Is Faster Payroll A Real Differentiator For Employers?
Is the ability to pay employees and vendors same day globally a game changer for SMB financials or just hype? PayQuicker President, Charles Rosenblatt, sits down with PayPod host Jacob Hollabaugh to discuss how real-time business payments can have a massive impact on a company’s financials.
Payments & FinTech Insights in this Episode
- Customizing how you receive your payouts
- The gig economy and how PayQuicker serves in their favor
- The solutions PayQuicker offers
- How PayQuicker has the largest “Payments” network
- Connecting you to major companies with just one API and a single application
- The major companies PayQuicker partners with
- What you need to do business with PayQuicker
Jacob: Welcome to PayPod. The Payments Industry Podcast. Each week, we’ll bring you in-depth conversations with leaders who are shaping the payments and fintech world from payment processing to risk management and from new technology to entirely new payment types. If you want to know what’s happening in the world of fintech and payments, you’re in the right place. Hello, everyone. Welcome to PayPod. I’m your host, Jacob Hollabaugh. And today on the show, we are talking about getting paid faster even when payers and payees are in completely different parts of the world. And as someone whose business runs on an irregular payment schedule and often sends and receives funds across borders, the idea of getting my money faster is obviously enticing to me. So I’m excited to talk about what’s happening now and possibly in the future of this part of the payments world. Joining me to explore these topics is Charles Rosenblatt, a seasoned C-level executive with loads of experience and success within the payments world whose current role is as president of PayQuicker the platform powering intelligent global payouts. Charles, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.
Charles: Jacob. Thanks for having me. Exciting topic.
Jacob: Yes, absolutely. I mean, getting paid faster. Who doesn’t want to talk about that or learn about how that could be a part of their lives in the future or those working for with them their lives? We’ll of course, get into some specifics of PayQuicker, your company and your offerings in a few minutes, but I want to start things off a bit more high level first, talking about global payments in general, obviously there are exponentially more payments happening across borders today than even a half decade ago, a decade ago, let alone many decades, centuries ago. It’s all sped up very, very quickly here this century. What industries and business types have led that expansion in the need for global payments historically, and which industries or business types do you see as the ones who will kind of drive that continued expansion in need for global payments in the coming years?
Charles: I think in general, as you think about what happened during COVID even more recently and you know about the expansion of global e-commerce, all of a sudden people are selling you things from all around the world, whether it be on Amazon or eBay or Etsy or any of those platforms. If you look at those online marketplaces, people are selling things all around the world, and that’s growing the need to actually pay people all around the world. And then if you look at gig economy, the gig economy as a whole, why would Uber come out and create a company that only worked in the United States? Doesn’t make sense. So let’s take that model and move it around globally. Well, all of a sudden now you have a corporate burden to pay all of those people globally. So you have sellers in the marketplaces, you have people like Uber, who is the new gig economy. And then, you know, part of what PayQuicker does is we work in the direct selling space a lot, which is the old gig economy, right? The oldest gig economy was the Amway seller or the Avon seller, Right. And those folks sell all around the globe. They’ve been around forever. They’ve been all around the globe. And so you’re seeing an expansion in that gig economy marketplace setting that’s leading to a much larger global need to buy things other than Quantas buying a one plane a year from Boeing. Right. Which is what international commerce was 25 years ago, certainly.
Jacob: And yeah, as the as our world becomes much more digital, it kind of just removes that the literal physical barrier that used to be there, that physical barrier between countries across borders is now it’s just purely digital. It’s very easy to get goods services anywhere in the world. So those payments are going to have to follow.
Charles: And intellectual services like what you do, right? The creator economy is another huge sector that is starting, right? People want to get paid for doing podcasts or having followers on Instagram and things, and that is absolutely a global business today, not just people who happen to be in your township.
Jacob: Yeah. So from the the actual product and service side makes total sense. But historically speaking, from the actual payment side itself, what have been the friction points or pain points that have made global payments such a difficult part or a nuanced part of the payments world?
