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Mike Laven, Currency Cloud: "Fueled by digital innovation, every business in today's economy has the potential to operate globally"

Friday 27 November 2015 | 09:48 AM CET

In the quest for a convenient user experience, we are seeing payment transactions embedded and ‘hidden’ within other services

Can you tell us a few words about Currency Cloud, starting with the reason behind its foundation and with the main issue your company tries to solve?

Fueled by digital innovation, nearly every business in today’s economy now has the potential to operate globally. However, the traditional financial technology that enables international payments has not kept up with the speed of global commerce and the impact of trends such as the on-demand economy, which are driving a fundamental shift in the way that businesses and consumers expect to make payments.

We are an API-led company which has developed a fully automated cloud-based Payment Engine to enable businesses and their customers to easily send and receive international payments - ensuring that slow transaction times and high costs are not holding innovative companies back from reaching their global potential.

Who are Currency Cloud’s customers?

We have over 125 clients who directly use our Payments Engine. In turn, our Payments Engine serves 100,000 end users i.e. business or consumer customers of our clients.

We are the power inside some of the most exciting businesses in the financial services and FinTech sector. Our clients range from money transfer specialists such as World Remit and Azimo, to payments solutions like MANGOPAY, start-up banks like Fidor and on-demand service providers such as WeSwap.

What are the key advantages of Currency Cloud’s solution?

Currency Cloud brings together a banking network, payments technology and a deep understanding of international payments processes. We are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the payment services regulations and we are Payment Services Directive (PSD) – compliant. This brings the same levels of security, reliability and compliance that clients receive from mainstream banks. We follow a comprehensive Know your Customer process and screen against a wide range of sanctions. This service can be extended to clients if required, allowing them to focus on growing their core business.

As Currency Cloud operates at scale, we benefit from efficiencies that we can pass directly to our clients.

We have also just launched the Payment Engine Two - the next generation API will enable faster payment speeds and increase volume capabilities, as well as giving clients greater flexibility to customise and manage their payment flows according to individual business needs.

How could payment companies make the most from APIs in an international payments context?

APIs allow enterprises to optimise whichever segment of the financial value chain (international transfers, payments processing, etc.) they require help with, without having to remodel their entire IT infrastructure from the ground up.

Our clients can get up and running with the Payments Engine in as little as two weeks, a fraction of the time it takes to implement traditional IT projects. Moreover, they benefit from our regulatory approval – removing the need to tackle the complex regulatory system themselves.

How could banks benefit from APIs in the context of payments?

By relying on FinTech companies, which specialise in key areas of financial technology, banks can avoid the tedious task of attempting to master all areas of financial technology services. By using an API, developers can build additional applications around the bank’s data – allowing for simplified internal innovation.

What is the next step, in terms of trends and developments, for the payments market?

“On-demand” businesses such as Uber are contributing to the change in the way that consumers expect to make payments. In the quest for an ever more convenient user experience, we are increasingly seeing payment transactions embedded and ‘hidden’ within other services. There are many new technology providers seeking to develop business models based on seamless user-experience and maximum convenience and the ability to make high-volume low-value payments in real-time is key to this model. This creates a significant opportunity to players in the payments space, who can provide support on-demand players to provide clients with the seamless experience they require. Our Payment Engine Two supports this demand for transparency as payments become increasingly virtual, giving clients increased control over their international transactions in a new era of open banking.

About Mike Laven

Mike Laven is the CEO of Currency Cloud, a rapidly-growing FinTech company that is transforming how businesses move money around the world. He joined the business in 2011, growing the firm to processing more than USD 15 billion of international payments per annum, and presiding over a total of USD 36 million of investment in three years. Over the last twenty years, he has held leadership roles at a number of FinTech firms – Mike previously served as the chief operations officer at Traiana as well as the CEO at Infinity Financial Technology, Cohera and Coronet, and Chairman at FRS Global.

About Currency Cloud

Launched in London, Currency Cloud is driving the transformation of the payments landscape to make international business and new markets accessible to everyone. With its developer friendly Payment Engine, businesses can build and automate their products, benefiting from real time wholesale rates and a fast, secure payment network. Everything is delivered by its next generation API.