result of collaboration between British Telecom and the Bank of Scotland. Moreover, the earliest service was called Homelink, and here a person’s residential telephone was to be connected with the television at their homes. As a result, individuals became eligible to pay bills or do money transfers.

Online banking & Wells Fargo

The first-ever bank to launch its website and offer BaaS to its customers was Wells Fargo, US, back in 1995. These modern services replaced the complex setup involving desktops, traditional floppy disks, and hard drives. Presently, Norway is the largest user of BaaS, closely followed by Iceland and Denmark. However, India has the maximum number of online banking users compared to all other countries. This number may soon cross the 150 million mark.

Online banking and internet usage

If we consider the UK picture, banking is one of the top-most popular uses of internet services. The first two are online shopping and email, of course. Most of us tend to keep checking our accounts every few days, which has become more evident with the rising popularity of banking applications.

40% of the global population is familiar with BaaS

According to a survey in 2018, over 2 billion people worldwide were using BaaS or internet banking facilities. That makes for approximately 40% of the global population, and it is undoubtedly more now! In the UK, over two-thirds of the total adult population is dependent on BaaS. That’s the most common way to manage bank accounts.

Online banking and fraud

The UK anti-fraud prevention service says that approximately 87% of the total annual frauds are conducted using the internet and online banking facilities. However, you can learn more about internet banking security and follow them to be safe.

What is an IBAN in online banking or BaaS?

Whenever you plan to transfer money online in Europe, entering the other person’s IBAN is very important. It is the best way to ensure that you have successfully transferred the amount. As an idea of time-saving, the majority of European banks will send you the IBAN online only. This will work just fine, even if you are unaware of any other details of the recipient.

IBAN (International Bank Account Number)- what does it mean?

While the term is pretty much self-explanatory, we would still like to put some light on it. It’s a unique number ID mainly used for online banking transactions in Norway, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and the majority of Europe.

This code contains the required information to ensure that the money you send reaches the recipient safely. For example, the amount, name of the bank, country, account number, and more are some of the details already linked to your unique IBAN. While you are banking online, it’s not very difficult to generate an IBAN.

Analyzing the IBAN

A unique IBAN comprises a maximum of 34 letters and numbers depending on the location country of the bank account. For example, GB20SMUK12233441741025 is a perfect IBAN that has several parts in it. Here is the breakdown:

GB| 20 | SMUK | 122334 | 417411025

  • The recipient’s country code is “GB,” which means Great Britain
  • The second part is to verify the IBAN and varies for every second account.
  • SMUK is the code of your banking provider
  • 122334 is known as the sort code
  • 417411025 is an imaginary account number (should be a real one when you are sending money practically)

The sort code and account number will remain constant in your IBAN whenever you use them within the boundaries of the UK.

Finding the IBAN- Where can you get it from?

A person’s IBAN can be generally found through their bank statement, mobile app, and online banking. However, if you plan to transfer money to someone outside the country’s borders, entering the IBAN directly is mandatory. In case you enter the wrong code, there are chances that the money will reach someone else. Moreover, the bank will also charge you for making an invalid payment. Therefore, it’s best to check the IBAN repeatedly before pressing the enter option.

While BaaS or online banking is the most prevalent service now, it is always better to learn the minute details beforehand. Also, make sure that you are aware of all the security guidelines to carry on operating your bank account online very safely.