Powering the next generation of payments
Episode Six, or E6, is a payments technology company that provides issuer processing and digital wallet management, which enables banks, fintechs and brands to design and launch their payments products with ease, flexibility and speed.
In this article, Daryn Griggs, Episode Six’s Brisbane-based Managing Director for Asia Pacific, explains how the company has developed, including:
– the origins of E6’s Tritium platform and its links to Australia
– how the platform is being used in Australia
– how Episode Six is prepared for the next generation of payments
The origins of Episode Six’s Tritium platform
Episode Six was founded in 2015 and its headquarters are in Austin, Texas, and the company has offices in London, Tokyo, Singapore, and more recently, Brisbane. In many ways, the origins of its development can be traced back to Australia. Griggs himself has brought a number of innovations to the market, including being heavily involved with the launch of the world-first multi-currency on a single card back in 2009. And the features of that product provide a window into the world of how complex issuing processing can be.
The problem for cardholders at that time, explains Griggs, came from overseas use to pay for goods and services in other currencies, The multi-currency card offered many benefits to cardholders, including competitive exchange rates and convenience. The travel card would have currency wallets attached to the account, where the cardholder would load their funds. However, in the first iteration, explains Griggs, if you were spending US$100 and there was only US$50 in the US dollar wallet, the transaction would be declined. The next iteration was designed so that if an extra US$50 was needed, the platform would connect to a foreign currency exchange, sell the currencies that were in the other wallets, buy US dollars and transfer this value to the US dollar wallet. It would do this, and authorise
the transaction, in seconds while the cardholder waited at the checkout. “Not many processing platforms can support this, even today, as it requires speed and complex logic,” explains Griggs.
Episode Six was co-founded by CTO Futeh Kao along with CEO John Mitchell and CFO Chermaine Hu in 2015. Kao had the opportunity to build a completely new platform with the latest and greatest technology and a new, proprietary architecture . “He thought completely out of the box and went down a totally different path to all the other card issuing processors in the market,” explains Griggs. “Using principles from his physics PHD, Kao created a highly configurable, highly scalable platform, with high availability.”
The platform he created is 100% future-ready and is native multi-asset, using a proprietary concept called ‘value-unit transfer’, which means it is agnostic to the unit of value and can move any currency or digital asset between parties. “That’s a fancy way of saying we can transfer value of any kind — fiat currency, crypto, reward points, gold, securities, or anything else you can imagine,” says Griggs.
The platform – named Tritium – is adaptable, fast, and can support and for of value or asset. For example, it could connect to a gold exchange, sell gold for dollars, credit US dollars to the wallet and authorise a US$100 spend. This real-time conversion and real-time funding mean that the whole transaction can be done at the point of sale and respond within a cards scheme’s auhorisation time requirements.
Tritium makes its mark in Australia
The co-founders of Episode Six also have a history in the gift card market. Mitchell and Kao were part of the team that put the very first open-loop gift card (one that is issued on a network like Visa or Mastercard and can be used at any store) in a large supermarket chain.
While Episode Six’s tools are in high-demand in the financial services sector, with its bank and fintech clients launching their own payment programs, they can equally be used for gift cards.
In Australia, Episode Six has partnered with Karta, a gift card company that makes it easy for retailers to offer gift cards to their customers. Episode Six – through Tritium – is the engine that sits behind the gift card platform, enabling the card programs to be launched quickly and for the transactions to be processed efficiently. “While gift cards have existed for nearly 30 years, they have not evolved to meet consumer needs and preferences, as they have transitioned to online shopping and digital payments,” says Karta CEO David Andersen. “Karta’s partnership with Episode Six, leveraging the company’s processing technology, enables Karta to meet these evolving needs and preferences.” Episode Six is
bringing the power of its platform to what has typically been a sleepy industry, bringing digital-first solutions to gift cards and reimagining the user experience.
Building for the next generation of payments
Gift cards are just one use case for Episode Six’s tools. The company also counts one of the world’s largest retail banks and Japan Airlines as its clients as well as a slew of innovative fintechs. It launched HSBC’s PayMe social payment app in Hong Kong in 2018 and since then PayMe’s user base has grown to over 2.5 million, while the app has gained the largest share of all e-wallet peer-to-peer fund transfers in Hong Kong and consistently expanded its merchant network across sectors in the city. Now Episode Six’s technology is currently used in 24 countries and on four continents, and is pre-integrated with established partners and networks for immediate readiness anywhere in the world.
Episode Six’s software is unique because there are endless ways that components can be configured and reconfigured to design and launch new products. Griggs also points out that as well as having the native multi-asset ledger that means any unit of value can be transferred, the digital wallet management also supports paying now, paying later, or paying differently, for example.
Griggs also explains how Episode Six provides a blank canvas for financial institutions, fintechs and brands to create payments programs that are not beholden to legacy systems or third parties to implement. “We are giving our clients the freedom to design and launch payments propositions with unmatched speed,” says Griggs. “The control is in their hands,” he adds.
About Episode Six
Episode Six is a payments technology company that gives banks, fintechs and brands the freedom to design and bring to market leading digital payment propositions. It powers its clients’ payments journeys with the most flexible and adaptable platform on the market today, providing highly configurable products with user-driven tools and technology to optimize competitive response and customer demand. Episode Six’s platform, Tritium, and ledger enables the transfer of value of any kind – fiat currency, cryptocurrencies, brand value points, gold, and more. Episode Six operates globally across 23 countries with an expanding team located in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Investors include HSBC, Mastercard, SBI Investment Co., Ltd. and Anthos Capital. For more information, visit www.EpisodeSix.com or LinkedIn.