Payments On Fire

Glenbrook

Episode 128 – How a NextGen Payments Company Builds on the Cloud – Eric Rosenthal, Rapyd

Take a listen to Rapyd‘s Eric Rosenthal and Glenbrook‘s George Peabody as they discuss Rapyd’s swift global expansion, its ability to quickly build new capabilities, and the firm’s cloud-based tech stack. It uses its “white label PayPal” model to payment-enable a wide range of companies and use cases.

Programming Payments Has Been Hard

Among the many evolutions in the payments industry over the last decade, and only accelerating today, is the programmability of payments. Prior to that, a portion of payments providers – gateways, processors, and even networks – provided access to their services via direct integration to whatever interface they cared to expose. The API is the layer now employed for that purpose.

A single interface to core services is, of course, the basic stock in trade of a gateway, an outfit that exposes a single interface to its customers with the promise, among many, of reaching a broad swatch of acquirers out the other side. Networks like American Express and Mastercard have long provided access of their own.

But this approach, for the many merchants and businesses shifting to digital payments, had a number of shortcomings.

First, none of these integrations were truly comprehensive. One gateway could get you to the UK, but others were necessary to reach the rest of Europe, often on a country by country basis because payments are local and domestic. To sell in a country, you have to connect to the methods its citizens use. Cards along won’t do it. So, global reach through a minimum set of providers was a challenge.

A second concern was the effort required to connect to so many providers. A merchant would have to carefully assess the ROI for each development effort in order to sell, say, in Austria or Thailand. Or to take advantage of the fraud services of American Express. Implementing and maintaining so may interfaces – and the contracts or partnerships that exist alongside the technical effort – is a lot of work.

Things Have Improved – A Lot

The way over these barriers is now broadly available. A number of providers have applied a common insight – that merchants, enterprises, and sellers will flock to a provider that offers a single, straightforward API that abstracts the complexity of payments so that they can focus more on their commercial goals.

Multiple providers now offer a single integration through which merchant can reach a global audience and the global range of payment methods.

That’s one of the insights that inspired firms like Braintree, Stripe, Adyen, and others, including the firm Rapyd, the subject of this Payments on Fire® episode.

Built on the Cloud

Rapyd is a young company building out its capability to global scale in a very short period of time. In this discussion with Rapyd’s Eric Rosenthal we hear how the firm’s use of Amazon Web Services has allowed the company to scale operations around the world in a reliable and, critically, compliant manner with respect to data privacy and domicility.

Eric illustrates the company’s model – a white label PayPal as he calls it – through an example of Rapyd supporting a cash collection supply chain challenge for a global CPG manufacturer.

Flexibility and Speed

In our payments consulting work on behalf of merchants and billers, when we support their choice of payments provider, we increasingly see one or more firms like Rapyd competing against incumbents like First Data and Chase. We expect to see them more often in the future.

Incumbents using legacy infrastructure lack the flexibility to be responsive. We frequently hear about the years long implantation projects some legacy providers require. While a single firm may have built, at one time or another, every possible bit of functionality a merchant may want, the reality is that such breadth is not available on a single platform. Hence those long integration timelines.

The ability of these newer entrants to address incremental use cases is impressive. Of course, some of their components lack the functional depth achieved by incumbent competitors. But that gap will narrow with time and faster than in prior years.

By outsourcing the core plumbing to cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft’s Azure, firms like Rapyd are able to put more wood behind the arrow aimed at their customer’s business goals. Freed of much of the operational burden of running the plumbing, they can deploy their talents where the impact is greatest. And that changes the game.

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