Gustavo Ruiz Moya, CEO
As the demand for equal measures of convenience and security in e-commerce gains steam, the importance of offering the right mix of alternative payment options by online retailers amplifies manifold. The reason behind this is clear: alternative payment methods such as bank transfers and cash enable retailers to cast a wider net in an attempt to appeal to more shoppers while ramping up conversion rates and customer satisfaction. Not just that; when the inefficiencies associated with traditional payment methods are factored in along with consumers’ lack of trust in credit card transactions, the reignited interest in financing alternatives does not come as a surprise. Besides, while several e-commerce players are unable to serve overseas customers due to local restrictions and transfer limits, the international fees associated with cross-border transactions, ranging anywhere from 0.06 percent to 4.4 percent, poses as a significant challenge to the global retail industry. The situation is particularly critical in countries such as Chile and parts of Latin America, where the e-commerce market is large, but credit lines are strikingly low, and in many instances, credit cards are disabled for international use by the issuing banks.
Confronted with a similar ordeal was Despegar—a leading online travel agency in Latin America. Owing to their presence in multiple countries, setting up bank accounts and connecting with financial institutions in distinct regions proved to be a major hassle for the company. (To open a bank account in a country such as Brazil is a tedious process that could require up to two years.) Also, the company aimed to provide a payment solution for non-card holder travellers in Chile to achieve incremental sales. In an attempt to accomplish the same, Despegar partnered with a global payment solution provider that renders a non-card-based network payment technology designed specifically for today’s globally interconnected world. Following the collaboration, Despegar witnessed an immediate 10 percent spike in their sales driven by the solution vendor. Impressed with the results, Despegar also deployed the intuitive solution to enable real-time confirmation for cash payments and bank transfers for Brazil while implementing it for the complete range of products they provide—be it air tickets, hotel bookings, or holiday packages. The catalyst behind Despegar’s success is SafetyPay—a Florida-based company providing a secure e-payment method that enables cash sales through a variety of sales channels, such as e-commerce or call centres, for consumers who wish to pay directly through their bank account or in cash. “SafetyPay was born as a payment platform to enable alternative payment methods, encompassing bank transfer and cash collection with real-time notification, while focusing on cross-border transactions through a global network of banks,” begins Gustavo Ruiz Moya, the CEO of SafetyPay.
E-commerce Transactions: Not a Hassle Anymore
Founded in 2006 with a vision to create a secure alternative payments platform, SafetyPay streamlines e-commerce transactions on behalf of both consumers and merchants. Ruiz goes on to mention that on being appointed as the CEO of SafetyPay in 2014, he designed and implemented a business strategy that increased his company’s scale and penetration in Latin America while expanding its product suite with additional cash solutions. In addition, he helped SafetyPay establish new partnerships with banks, retail chains, PSPs and gateways, targeted high-growth industry verticals with exposure to cross-border e-commerce and large-size tickets and developed robust B2B and B2C payment solutions.
SafetyPay was born as a payment platform to enable alternative payment methods, encompass bank transfer and cash collection with real-time notification, with a focus on cross-border transactions through a global network of banks
Today, SafetyPay is an alternative payments platform that facilitates global e-commerce transactions across Latin America, Europe and aims to restart operations in USA in 2020. SafetyPay’s state-of-the-art with military grade security operates 1.2 million transactions per month, completing 45,000-47,000 transactions on peak days, with a response time of 300 milliseconds. “We, at SafetyPay, realised that credit cards were not built for e-commerce. In fact, even non-credit cardholders have numerous reasons to avoid online transactions,” Ruiz continues. As such, for shoppers, SafetyPay democratises e-commerce and makes it a feasible reality for non-card holders or consumers concerned with internet fraud, allowing them to shop from merchants worldwide and place orders in local currency and pay for them with cash or bank transfer in 17 markets. This eliminates the risk of online fraud while protecting consumer bank information and bringing the benefit of zero chargebacks or financial fees for FX to merchants. On the other hand, SafetyPay empowers merchants with incremental sales by processing payments of underbanked and international consumers from multiple markets and reduces the number of chargebacks and cross-border fees. Besides, SafetyPay eases the burden on merchants by simplifying the otherwise cumbersome processes involved in cross-border transactions while also enabling them to access a larger segment of consumers.
