最有看点的互联网金融门户

最有看点的互联网金融门户
国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务

西联欲利用中小企业支付平台EDGE进军Fintech市场

西联汇款期待利用其庞大资源吸引金融科技创企

西联汇款这家老牌金融服务公司欲利用其旗下EDGE平台,将目标瞄准增势迅猛的金融科技领域初创企业。EDGE旨在帮助中小企业开展海外业务。

西联商业解决方案是西联汇款旗下全球B2B支付公司。该公司总裁Kerry Agiasotis在伦敦金融科技周中强调了中小企业开展国际业务时面临的挑战,也谈及EDGE支付平台将如何帮助这些企业客服此类困难。

Agiasotis说道:"小企业一般不具备驾驭新市场的资源。我们已经投资构建软件工具解决这些难点,比如提供现金管理能力,企业可在某地上传应付账款或应收账款,且在其业务中实时接收。"

西联汇款EDGE平台

西联汇款期望其旗下EDGE支付平台可帮助简化开展海外业务中所面临的操作复杂性与难题。

EDGE这一网络支付平台为移动设备进行了优化,使企业可看到记录各类能力的仪表盘。这类能力不断拓展,包括现金管理工具、可上传发票的外币现金管理工具、及使用外币收款付款明细。

EDGE平台同样也具备商业智能功能,企业可追踪现金动态,深入了解交易过程。

EDGE的定价以"眼见为实"为基础,对中小企业应颇具吸引力。

主要挑战在于如何说服企业转变工作管理,使用另一种支付系统。

Agiasotis说到:"我们必须让企业改变一种习惯,这才是最大的困难。大多数企业根本想不到进行转变,他们认为这是开展海外业务中难以避免的障碍。"

另一项挑战在于转变其现行支付系统,即银行支付。

转变支付系统可大幅节省时间。Agiasotis声称:"我们做了一些很棒的调查,这些 调查表明,平均而言企业每周需花费一天的事件来处理海外业务相关开销,如付款、对账收款、管理外汇风险、会计等。"

Agiasotis并未透露支持EDGE的技术细节。我们所知道的是该平台是在第三方开发公司的帮助下自主构建的,尤其涉及是西联汇款内合作、内容管理、工作流程管理等非核心竞争力能容。

"我们对许多内容都加以保密,只想研发出来供企业使用,假以时日可能会透露更多内容,但当下我们将其视作一项竞争优势。"

EDGE支付平台在公共云上运行,但Agiasotis不愿透露该云的具体信息。

金融科技对手

西联汇款及其现今在外汇及资金转移市场伙伴通济隆都在应对金融科技创企带来的威胁,即金融科技企业可以远远快于传统大型公司的速度创造更为人性化的产品。

Paresh Davdra是RationalFX的联合创始人兼首席执行官。RationalFX是家知名金融科技创企,推出了自己的便宜资金转移应用Xendpay供个人与企业使用。

Davdra认为金融科技创企的敏捷性是其与老牌公司竞争中的一项优势。

Davdra对Computerworld UK 说道:"我认为那些公司(Western Union与通济隆)规模非常大。他们几乎像银行一样,因此也和银行一样被同样的问题所扰。"

"他们并不灵活,并能快速做出决定,无法快速对某事进行试验,因为其将某事落到实处之前要经历一道又一道的关卡。"

然而西联汇款的EDGE平台及通济隆面向消费者的Supercard等产品及其即将上线的资金转移应用表明此类公司开始将金融科技初创企业纳入业务考虑范围。该类公司可利用其在资源上的优势弥补速度上的不足。

凭借EDGE平台,西联汇款开始利用其51中货币编就的庞大区域支付网络,这就意味着企业在该平台上的交易可在数分钟之内完成。

Agiasotis表示:"本地金融设施可使我公司连入当地清算系统进行货币转移,该种方式鲜少有公司可以企及。"

"这种工作我们已经在零售领域开展了一段时间,如今我公司将其推广至企业。"

Western Union looks to blow the fintech startups out of the water by leveraging its massive resources

Western Union is the latest established financial services firm to take aim at startups in the fast-growing financial technology (fintech) market with the expansion of its EDGE platform, which aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do business abroad.

Speaking at London Fintech Week, Kerry Agiasotis, president at Western Union Business Solutions, the global business-to-business payments arm of the financial services firm, highlighted the challenges SMEs face when taking their business international, and how it EDGE payments platform can help solve them.

"Small businesses generally are without the resources to navigate new markets," said Agiasotis.

"We have invested in building out software tools to address those pinch points, from providing cash management capabilities, somewhere a business can upload payables or receivables in one place and get a real-time view of the impact of that on their business."

Western Union EDGE

Western Union hopes that its EDGE platform can help simplify the operational complexity and issues that comes with doing business abroad.

The web-based platform is optimised for mobile devices, and allows businesses to see a dashboard with a growing series of capabilities. This includes tools for cash management, a foreign currency cash management tool that allows invoices to be uploaded, as well as details on payable and receivables in foreign currency.

The platform also has business intelligence features, so businesses can track cash and gain insight into how they are trading.

EDGE is priced on a ‘pay what you use’ basis, which should prove attractive to smaller businesses.

The main challenge will be in convincing companies to change their working practices to another system.

"You have to get a business to change a habit and that is the biggest impediment. Most businesses don't even think of this, they see it as a necessary impediment to doing business overseas," Agiasotis said.

Another impediment is shifting the payment from their incumbent system, which tends to be a bank.

This could lead to significant time savings. Agiasotis claims: "We have some great research which shows that, on average, businesses can spend up to a day a week on all of the overheads associated with doing overseas business, so whether it is payments, reconciling receivables, managing foreign currency exposures, accounting."

Agiasotis didn't provide details of the technology behind EDGE. What we do know is that it was built in-house with the help of third party development firms, especially around non-core competencies within Western Union like collaboration, content management and workflow management.

"We are keeping a lid on a lot of the components, we just want to get it out there and get businesses using it and over time we may divulge more, but at the moment we are using it as a bit of a competitive advantage."

The platform runs on the public cloud, but Agiasotis won't say which.

Fintech rivals

Western Union and its fellow incumbent in the foreign exchange and money transfer market Travelex are both responding to the threat of fintech startups, which have been building user-friendly products far faster than the larger, legacy companies could.

Paresh Davdra is the CEO and co-founder of RationalFX, an established fintech startup with its own cheaper money transfer app for personal and business use called Xendpay.

He argues that the agility of fintech startups offers an advantage over more established firms.

"My opinion is that those companies [Western Union and Travelex] are very large. They are almost like banks, so they suffer from the same sort of problems,” he told Computerworld UK.

“They aren't agile, they can't make the quicker decisions, they can't try things out quickly because they have to pass through many hoops before getting anything off the ground."

However, Western Union’s EDGE platform and Travelex’s consumer-facing products such as Supercard and a soon-to-be-announced money transfer app, show that they are starting to take on the fintech startups at their own game. What they lack in speed they make up for in resources.

With EDGE, Western Union is starting to leverage its massive regional payment network in 51 currencies, meaning businesses on the platform can transact in minutes.

"A local financial infrastructure allows us to connect into local clearing systems and move money in ways few businesses can,” said Agiasotis.

“This is something we have been doing in the retail space for some time and now we're opening it up for businesses."


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