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Interviews

Viva Wallet CIO Makis Antypas on the benefits of cloud-based payments

Wednesday 23 May 2018 | 12:55 PM CET

Interview Makis Antypas, CIO of Viva Wallet, on why they chose to build a fully cloud-based payments platform

What is your background story? How did Viva Wallet come to be and what are its core services?  

Viva Wallet was founded in 2000 and has been active on the market for almost 18 years. We started as a software development company, mainly focused on developing web applications for the banking sector. In just a few years, we expanded our operations and created several systems for banks and financial institutions from Greece and in Central and Eastern Europe. Aside from software for financial institutions, we have also developed large transactional systems for the airline and telecom industries.  

Over the years, we have gradually put together a team of engineers with experience in developing large-scale transactional systems, mostly for the banking industry. Viva Wallet is the result of over 16 years of knowledge and experience in developing systems, always with modern technology and following an agile model.  

The core services that we currently offer are e-commerce and card present acquiring, white-label card issuing, money transfers, corporate expense management and meal vouchers. We offer a comprehensive suite of B2B and white-label solutions for banks, fintech companies and big merchants.   

Viva Wallet is “the first fully cloud-based digital payments institution in Europe”. Could you expand on that? What are the benefits of a cloud-based payments platform? 

Being fully cloud-based means that nothing runs on premise. Instead, we use Microsoft Azure to run our operations. This allows us to be always available, always on, ensuring that there is no down time and no “maintenance windows” for our clients.  

The two Microsoft Azure sites from which we operate give us around the clock availability and high scalability in order to quickly adapt to changes and fluctuations in the demand process. For example, our merchants from the ticketing industry often experience peaks in customer transactions. To deal with higher traffic and demand, our systems automatically adapt when the number of transactions increases. The system is built in such a way that our clients do not experience any down time or service disruptions.  

The other advantage of not using any mainframe technology, nor legacy systems, is that we can easily integrate with new services, with new technologies, and with third-party services and platforms. We use REST APIs for everything and we have open sourced our own APIs from day one. Therefore, it is very easy for a company to integrate with our systems, even if those parties use legacy technology and do not have their own APIs. 

What customer segments do you target, and what makes you stand out from the crowd? What competitive advantage do your services offer to your customers?  

We target large retail merchants as well as fintech companies and banks. As principal members of international card schemes Mastercard and Visa, we are directly connected with these payment networks via our in-house developed cloud platform, without relying on third-party legacy software. 

Can you go into a little more detail regarding the onboarding process? How exactly does it work? 

Our onboarding process combines a risk-based approach with biometric authentication and machine learning. The customers use our website to onboard themselves – no manual registration and no physical document exchange is necessary. On top of that, we request additional documentation gradually, as the risk level of the customer’s or the merchant’s transactions increases. Security is ensured through Microsoft Azure’s AI technology such as Face API and machine learning.   

Do you see PSD2 as an opportunity? Do you think it will have a big impact on the payments market?   

We are confident that it will have a big impact, but it may still be too early to identify specific opportunities. Open banking and APIs, as well as instant money transfers, will help many fintech companies to develop and grow. But on the other hand, it is pricing and margins that can have a big impact on PSD2’s effect on the market. We believe that this will make PSD2 a great challenge.  

Money 20/20 is just around the corner and I bet you are excited to be there. What do you wish to get from the event? What particular topics/trends do you think are most relevant to the payments industry? 

This is our first time participating at Money 20/20 and we are definitely very excited. It is Europe’s leading event that brings together the entire payments, FinTech and financial services industry. We expect to learn more about the evolution of traditional industries via modern technology, such as cloud services, blockchain and machine learning, which are all technologies that we have been implementing ourselves. We also want to meet other experts in the sector, share experiences and knowledge and discuss opportunities related to a cloud-based approach to financial services.  

If you’d like to meet the Viva Wallet team at Money 20/20 please book an appointment here: https://www.vivawallet.com/en-eu/money2020/ 

About Makis Antypas

Makis Antypas is the CIO of Viva Wallet, as well as part of the Board of Directors of Viva Wallet Group, leading the technology division. He is responsible for delivering the software at the heart of the company’s innovative payment cloud-based services. He is a senior IT professional, with over 17 years of experience in implementing largescale transactional systems for the banking, retail, ticketing and e-commerce sector, in the UK, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Poland.

About Viva Wallet

Viva Wallet is a global, cloud-based digital payments factory providing innovative and reliable acquiring and issuing services to professionals and businesses of any size, based on their individual needs. The company was founded in 2010 and has presence in the UK, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus and Romania. Viva Wallet is a licensed e-money institution and Principal Member of MasterCard and Visa for issuing and acquiring and a partner to leading global companies, such as Microsoft, Alipay, and PAX.

Learn more at: https://www.vivawallet.com 

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