Charles: So one big thing is there’s a huge error rate. So there are banks who have huge buildings in somewhere in, you know, New York Bank who has a building in Somerville, New Jersey, with a thousand people just checking errors and reconciling wires that get sent globally. Right. There’s a 1.5% error rate in global transfers. What I used to say, ironically, was when people ask me, what’s the fastest way to get $10,000 from the US to London, my answer was hop on a plane with a suitcase of cash. Yeah, right. Because that’s the only way you can make sure it gets there. So that problem is inherently being solved by global payout providers more so. And so they’re taking the infrastructure that’s always been there and just leveraging it in a better way. Visa, MasterCard are doing that pretty heavily with their networks across the globe and people are basically making a global business local. And I think that’s the the secret or the key behind it is I’m not sending and my competitors aren’t sending one payment at a time via wire across the world we’re sending a batch of. Money across the world. It gets there. And then we use local channels to pay out in all of those locations. And I think that’s a major change that’s occurred in the last 5 or 10 years is basically disrupting that intermediary payment network.
Jacob: Makes sense. And has this been a kind of slow and steady process or were there any inflection points that you could point to as a new technological development? A new company that did something that was like the floodgates open, those barriers, those friction points became a lot more mute overnight.
Charles: Group of companies, I think, you know, Western Union was a big piece of this through all the times that they did in the consumer space, allowing payments to be around the world, having bank accounts, companies like Fleetcor and Corp and even Payoneer. My former employer, was very aggressive in building a bank network around the globe. And I think that’s happened in the last ten years or so. Before it was, you ran everything through either Jp Morgan Chase, Barclays or Citibank for the most part, and people have looked for expansion. I’ll say another point, which is not all people want to get paid the same. So some people want to get paid to an e-wallet. In Pakistan, banks only pay to one thing, banks pay to banks. And so now all of a sudden, not only does the network have to get broader, the network has to become more diverse as a whole. And that’s where there are a lot of great companies doing that. And we candidly partner with a lot of them because we believe that the network is and will be a commodity, but it’s still growing and different people have different expertises.
Jacob: Certainly, and it’s always going to be led by that. What all businesses are, what is the customer actually need? Like you said, there are very different needs from or different wants from someone in one part of the world doing one type of business versus someone you know on the other side of the world.
Charles: Yeah. And I mean, Jacob, I’ll say this and I don’t know whether we’ll get to this or talk about this later, but we firmly believe and I firmly believe in what I call beneficiary directed payments. People should be able to choose how, when and where they want their money. They worked hard for their money. They earned it in different ways. And it shouldn’t be. Well, the only way you can get it is a check that gets sent through two weeks worth of mail, and then you have to drive an hour to your bank or whatever it happens to be. In order to do it, people should get, if they want the money in their wallet, they should get in their wallet. If they want to go take an ATM transaction to get cash, they should be able to do it. And I think that’s the principle that allows PayQuicker as well as others, right, to basically get people provide the most variety. It’s all about choice when push comes to shove, this business is a business of choice. That wasn’t the way it was 15 years ago. 15 years ago, there was one way we were all getting paid and it was at the end of the month they sent us a check and a statement. You had to rip off the bottom of the check and walk it in. There wasn’t even direct. Well, maybe there was 15 years ago with direct deposit, but maybe not 30 years ago. Right. So we believe in choice and people should be able to choose how, when and where they want their money. I think that’s a key premise to global payouts as a whole.
Jacob: I’m right there with you on that. And let’s talk first, we’re going to dive into kind of each stage of that. But the first one is the when, and we’ll pivot to real time payments for a minute here. Again, kind of broad first and then we’ll get into PayQuicker and its offerings and which as we’ll get to offering a real time payment and instant payment with that global scale is a big part of the pay quicker offering. But can you make the case for a listener who thinks to themselves, maybe a small business owner, what’s the big benefit of doing something different than what you’ve just laid out? The way we’ve always done it, the you know, you’ll get paid every two weeks. Here it is. What’s the big benefit for offering real time payments that maybe they thinking we’ve been paying people every two weeks for ever I’ve never heard someone complain that I work with complain about it that they need their paycheck weekly daily instantly make that argument to the owner who maybe hasn’t confronted this in the past.
