For about a decade, Fintech companies have experienced a value-creating period marked by numerous initiatives and the launch of new players. SlimPay was indeed among the pioneers. Today, we find ourselves at a point of market consolidation, where companies are coming together to meet their growth ambitions and expand into more geographical areas. To meet the needs of large merchants, strength is essential. This is the primary objective behind the recent announcement of our merger with Trustly in late August. Trustly, one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies and a prominent international player in direct payments, boasting a workforce of 900 and a revenue of $230 million. For SlimPay, this is a game-changing event that will enable us to establish a faster presence in the European Direct Debit market, positioning us at the forefront of payment service providers. Here’s an insightful interview with Jérôme Traisnel, the founder of SlimPay.
Jérôme, before we delve into the heart of the matter, could you please explain the shared market vision between SlimPay and Trustly and what led to this merger?
The common vision that we have always shared, both at SlimPay and Trustly, is that Account-to-account payment is the most natural means of payment.
Almost everyone in Europe possesses a bank account. Banks originated from payment methods like transfers and direct debits, essentially, account-to-account payment methods.
It is only natural that we have in our respective DNAs the idea that using one’s account is the simplest way to pay.
Of course, the market did not stop there. Over the years, we’ve seen the advent of credit cards with Visa and Mastercard, alternative payment methods like PayPal, and Buy Now Pay Later options provided by companies like Klarna.
All these payment methods have one thing in common: they involve intermediaries and create more complex offerings.
Let me explain. With credit cards, consumers have the option to make purchases on credit or with deferred payments, or even worse, to opt for Buy Now Pay Later, which can lead to debt issues.
The final consumer pays with money they don’t have, and the cost of credit only keeps rising, especially at present.
In the end, these complex and intermediary-based payment methods may seem attractive to consumers, but they create a financial burden that merchants bear, and these extra costs are ultimately passed on to consumers.
We, in partnership with Trustly, believe that Account-to-account payment is the safest and most cost-effective payment method for consumers because it is non-intermediated. Consumers inherently trust their banks, pay with their bank accounts, and this involves no intermediaries.
Open Banking and Account-to-Account
It’s clear that both Trustly and SlimPay have been relentlessly working on direct payments. Is this shared commitment what unites you?
Yes, it’s true that we share the same commitment!
At SlimPay, we come from the perspective of pull payments, initiated by the payee, and we entered this market precisely because traditional cards were inefficient for recurring payments. Right from the start, it was evident to us that Account-to-account payments were the way to go for recurring payments.
On the other hand, Trustly arrived via push payments for high-value and risky transactions, such as purchasing airline tickets, online gaming expenses, or payouts in the insurance sector. In these situations, traditional cards are ineffective due to their limits.
So, through different paths, we both arrived at the same conclusion: for these types of payments, Account-to-account is the most obvious choice.
Together, we are convinced that A2A payments will play a significant role in online payments, especially as the payment process becomes increasingly streamlined.
In fact, I believe that the more seamless and high-quality the payment process becomes, the less consumers will rely on their credit cards.
Just look at the market: Account-to-account payments are gaining ground in the UK and the Netherlands, surpassing traditional credit card payments in online transactions.
However, the market is uneven. Northern Europe is more advanced in adopting Account-to-account, instant payments, and open banking.
Sweden is particularly mature in this regard, while France is still catching up. But one of the key drivers behind the collaboration between Trustly and SlimPay is to expand into Southern Europe soon and work in that direction!
Furthermore, there’s another reason behind this shared vision and our joint strategy: it’s Europe. There’s a matter of European payment sovereignty at play here. We must protect ourselves from the decisions that major American players like Visa and Mastercard can make directly or indirectly. It’s urgent that Europe develops an independent payment system, and this is why the European Commission has chosen Account-to-account payments.
That’s why they are pushing for open banking and instant payments because we only need European banks and European players.
In short, everything seems to be aligning in our favor!
The shared vision is quite clear. Could you detail how you envision the future with Trustly?
On both sides, at Trustly and SlimPay, we recognize that our customers’ needs revolve around having the most efficient payment system with minimal errors and fraud, at the most affordable cost, all while providing the best possible consumer experience for maximum conversion rates.
It’s a tall order, but it’s precisely our expertise.
At SlimPay, we aim to address this need precisely. Let me provide an example. Just over a year ago, we launched SlimCollect, a solution designed to make recurring direct debits more efficient, reduce fraud, and enhance the customer journey.
We proactively embraced the potential of open banking for recurring payments, signifying that we had a sound market strategy. The next step is to make this service more accessible compared to other payment methods.
The feedback we’ve received from our clients has been very encouraging. We know we’re heading in the right direction in terms of adoption. However, the critical point remains the customer journey!
It needs to be as streamlined as possible, with the fewest possible steps. My ambition with SlimPay is to provide the best possible customer journey to revolutionize recurring payments.
Today, we’ve found in Trustly the key technologies to deliver the product we want and provide a new payment experience.
Future Customer Experience
We’d love to hear more! What will this revolutionary customer experience look like? Can you give us a glimpse?
In the journey we envision, the end consumer will experience a payment process that’s truly exceptional, with as few steps as possible while maintaining the highest security standards.
Ideally, the consumer won’t have to enter any information or data; they’ll only need to authenticate themselves for recognition and validation. All of this with very few screens and optimal security.
This is precisely what we work on every day.
And for our clients?
One last question, Jérôme. The announcement of the partnership with Trustly was made on August 29th. What will this concretely change for SlimPay’s clients in the coming weeks?
Certainly, there’s the future vision of our product with all that we plan to launch to revolutionize the customer experience in the world of recurring payments. I’ve discussed it extensively, so I won’t dwell on it!
In the short term, there are many benefits for our existing clients. They will have access to value propositions that we didn’t have before.
For example, we will be able to offer specific payment methods for certain countries, including BACS for the UK and Autogiro for Sweden.
For our international clients or those with international expansion plans, we will be able to support their growth in terms of recurring payment methods.
Another advantage is that we
will soon be able to handle cross-currency fund transfers (FOREX). Overall, we will be able to support our clients’ international growth, regardless of the European country.
Finally, there’s the complementarity of our offerings with Trustly: our clients who collect payments with us could complement their services with Trustly’s products.
But all of this will develop in the coming months! We have many new stories to write with our existing clients in this new era.