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Mike Benchimol

COO, Checkout.com

Strategic enablement of payments in the business ecosystem is a critical step in ensuring organisations thrive and prosper.

The fintech scene in the UK and Europe is thriving, underpinned by significant investment, growing customer demand for innovative new experiences and a better understanding from governments and regulators about how fintech innovation can deliver substantial benefits to businesses, consumers and communities.

At the heart of the fintech ecosystem are payments, an industry worth upwards of USD 2 trillion, according to McKinsey. Despite this, it’s a space that until very recently has been untouched by innovation. However, with the globalised digital economy now demanding businesses collect and move money efficiently and at speed, payments have stepped out of the shadows and taken their rightful place in the spotlight.

The new generation of payment providers

For decades, online commerce was powered by layers of legacy systems that made collecting payments expensive, unreliable and complex, according to senior fintech figure Mike Benchimol. But with the increasingly interconnected nature of the global economy and a need for swift and efficient payments across jurisdictions, several fintech companies have emerged to fill the void.

Benchimol is COO of Checkout.com, a leading global payments solutions provider whose technology is built to meet the needs of fast-moving businesses. The company enables businesses to accept and make payments seamlessly at scale around the world.

The company does this by providing its gateway, processing and acquiring services through a single API integration. This not only makes integration seamless and allows businesses to make changes fast, but it also provides them with full visibility into their payments data.

As a result, companies can better understand their customers’ needs and see payment trends in real-time. While Checkout.com’s on the ground teams in 19 offices around the world partner with merchants to optimise their performance — a careful balancing act of minimising failed payments, reducing costs and mitigating the impact of fraud.

A number of UK and European fintechs now have a seat at the global table.

Developing the financial infrastructure

The UK Government is helping fintechs scale internationally and enabling better access to global talent. In Europe, fintech innovation is viewed as integral to the future of the EU economy.

“The investment in the UK and European fintech ecosystem might be a fraction of what we’ve seen in the US. But a number of UK and European fintechs now have a seat at the global table,” adds Benchimol, who expects fintechs will continue to expand in the financial services value chain, with many joining names like Klarna and Wise as global household brands.

There is also a growing trend for companies that previously had little to do with fintech or financial services, but now see elements of fintech as a new revenue driver for their business.

“Take the gig economy and companies like Grab and Deliveroo,” he continues. “Their business is powered by payments, collecting funds and disbursing them to the many players. They want to control the experience but do not want to build the infrastructure. That is where we come in. We build the payments infrastructure that enables them to innovate and design new business models.”

Payments that power innovation

Payments aren’t just a way to collect money from customers. Payments are at the heart of economic activity and a catalyst for innovation and growth for those businesses leading the way in the globalised digital economy.

“The problem is, for many businesses, payments remain a space layered with complexity. So the more we can do to remove that complexity, the more we can empower businesses to reach new customers and unlock new revenue streams,” says Benchimol.

In a space as dynamic and fast evolving as payments, there is untapped opportunity everywhere. The role of payments providers like Checkout.com is not only to provide a technology solution, says Benchimol, it’s also to partner with businesses and build the future together. “Our business is payments. But our focus is on enabling businesses to thrive,” he concludes.

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