Charles: You’ll laugh. I’m not going to make that argument in a way, although because if you’re a W-2 employee who works for a company and is paid every two weeks and that’s your main source of income and you’re expecting to get it, there’s stuff like earned wage advantage and companies like that gig wage, who I know you’ve spoken to in the past that allow you to sort of variables that and get money faster. But when I think about the general group that wants to get paid faster, it’s I make $300 a week at my main job or $1,000 a week, and now I’m selling Avon products or I’m driving an Uber. So many people have two, three, four different jobs today, right? And they can’t work on that same schedule where they get paid every two weeks or every three weeks or every month on that. And people want that instant satisfaction. And so the bottom line is once someone starts paying daily, everyone needs to start paying daily. Once one person starts paying hourly or after every ride in Uber For example, or after every sale that some of our clients do. Everyone’s going to need to get there because people actually have urgent needs, right? So I use an example, you know, I’ll use an extreme example, which is not a necessary thing, but maybe my budget doesn’t allow me to go to a bar or a bar with my friends on Thursday night.
Charles: So what do I want to do? I want to do two hours worth of work Thursday morning so I can fund having a few beers on Thursday night. Well, if I’m waiting two weeks, I’m not as incented to do that work on Thursday morning because it’s not going to solve my immediate problem. And so I think everyone has their main bills they pay and things like that and most of that. I hope most people aren’t needing urgent real time payments in order to do that. Getting your salary over two weeks works, right? But sometimes you have an emergency hospital thing or a kid needs something or you want to go grab a drink and those things you want to be able to do work and get paid somewhat instantly. And I think that is becoming a bigger and bigger part of society. Gig working as a whole is becoming bigger, bigger, 60 somewhat percent, I think of people do some sort of gig job and those people don’t want to wait. And so as I said, I’m not going to make an argument that Joe’s Laundromat should all of a sudden pay its employees, hourly employees every day. It would be nice, but it’s not necessary. But if you’re getting into this gig workforce of supplemental income, the speed of that payment becomes absolutely critical.
Jacob: Certainly. And as you said, the once one does it, everyone’s going to have to, because as a member of the gig economy, I know myself that the moment I hear this platform’s been amazing to me, it’s what I run a lot of my business through, or new client acquisition through. But if I hear this platform over here is now offering, I can get money instantly or lower fees, anything like that, I’m going to be inclined to switch. Many others will be inclined to switch and that will be hopefully that competition, like it does across business and industry at large, will drive the speed of these changes to go faster and faster and faster. You mentioned obviously the gig economy. It used to be originally when we first knew that term, it was kind of like we’re just talking about Uber and Lyft drivers, and that was really kind of like the thing we were talking about Nowadays, like you said, 60 plus percent depending which report you’re reading, depending what they’re counting. As a gig economy worker, it’s growing and growing and growing within that. What spaces do you see as the biggest drivers behind maybe the need or the desire to have these real time payments.
Charles: The space where PayQuicker Is the market leader is the direct selling industry. That is an industry that does hundreds and hundreds of billions in sales overall as an industry. And the premise of that industry is you’re paying out 25, 30, 35, 40% of the sales back to the field, back to the distributor, back to the person doing it. That’s one where, again, the way you’re going to compete in that space is you’re going to be more modern in the way that you can pay people. The more flexible you are in the way you can pay people overall. So that’s one industry that I see a lot. The other industry is the pure gig economy of Uber and Lyft and things along those lines where just in time payment is critical. I mean, to be honest, there are Uber drivers who may not have the money in their bank account to fill up their tank of gas unless they’re being paid instantly for the rides they just did to fill their tank of gas. And I was going to hit this on the other. I’ll skip for a second. Back to what you asked a minute ago. Marketplace payments are hugely important. If I’m selling stuff on Amazon, the quicker I get paid, the quicker I can get throughput, The quicker I can buy more supply, the more I can sell.
