London-based Currency Cloud plans to expand its payment offerings to the U.S. to serve businesses that are having a hard time adding automated cross-border transactions to their workflows.
"International payments [are] a lot more complicated than domestic payments," said Mike Laven, CEO of Currency Cloud. "The regulatory burden is much higher, so there is a much higher data management need. It's hard to build that data management and reporting into the [payments platform]."
Currency Cloud has just staffed its U.S. marketing operations, which operate out of New York. Its core business is providing hosting technology that enables parties to execute payments between different countries.
In the U.S., Currency Cloud sees the most opportunity in automating business payments and helping manage international transactions and supply chains, more so than Currency Cloud's other business services, which include administrative and control features to automate pricing, beneficiary management, payments execution, receipt settlement and reporting.
"There's a massive set of payment companies in the U.S. that are part of what you can call the 'API revolution' that do automated payments that arise when payments are executed, but there are not a lot that can integrate international business payments into their existing workflows," Laven said, referring to the application programming interfaces that enable businesses to build payment interfaces into their own software. "There has not been the same degree of innovation in cross-border business payments," Laven said.
Currency Cloud's U.S. prospects include companies seeking to automate payables, receivables, treasury management and payroll.
"If you're looking at any firm in the U.S. that's doing that right now, they're using a bank," Laven said, adding manual payments and processing for check-based payments across borders can take more than a week to reconcile. While there is technology available to automate international business transfers, it does not directly integrate with a company's workflow to combine payments with tracking, inventory and treasury management, Laven said.
Currency Cloud's existing international business provides the technology and partner access to help U.S. companies manage cross-border payment tasks, Laven said. The company collects bank details, personal details and notification preferences as part of its data, and also automates validation and compliance checks, Laven said.
Currency Cloud's European clients include Payoneer and a number of wealth management and financial institutions. Currency Cloud's fees are based on usage.
The company's technology should find a market in the U.S., particularly among smaller businesses that don't have many international payments, said Bernard Golden, a cloud computing consultant.
"For these companies, which would never do it themselves, there's a real opportunity to make these payments easier," Golden said, adding it may lead to some companies pursuing international opportunities they may have avoided otherwise. "International payments are an incredible pain."