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Paykey on helping banks ‘get in’ with social media payments

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Mobile payment apps have played a major part in the fintech revolution so far, but the sudden turn towards social media payments threw banks off guard. As a result, the integration of banking with social media, shopping and other services has been limited. PayKey CMO Guy Talmi speaks with Fiona McFarlane on how his company has managed to make the jump from mobile app to social media app a quick possibility for incumbents.


“PayKey is there whenever you look at your phone, and people look at their phones between 100 and 500 times a day”


Start at the beginning. What is PayKey?

In a nutshell, PayKey enables its users to access key banking services from any app. Whether you’re in Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram or on the Amazon app, you’ll be able to make a payment request, check your balance, split a bill, find the nearest ATM and more without needing to leave the app you’re in.

Pretty neat, and from what I’ve seen online you actually place the bank’s access directly into these popular apps. How did you even come up with the idea?

People say that the world has lost its trust in the banks ever since 2008, but I didn’t view trust as the issue. What I saw was that digital access to money was increasing but the conversations about money weren’t (and still aren’t) happening on these banking applications. They’re happening on the cooler social apps, where people’s lives are happening. My intuition told me that there was commercial sense in enabling banks to offer their financial services from within any of these app.

Sounds like the perfect advertisement spot.

Yes, but there is a ticking time bomb on the scene as well. Social apps and tech firms know they have engagement with their customers in a way that banks haven’t, and they’re now trying to become the new banks. You see it in the news everyday now:Facebook got their e-money banking licence in Ireland in 2017, WhatsApp is now beta-testing payments in India, and Google already have their banking licence for Europe, thanks to Lithuania. Then there is also Facebook’s recent announcement on launching Libra, which can even create a greater shakeup in the personal finance ecosystem.

My favourite example of a social app’s ability to shoot straight past a bank is Kakao Talk, the most popular chat app in South Korea today. They decided to launch their Kakao Bank two years ago, and needed only five days to reach one million customers. Now, 33% of the population has a Kakao Bank account.

Impressive. Do you mind me asking about the technology behind PayKey?

(opens up his phone) PayKey is bringing the banking experience to the most viewed app on your mobile device– which isn’t any one of them, really, it’s the smartphone keyboard. We place the bank’s logo directly onto the keyboard as a button. In any app, the user can press a button on their keyboard and the bank-related options just pop down, ready to use.

It also works the other way around, too, when banks want to send a message to their customers, such as letting them know when they are low on credit or when a bank card is due to be delivered. We allow banks to place a red button right on their logo, so the customer knows immediately when something needs their attention.

Our studies show that the response rate goes up immediately, because it’s harder to ignore something flashing directly on your keyboard. PayKey is there whenever you look at your phone, and people look at their phones between 100 and 500 times a day.

Which bank customers can currently access PayKey?

PayKey is working with various banks, not just in Europe but around the world. The experience has been amazing. We’re working with HSBC in the UK, with ING in Poland and Standard Chartered in Hong Kong – to name but a few. We now cover 13 countries in total.

Every new bank that joins the family is an exciting starting point for us, and almost every month we have a new client that’s going live with our solution. We walk them through their digital transformation, really helping them increasing engagement with their customers and seeing the results and feedback.