Charles: So if you tell ten units a day, but you only have a capacity to buy 20 units, if you’re not paid every two days, you’re going to wind up with five days. You don’t sell anything because you don’t have money to repay for it. So velocity of money allows for a velocity of business as a whole. The last one I’d say, is just thought leadership. This is where if people need, you know, whether it’s an ALPHASIGHTS or a GLG or someone like that, that’s now most of them are dealing with people who don’t necessarily need the money urgently. But again, there’s a competitive advantage to say, hey, your thought leadership, you can get paid quickly for for all of that. The other area we do a lot of this in is clinical trials. People do a clinical trial. They want to get paid quickly out of their clinical trial. They don’t want to wait three weeks to get their check for having done whatever they do. And we’ve actually, you know, I’ll say this through virtual cards and instant payments. It’s not the old school model of have some blank card that’s handed to you or get a check in the mail. And I think faster payments will help evolve that industry as well.
Jacob: Yeah, there’s kind of a common theme amongst those of irregular payments as well. Pretty much anywhere where the work is possibly irregular. The time of everything is happening at different times. It feels like that’s kind of the common theme to know is this an industry? Is this a job type that might be more on the forefront of needing that or wanting that? And I’m glad you lay out the example of it’s the scale that quote you said was so perfect of the. The velocity of the money could mean that you can’t scale your business in the way that you’ve done everything else right. You’re in the situation to be able to do so. But like you said, if you can only purchase X amount of inventory and it takes you three weeks from your sale, you could sell out of that really quick, which is an amazing feeling. And then you have to sit there and do nothing for X amount of time. And so I really loved that bit of your answer. Now we’ve talked around it in different ways here for a few minutes, so I will now give you the chance as President of PayQuicker that we set up top. Can you give kind of a brief overview of the company and the products or services that you offer?
Charles: Yeah, sure. Thank you for that opportunity. So PayQuicker is, as our logo would say, powering intelligent global payouts. And I think the intelligent piece is actually a critical piece. So we’ve created an infrastructure essentially with the ability to either have a portal, a white label solution or a fully API based solution where you actually can pay out all of your 1099 marketplace gig workers, etcetera, and have them basically have their own bank account where it goes into in the case of some of the industries, we open up a business bank account, we give them a debit card that goes attached to it. They always have the option to move it to their current bank account or things along those lines. And then what we’ve done is we’ve built the largest global network overall as a company to allow for that choice, that beneficiary directed payments overall. So we have great partners like Convera, and Corpay and Naeem and Barclays and others. And when I joke about with my friends at all of them, and I’ll use Corpay as an example, Corpay has an amazing network, but Corpay plus this drink, this iced tea I have is still smaller than Corpay plus the iced tea is bigger than Corpay, right? And so what we’ve done is by aggregating all these amazing partners, we’ve built the most robust network.
Charles: But one single API and one single application gets you all of them. And so from a corporate perspective, basically you can do work with all of these major vendors, all of the top providers around the world with one connection. The simplest way think about it is Expedia for payouts, right? So on Expedia, you get every hotel you can select on the side. What’s your criteria? Do you care about speed? You care about funding currency? Do you care about having a card just like you care about a five star hotel? Do you care about Hilton Hotels? Do you care about how close to the city it is? Right. We have different criteria than that and payouts, but essentially we allow you to choose what you want, the criteria you want, and we match you based on every route. Two partners that make the most sense for you are usually the cheapest or definitely or the fastest, depending on what you want.
