We are delighted to announce our investment in Volt.io, the leading provider of account-to-account payments connectivity for international merchants and payment service providers (PSPs). Read on to learn about the Open Banking opportunity and our decision to back the Volt.io team.
The Open Banking opportunity
Progressive regulation is one of the key pillars which supports the UK and Europe’s position as a global leader in fintech innovation. The EU’s Second Payments Services Directive (PSD2) and the UK’s equivalent Open Banking legislation, provide a powerful example of this.
Under PSD2/Open Banking, European banks are required to provide APIs through which licenced third party providers can access account information and initiate account-to-account (A2A) payments on behalf of consumers. Fintech companies have been at the forefront of building infrastructure and developing applications which unlock the potential of these APIs.
Our thesis for Open Banking centres around applications; where a value added product or service is built using bank API connectivity as a base input. We see account-to-account payment services as one such application with significant, near term potential. Providers have the opportunity to leverage regulatory change against a backdrop of unrelenting growth in digital payments (further boosted this year by Covid-related upticks in ecommerce — penetration accelerated c.5 years¹ — and decline in cash usage — -50% YoY March 2019–20²).
In Volt.io we are backing an extremely strong team who have the experience, vision and execution abilities required to fully capitalise on the opportunity.
The attraction of A2A
Account-to-account payments — where funds are moved directly from one bank account to another rather than via payment rails (Visa/Mastercard/Amex etc) — deliver benefits to both consumers and merchants.
Consumers enjoy a smooth checkout flow and heightened security. Payment authorisation is provided via online banking log-in providing security but not at the expense of experience. A2A is fully compliant with new regulation on Secure Customer Authentication for payments in Europe whilst issuing banks and card processors are required to retrofit security protocols to their checkout flows. Existing attempts at this — eg 3-D Secure — have a track record of adding friction and leading to a rise in shopping cart abandonment.
Benefits for merchants include lower transaction fees, real time settlement (greatly improving cash flow), improved conversion at checkout, total elimination of card chargebacks and increased payment security with customers executing a push payment via their bank authorisation (vs merchants pulling funds from the consumer’s account as happens with cards).
To unlock these benefits for themselves and their customers, merchants require a payments services partner capable of transforming connectivity to the payment initiation APIs mandated by PSD2/Open Banking into a checkout-ready payment option which stands up against card payments in terms of geographical coverage, reliability, reporting and security.
Enter Volt.io, the leading provider of account-to-account payments orchestration for international merchants and payment service providers.
Volt.io is led by three payments industry veterans; Tom Greenwood (previously Founder & CEO of IFX Payments, a pioneer of API-led payments and FX as a service), Steffen Vollert (led global expansion for Adyen) and Jordan Lawrence (CEO of PCN Capital). The team have a deep understanding of merchant requirements and have been laser-focused on building a service to meet them.
In practice this looks like;
- Broad and deep API connectivity across Europe facilitated by connections with multiple API aggregators in each country covered
- A sophisticated payments switch optimising for speed and cost across the network
- Failover and redundancy enabled by holding multiple connections to each bank in the network
- Reporting and customer management through the Volt.io Fuzebox control centre
- Cash management suite for cross-border commerce (reconciliation, fx, pay in, payout, refunds & sweeps)
- Scalable cloud infrastructure designed to PCI security and compliance standards
By unifying the networks of API aggregators rather than re-building connections in-house, Volt.io’s model is inherently scalable and the team already boast the broadest European coverage for A2A payment connectivity. This makes Volt.io a clear choice for international merchants and PSPs. The model will allow the team to follow the global roll out of Open Banking with Latam and Apac representing significant near-term opportunities in addition to Europe.
Volt.io offering is already finding real traction with merchants and PSPs alike. Already announced are partnerships with three leading PSPs — APEXX Global, Bambora (Ingenico Group) and GiG — with many more to come.
With this investment we increase our exposure to two of the most compelling trends in fintech at the moment; Open Banking and digital payments and we are delighted to be supporting the Volt.io team on their ambitious mission.
Learn more about investing in fintech with Augmentum Fintech (LSE:AUGM) at www.augmentum.vc/investors
Read “Staying Private: The dynamics of public vs private capital in a changing world”, written by Augmentum Fintech Partner Martyn Holman here.
This financial promotion is issued by Augmentum Fintech Management Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under Firm Reference Number: 811734. Augmentum Fintech Management Limited is appointed as manager to Augmentum Fintech plc. This financial promotion is for information purposes only and nothing contained in this financial promotion constitutes investment advice. This financial promotion is intended for professional investors and for retail investors who have sufficient knowledge and experience of UK listed investment trust companies. If you as a retail investor are uncertain whether an investment is suitable for you, you should seek advice from a regulated financial adviser. The value of investments, and any income from them, can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount invested. Reference to “Augmentum” or “Augmentum Fintech” refers to “Augmentum Fintech Management Limited” unless otherwise stated. Reference to the “Company” refers to Augmentum Fintech plc. Reference to “we”, “our” and “The Augmentum Team” refers to employees, consultants or advisors of/to “Augmentum Fintech Management Limited”.