Stripe makes it incredibly easy to accept payments on the internet. Now this is a terribly thorny issue: there are vast thickets of payment systems out in the wilds of the internet, but Stripes’ mission is to let any website owner get their payments system up and running in a couple of hours.
It’s been a very talked about concept but Stripe seems to have something that works: they now have millions of dollars going through their system and have a strong reputation in the market for web based services such as Foursquare. But they have always been more ambitious than that, and designed themselves from day one to be attractive to large corporates a strategy that is paying off with customers such as Walmart now adopting them.
Stripe is only available in the US and Canada up to now, but they now are launching a production version in the UK and will be bringing thousands of UK companies on their waiting list into the system. They have an office in the UK and are hiring in London.
The panel is now joined by Sebastian from Klarna and John Lunn, PayPal. PayPal have now moved into a real world chip and pin machine, which has an API integrated into it so that developers can move into real world payments. They’re on a mission to try and open up real world payment, which has been a very protected space. There is some scepticism among the panel that real world transactions are a market that needs developers involved, it seems to be working, whereas the online transaction, with all their passwords and friction, are thoroughly broken, creating loads of opportunities for developers to make it work better.
But there are ways of reducing payment friction in the real world, look at Uber and Hailo, just allowing you to consume the service without any payment step on the spot. Saving you the one month of your life that you are currently doomed to spend in supermarket queues.
But there are more players in this situation than just consumers – how do these companies reach out to merchants? There are big wins for merchants that do it right – up to 50% improvements in conversions and Sebastian spends much of his time trying to showcase that.
John agrees. Merchants are in trouble, particularly real world ones, who are under immense cost pressure from online competitors. Paypal want to help merchants go back to the 1960s, to know who is in their store and help them treat customers like human beings.
Finally, BitCoin. Is there room for a currency that is purely online, with no government backing? Would it affect the payments business? BitCoin is seen as too far off and a harbour for some strange black market transactions – until retailers accept it then it is going to struggle for acceptance.