Jacob: Love it and always great to be able to have that succinct, easy to understand. Expedia for payouts makes perfect sense and gets me to full understanding. Is it just the API itself that you are touching? I mean, you’re, you know, touching every step of the payments process with this offering? Is it strictly all through your API and then integrating through partnerships all other parts, or are you doing any of the other parts of that payment channel internally like you mentioned, the bank accounts and different things. Are you doing that internally or is that purely all through partnerships and it’s just the API to connect all of that? Is the core singular offering?
Charles: No, it’s a little bit more than that. But so we are the technical abstraction layer in the middle and sorry to use. That’s about as much tech language as I’m going to use on this call. But you know, in general, we’re sort of that it’s.
Jacob: Welcome around these parts. So you can go as tech heavy or not as you like. It’s definitely …
Charles: Excellent. So yeah I mean I think I exhausted it when I used the word API. That’s, that’s about as far as I can go. But essentially we are that abstraction layer in the middle. However, for a lot of our clients, we actually white label things. So we create the UI UX for them. We have a 21 language call center based out of Rochester, New York that we handle and we instruct all the payments. So we are what we used to be called a payment instruction service provider. So we provide the instructions. We also provide the portals and things along those lines to track everything. Et cetera. What we don’t do is we don’t touch the money. The money is always yours. It’s always held in your accounts. If you think about it, the service we provide in a lot of cases is like an ADP or a paychecks for the 1099 marketplace world as a whole. But we don’t touch the money. It’s always your money or it’s always the payee’s money. We leverage our partners to open up those bank accounts. We are a program manager. From a card perspective, I’m sure you’ve you’ve heard the term card program manager. So we are a card program manager and opening those accounts, but we’re doing it our partner banks and our partner processors. So yes, it is an amalgamation of a bunch of partners with a technology. You’re in the middle that allows you to navigate them in a simple fashion and through, as you said, one API and one application.
Jacob: Yeah. So those partnerships then are obviously the key really to your business. You’ve built the wonderful technology but requires all of those partners coming in to give that mass option to everyone. And I saw announced back in March, you know, there was another big partnership announced with Qolo, I believe is how you pronounce it. What was the purpose behind that or the goal behind that specific partnership? And are there other areas that you’re looking for new strategic partners to continue to build out and grow the business?
Charles: Absolutely. So Qolo is a great partner of ours. They actually are what I would probably imagine to be the most modern new processor out there. So you hear the words Marqeta or I2C or Galileo a lot. They are in that same category and they as I said, we are a card program manager for P7 and we open bank accounts within the US. They are going to be doing that for us in partner with our banks that we have in the United States, passwords being one of them. Overall, the beautiful part and the reason I came to PayQuicker was actually sort of what’s a trendy word and say we have a microservices technology. But the fact is I’ve been at other places that want to add banks and it takes 3 to 4 banks a year. They can load 3 to 4 months per person. We’re adding end nodes and then partners. We can add 4 to 5 a quarter. So in addition to Qolo, I’ve added a stablecoin partner to be able to do Stablecoin. I’ve had a partner who brings us pix in Brazil, which is the most basically my understanding about Brazil now is either you paying cash or pix. They don’t even want credit cards as a whole. We’re adding multiple new payout partners that service, one of them services 40 plus e-wallets around the world that we can pay into like an Alipay and things along those lines.
Charles: So we are extending our network and the beautiful thing about our network, the way we’re running it, is as if it’s a marketplace. So that’s the other example I use for Expedia. So everyone’s joining and everyone has to put their best prices out there. So they’re giving us wholesale pricing to put the best prices out there so they can compete for your business for the cost. So if I’m talking to Meta Facebook as an example and they’re not a client of ours, just to be very clear. But if I’m talking to them, all of a sudden I’m actually bringing 15 providers who are all fighting for their business, by the way, with a single integration. And each one of those markets, if they’re paying into nine markets, may use nine different partners. If Facebook wanted to do that themselves, they’d have to do nine separate API connections. They’d have nine relationships to manage, etcetera. Instead, they’re doing it in one place and we are adding partners. As I said, we can do about 4 to 5 a quarter, which is pretty good based on my experience. And I wouldn’t be shocked if we add between 12 and 15 partners over the course of 12 months. Now, overall.