On the technology front, SafetyPay is using MSFT approved frameworks and some Google technologies to power its platform on any device such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops. The company is currently optimising its system architecture to reduce time to integration for new merchants and has developed mobile responsive apps. “We have improved our datacentre, a military-grade security centre located in the US,” says Ruiz. SafetyPay operates on a hybrid infrastructure with cloud for redundancy and closeness to clients in different parts of the world.
A Dense Network with Security at the Core
In an attempt to connect with an array of banks as the merchant-of-record to enable direct connections, SafetyPay has built a network of accounts with every bank. “Over the past 11 years, we have created an extensive network of bank partnerships, which is hard to replicate,” Ruiz proudly mentions. The company’s partnership model was built with a sharp focus on the needs of merchants, specifically the travel players that handle a large number of transactions and have larger tickets. Airline and online travel represent about 25 percent of the e-commerce volume. “We equip such merchants and consumers with the ability to make bank transfers or send cash by making deposits to SafetyPay accounts with funds. Once the money is transferred, merchants are notified to collect the funds,” explains Ruiz. Consequently, SafetyPay helps consumers and merchants to navigate the challenges associated with international transfers, such as local restrictions or transfer limits, which often lead to declined transactions.
In addition, SafetyPay ensures maximum security when it comes to bank transfers, facilitating seamless, fraud-free transactions as no customer information is ever shared online. SafetyPay employs the use of physical, mobile, and SMS tokens to secure customer payment information. In terms of cash transactions, customers place a purchase with merchant, who in turn gives the customer the option to go and pay at a bank or retail stores within SafetyPay payment network, and only once payment is received from the customer, SafetyPay notifies the merchant, who can then collect the money and finalize the transaction.
SafetyPay boasts of the largest payment network in Latin America with over 380 banks and more than 180,000 collection points in 17 countries. These collection points comprise bank offices, convenience stores, lottery stores, supermarket and pharmacy outlets, and ATMs, among others. “By allowing consumers to pay for their online purchases via bank transfers or cash, we are bringing them the opportunity to participate in the digital economy while opening the door for e-commerce merchants to tap into a larger consumer base by accepting these forms of payment,” adds Ruiz.
In today’s dynamic business landscape, SafetyPay intends to lead the market by anchoring its growth to technology. Ruiz emphasises, “Our technology provides immediate, real-time payment confirmation for retail partners, and our connections with gateways enable ‘one-step’ access to PSPs for multiple merchants globally. In a single integration, our platform connects a merchant with a large network of banks as well as collection points for bank transfers or cash payments in multiple currencies around the world.” Add to that, SafetyPay’s solutions offer the advantage of sales recovery to merchants. The platform allows consumers to complete online transactions in the event of failed transactions, wherein a credit card payment is declined or declared invalid, by presenting them with other payment options or directing them to another bank.
Steeped in Innovation
To add to its steady growth spurt, SafetyPay is all set to broaden the spectrum of its offerings, including solutions for payout, lending, and remittances. The company will also expand more clients within the travel retail, B2B sectors as well as add new insurance verticals. As technology and innovation evolve, SafetyPay is focused on ensuring that its platform continues to offer an alternative payment solution that is secure, efficient, transparent, and reliable, with no fraud or chargebacks. For utmost security of transactions involving European merchants and consumers, SafetyPay is compliant with the Revised Payment Service Directive (PSD2). “We are currently considering reinforcing our antifraud system and also adding security layers with Google Auth 2.0. We follow stringent anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) procedures, and have improved SSL protocols implementing best practices and standards from the financial services industry,” notes Ruiz.
"Over the past 11 years, we have created an extensive network of bank partnerships, which is hard to replicate and our biggest asset"
Currently launching operations in Guatemala, the company also has plans to roll out some of its new products, such as Payouts, in Brazil in early 2020. Building on its solid foundation, SafetyPay has its sights set on further developing and expanding its network while growing profitable. “We have successfully gained traction in multiple markets and to further widen our reach, we intend to assess other regions like Southeast Asia and the Middle East that have proven to be avid markets for alternative payments solutions,” adds Ruiz.