Change Financial (Change) is a global fintech, providing payment solutions to banks and fintechs. Change partners with clients to provide simple, flexible, and fast to market payment solutions and services.
“What many banks and fintech firms need to do is be able to facilitate in person and digital payments for their customers. We provide all of that underlying technology,” said Alastair Wilkie, Chief Executive and Managing Director of Change Financial.
Change, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, currently partners with over 146 clients across 41 countries, managing and processing over 16 million credit, debit, and prepaid cards worldwide.
Change began life by providing a retail banking service via a mobile app and prepaid debit cards to the unbanked and under-banked in the U.S.
“The whole purpose was to give these under banked access to cash through ATMs but there was no credit facility. Ultimately, Change had over 300,000 customers who had decided to activate a card, and this gave them access to money through the banks,” Mr Wilkie said.
By broadening the digital channels that customers could use to access its services to include Facebook and Google, Change grew rapidly to the point that by the end of 2019 it had been registered as a Mastercard payments processor. This made it the first card issuing and payment platform to complete this process in the previous five years and only the second fintech to achieve this status in the previous 20 years after Marqeta Inc.
In 2020 Change took another leap forward with the acquisition of the Australia and New Zealand business assets of Wirecard whose clients included the big four Australian banks and major supermarket chains.
Change has now emerged as a critical service provider that connects licensed banks with companies to provide integrated payment processing and card management services. It also offers performance and maintenance services to ensure business clients meet high standards.
Through its customisable payments platform Vertexon, Change helps businesses to issue cards, digital wallets, and BNPL systems; enables access to major card schemes like Mastercard, VISA and AMEX, and offers Apple, Google and Samsung pay services.
Vertexon’s software as a service (SaaS) model connects existing licensed banks with modern application programming interface (API) driven businesses. Its payments technology provides the software infrastructure that enables clients to offer a sophisticated, quick to market, payments capability.
Change’s PaySim offers a full end-to-end payment testing solution to ensure clients meet the capability and performance expectations of their customers by simulating the full transaction lifecycle.
PaySim’s API enables clients to automate their testing functions and integrate it with their testing and quality assurance toolsets.
Along the way to reaching this total product offering, Mr Wilkie said the company faced two key challenges.
“The first was the strategic move to being a processor as well as being a payments platform service provider, effectively moving from prepaid to a debit and credit card processor. This took over two and half years to complete because of all the regulatory requirements,” he said.
“The second major challenge was how to encapsulate all the evolving consumer payment needs like mobile access, virtual and digital cards, and the newly emerging payment options like Apple Pay Google Pay and Samsung pay.
“This was all about creating a wider remit of how you pay which all required a major expansion in technology. This also had to be done without ending up costing clients a lot of money,” Mr Wilkie said.
While Change developed a strategy to do this in 2020 which it estimated would take up to three years to implement, fortunately at the same time along came the Wirecard acquisition.
“I estimate that 70 to 80 percent of what we were trying to achieve within three years was available to us by making a strategic acquisition of Wirecard’s assets,” Mr Wilkie said.
“We also got access to a highly trained staff and a large revenue base generated from around the world. In all it brought forward our three-year strategic plan by about 18 months,” Mr Wilkie said.
Looking ahead, Mr Wilkie said Change expected that by the end of the current financial year in June we will have a number of new customers operating on our platform. The company is also looking at all the new forms of digital finance payments like cryptocurrencies.
“We are engaging with those opportunities, like Crypto and BNPL, that really help to improve the consumer interaction with payments,” Mr Wilkie said.
Change is building momentum in the Australian payments as a service (PaaS) space, leveraging its experience in the US market to become a truly global solutions provider.