Jacob: That’s incredible speed and definitely a big, big advantage in that kind of leads me to everything you’re alluding to there. I’ve seen you in the past say that payouts as a service technology like your payouts OS has the ability to democratize payouts on a global scale. Is that competition you’re talking about what you’re kind of alluding to when you say something like democratize payouts? Can you explain a little bit what you mean by that in the positive effect this can have on small businesses, gig workers, etcetera?
Charles: So I steal this phrase, with all due respect, from my days at Capital One with Rich Fairbank, when we said “we democratize credit across the globe”, right? So before Capital One exists, everyone had a 22% credit card. Didn’t matter whether you had good credit or bad credit or you just got declined. And what we’re able to do for the gig workers and for other folks is really be able to open doors to them that they wouldn’t otherwise be open. So I’ll use sort of undocumented or workers in the United States. We can still open accounts for undocumented workers. So if you need an account and you need to get something we’ve democratized the access to to cash for them and we can do that in all these different markets across the globe. The other piece payouts OS does is democratizing price. I have a hypothesis and a belief which is a core premise. That FX is something that is going to go away over time. FX is something that is not going to ten years from now. We’re not going to be talking about FX rates of 3% that banks are charging you and things along those lines. And so by getting wholesale rates from all of our partners and realistically from a pricing perspective, passing on those wholesale rates and not marking them up significantly, we essentially are democratizing, to use that phrase FX and payouts around the globe so that it’s not unfair.
Charles: I’ll bring up one other point that comes in and has to do with our partnership with MasterCard. We feel very strongly about the underserved population being able to serve the unbanked and underserved folks around the globe. And I think by reducing price and having fair pricing, fair FX and open access, all of a sudden we’re doing that. Now, I will caveat the way our business works. You can’t just apply for a pay quicker account. You can’t just come in and say, I’m someone around the world, I want to pay quicker account. We only allow people on the platform when the company is is funding it. So our client has to invite you onto the platform as a whole. And so we can do that for companies. And our goal is hopefully we’ll get every company in the globe to come work for us and do global payouts and then the whole world will have it. But if you are just a seller on Etsy from Zimbabwe, if Etsy is not our client, what we’re offering doesn’t service you.
Jacob: Makes sense. And a couple specific questions about the product or the platform here. Then the first one with the payouts themselves, which can be instant or some are or at least have the option to be are you actually able or have partners that are able to move that money across currencies, across borders at that instantaneous speed? Or are you or a partner acting as kind of that short term loan agent in the instance of providing the funds immediately and then settling those transactions and repaying themselves over time?
Charles: So we are a good funds model only so we get paid in advance for all of that. We essentially hold money at our partners, which is again, not our money. We’re holding money of our clients money and our clients name all around the world at partners who serve all around the world. So it’s possible that someone who’s working with Corpay I’ll use them example they have $1 million in us sitting at Corpay and they need to pay out in Mexican peso. Part of the beauty of our network, whether it’s a Corpay or Convera or a Naeem or a Thunes or a Barclays, they have money sitting around the globe. That’s the hidden secret of cross border payouts, right? The hidden secret about cross-border payouts is every payout is actually local. Everyone has money sitting all over the place. And so when they need to refill the tranches, they go and make one big transfer. But in general, they’re using money that’s sitting there already and everything is done on the ledger. So from our perspective, we’re good funds, money. We do not lend money out. And in partnership with our partners, they have money sitting all around the globe in order to fund those transactions on our behalf that we instruct.
Jacob: Makes total sense. The second part of that then, you mentioned before, you know, the. Variety of ways that someone could choose to receive that payout through your platform and but that they are going through a bank account, or at least I saw on the website going to a bank account issued by PayQuicker or one of your partners in that case. Has there been any pushback on the funds needing to go first to a new account versus maybe being able to be sent to an established account that payee already has? Or is that also an option that it can be immediately transferred over?
