Member Spotlight: Vasco Pay, Digital Payments Accelerator Program

Anyone with experience in payments (including the 47 payment companies in this community) will understand the complexity and costs involved in bringing a payment product to market.

Open Banking has revolutionised the world of payments, resulting in the rise of ‘bank in a box’ and ‘banking as a service’, which provides open access to infrastructure previously reserved for the big end of town.

However, there are still plenty of barriers and challenges – cost, access to payments technology and speed to market. Regardless, the race to create and launch the next best payment solution is on – and Vasco Pay is here to help.


The Digital Payments Accelerator Program

Overcoming the traditional barriers of costs and exclusivity, the Digital Payments Accelerator is supporting start-ups and innovators to bring their innovative fintech and payment products to market with speed and affordability.

Aligned with the agile methodology, the program gives license for fintech companies to test their products in a controlled way before launch, driving increased innovation in the payments sector.

Rather than launching a complex and resource-intensive program, fintechs can quickly and effectively access a Visa payments solution, without a significant investment upfront.

Announced by Novatti (ASX:NOV) in September 2020, the Digital Payments Accelerator is the first of its kind in Australia. Building on Novatti’s Visa Issuing Licence, the program is managed by its subsidiary, Vasco Pay, enabling fintechs to launch Visa prepaid, virtual and gift cards in Australia. It offers relatively low barriers to entry for those wanting to launch a full-fledged digital payment program.

The idea of a Digital Payments Accelerator Program was born from a combination of the changing payments landscape and Vasco Pay’s own journey into the payments space.

For starters, we’re in the midst of a cashless revolution, with consumer demand for cashless payments rapidly rising. In fact, cashless payments have far overtaken cash in Australia, well before COVID-19. The same trend is seen worldwide. The World Payments Report 2020 predicts that cashless payments will propel to over 1 billion dollars by 2023, with Asia-Pacific taking the lead.

Leo Borovilas, General Manager of Vasco Pay, shares his personal story starting a prepaid card business.

“What was a passion project turned into quite a journey to find the right avenue to launch a card product in Australia. I asked myself, ‘Where does one go to launch a reloadable branded prepaid card and learn how to combine payments with e-commerce rewards and loyalty schemes? What are the associated costs and stages for a startup and how does one price this in their model to successfully launch and stage capital raisings? What are the timelines and parameters?’”

“These were just some of the questions and pain points in starting my journey which at times cost me time and money in setting up Vasco Pay’s offering to consumers. Now at Vasco Pay we have the accelerator program that gives the customer a place to go to have all the answers from our people and access to the necessary tech. Going through the journey from Proof of Concept to Launch, we work towards a successful launch and beyond.”

Even before this initiative was launched, Vasco Pay has already seen an increased appetite for this initiative, with some very exciting and innovative projects on the pipeline with clients.

Current projects include a consumer digital wallet for single use gift cards, and controlled welfare payments to people in urgent need of assistance.

How the Digital Payments Accelerator Program works

The Digital Payments Accelerator is a simple three-stage process, starting with a proof of concept, build and test, then launch. Available capabilities and features include:

  • Visa virtual and physical prepaid cards
  • Omni-channel merchant access, with full in-store and online payment functionality
  • Web portal for card management
  • Mobile App for cardholders
  • Sandbox testing environments
  • API connectivity
  • Program, tech and card management support, including fraud management

The Proof of Concept stage will help start-ups test their idea or assumption, by giving them access to our sandbox environment and APIs. Clients will be set up with access to the three essential components of a card program – the prepaid card, the card management platform and the mobile app.

As ideas become more concrete, we’ll move to the Test and Build stage of creating a live prototype. Clients can launch co-branded cards to select customers, partners or employees to test their assumptions and refine their product.

The last stage is Launch, which takes the learnings on the journey so far to launch a full-fledged bespoke card program. Vasco Pay will help you establish your offering and ensure your branded card is Visa certified.

Throughout the entire process, Vasco Pay will act as a Program Manager, offering full technical, project management, onboarding and training support.

The benefit of using a Program Manager

You may be wondering why you wouldn’t just develop your own solution in-house. It’s important to understand the process and factor in resources and costs accordingly. You will need to find a BIN Sponsor and card processor and draw up separate contracts. Next comes the technology piece, which involves building a platform that seamlessly integrates all the suppliers.

A Program Manager takes care of all this work for you. They are essentially a team of experts who can help you design and deliver a bespoke payment solution. Specialist knowledge across all functions, especially compliance, is critical to the success of your fintech product or service.

Choosing a Program Manager over DIY means that you will only need to manage one contract instead of many. You can bring onboard a Program Manager right from the start as you’re designing your product through to launch and post-launch activities. A program can be delivered in as little as 3 months, and in a market that’s constantly evolving, speed is everything.

The other benefit to fintechs is that you will be freed up to focus on your core business – customer acquisition, raising capital etc. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when there’s already a turnkey solution that’s ready for your brand.

The future of payments programs in Australia

As we roll into 2021 into a post-COVID-19 environment, we anticipate that taking a staged, prudent approach to launching a payment program will become the ‘new normal’.

“With the support and experience of our parent company (Novatti Group), we are truly excited about the future of payments as we lead into this cashless revolution with a toolkit for all tasks ahead,” said Leo Borovilas.

“The range of new offerings that we are seeing in the market place truly paves the way for a variety of payment methods simplified and to suit the needs and wants of customers. From Fintech to Agritech, Sports to Retail, the explosion of new ideas that requires payment solutions is now higher than ever, and the team at Vasco Pay are looking forward to playing a major part in realising the dreams of these companies.”

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