Charles: It’s an option. We have an option called we call Auto Ach, which basically means that you could kind of set it and forget it the way I certainly do it. Like don’t go to paychecks, choose our payroll provider, don’t go to the website every week and make sure the money goes to the right accounts. I set it and forget it. I said, Here’s my account number three, four, five, six, seven. And when payroll comes, they just send me my payroll. We allow that as a service to some of our clients so some of our clients opt into the service where the moment they get paid, it’s automatically sent to those bank accounts through their Bank of America. Et cetera. Bank accounts. But that, as you know, doesn’t work for everyone. There’s an unbanked population. There’s populations, especially in gig economy. And I use this analogy a husband and wife share a bank account. They have $10,000 sitting in their bank account. They go and they earn $238 driving for Uber or selling something that husband or wife, if they have to automatically send it to their bank account, it becomes 10,238 that’s sitting there. And then when they go spend $230 on a new pair of jeans or to go out to the bar or whatever their spouse says to them, What the heck are you doing spending this money out of my account? Right? Whereas if they have the $238 sitting on a card or, you know, sitting on the card there, there’s less stress in doing that.
Charles: And so some people like to separate their payment. The other reason why people don’t want direct to their account is some people like to separate their business expenses. So I’ll use Uber as an example. Again, if you use the Uber card, which we don’t, it’s not our business. But but if someone from Uber is listening, please feel free to give me a call. I’d love to do your business, but if you have the Uber card, you tell them, go buy gas with the card, Go to Jiffy Lube with the card so that you can separate your business expenses from your personal expenses. And that’s a big thing. I’ll make one final point on that account, because I think it’s important. We actually opened up a business bank account for folks. There’s new IRS regulations coming in as 1099 workers where you kind of have to prove that by having business bank accounts, by having PayQuicker, open up a business bank account, even if it only sits there for five minutes before it goes to your Bank of America account. You now have met that IRS requirement around having a business bank account in our ecosystem, and we’re finding our clients are finding that more and more valuable over the course of time.
Jacob: Yeah, makes total sense. And yeah, that was my only, only in my mind thinking about all the options and knowing that, yeah, there’s a plethora of people, as we’ve said a few times across the globe who want very, very different things. But when I saw only thinking selfishly from my point of view of like, well, I would love it to be able to be immediately in my own my own business bank account. But I also love that you point out you are. And for those who don’t have that set up doing, that’s an extra value add that you’re offering then of, hey, you know that you actually do have to have this going. You can’t just go directly to your personal checking. The unfortunately all the governments are deciding we would like to see the trail for all of the gig workers. We’d like to see everything.
Charles: Absolutely. And we just had a client. I was literally on the phone an hour ago who uses Zelle, and they were looking at replacing him like, Yeah, because if you use Zelle, there are a bunch of people who you can’t pay it with. Some of our clients, we have a very large Amish community. I need to issue physical checks they don’t use. The Amish community isn’t using the electronic methods of payment. So again, it all goes back to beneficiary directed payments and having that diversity and choice, you may make the choice that you want it to your family. Bank of America account every day. We don’t begrudge that choice. We are completely agnostic as to what you use as a whole. I don’t really care. I just want you to be able to have the flexibility to use what you want and need to make sure I have a choice for people who don’t have the luxury that you have of having a Bank of America account.
Jacob: Absolutely. Let’s pivot to a couple industry trends real quick. We’ve obviously been talking about real time payments or the speed of payments a lot here, money moving faster and faster. Do you think we’ve hit in 2023 or sometime in recent memory the tipping point of RTP expansion where we can expect more mass adoption in the near future? Or do you think we’re still kind of building up to what I would hope or maybe argue is an inevitable tipping point to speed being a big wave of speed within payments hitting?
Charles: I think the cost factor is. Going to play the biggest piece in that, right? So if doing a regular ACH is still costing me ten times less than doing an RTP. Then I’m going to have to make a decision that it’s that valuable or you do what some people do, which is, you know, we charge $1.50 or 1.5% of the payment to move it like Venmo does that, right? You want it today? It’s 1.5%. I don’t see a situation until RTP becomes ubiquitous from a pricing perspective equal to those other options. I don’t see it being the only way people do business because it’s just there’s some cases there’s not enough people who care that all of a sudden, why are you spending money on something no one cares about?
Jacob: Certainly, yeah. And like we’ve said, you know, the biggest corporations, the W-2 workers that are out there, there are perfectly fine with the current status quo. Yeah, it would make no until that balance changes for the company itself of like if there’s no need for us to do this on the other side to weigh out the massive cost, that cost has to disappear before.
Charles: You get paid the 15th and the 31st. As long as the company doesn’t mind funding the account on the 28th to pay you on the 31st, I know for a fact my paycheck shows up on the 31st. I don’t care whether you use RTP ACH or if you walked it into my bank account. Right? Like I really don’t care. Just care. And I don’t believe that the float is going to be high enough in the extra two days that you’re saving and sending the money to justify the extra costs you’re paying for moving things instantly. Overall in a generic, large, you know, Oracle type company.
Jacob: Certainly another major trend of the last half decade, full decade has been explosion of as a service products, which obviously yours, as we’ve said, is one of those. And the expansion of these niche players within the financial and payments world. Lots of companies focusing on doing one function of the payments chain incredibly well, integrating with others. Do you think that trend continues the kind of niching down in the specificity of all the different players, or do you see some consolidation on the horizon where a bunch of these are coming together and being bought up or grouped up?
Charles: You know, it’s an interesting question. I’m going to tell a story for a second in that I used to consult in the loyalty realm. I ran the rewards programs at Capital One and Washington Mutual and Chase and that such. And there was a provider in the space that was servicing eight of the top ten issuers way back when. Right? And they were kind of second best at everything, but weren’t really best at anything. And they felt they were going to hold that position forever. And all of a sudden people said, I don’t care if I work with 7 or 8 vendors as long as they’re the best at what they do, because I want to give my customers the best service. And within about three years they went from having 8/10 of the market to being out of business. I think while it could sway to consolidation again, at some point it will sway back to non aggregation. Right? And I think one could say, hey, hold on. You created payouts as a service, which is really the aggregation of a bunch of partners. Well, that’s different in some ways because I’m saving folks from having to do nine connections to get the same thing. I have an algorithmic layer in the middle that lets you choose the best thing and you’re getting the best of the best overall.
Jacob: Yeah, you’re actually providing a way for it to remain the niche specific buy. I’m making it easier for you to interact with these ten people versus wanting the company that’s going to buy up all ten and do all ten things. You’re making that interaction easier and that integration easier.
Charles: Exactly. I basically created the mammoth company without you having to deal with the mammoth company.
Jacob: Without replacing all those ten other companies or buying all those other companies you’re working with.
Charles: Yeah, we offer a KYC as a service product because we do a lot of compliance at PayQuicker. Anytime you do global payments, you have to do a lot of compliance, right? I offer a tax 1099 tax. You could call it taxes of service. Candidly, I outsource that to folks who are specialty in the space and just bring them in and provide that as a nice offering. So I offer multiple as a services, so to speak, to my clientele, but I’m really only in business. For one, I do the rest as convenience for my partners and I think you’ll see more and more partnerships between the as a service companies because there are synergies. I think you’re going to see less one company saying let’s own seven different as a services themselves. I have trouble thinking that’s going to succeed in the long run.
Jacob: Yeah, and maybe more so the best of each, like you said, the best one being the one everyone wants to work with that maybe the weaning out of the market a little bit will just simply be who’s the best at each of these as a services and maybe they will eat up a little bit more and more of their own individual market within the broader payment schemes, but not having to be the who’s the big player that’s going to come in and be like, you know what? I’m going to do all the services now. We’re going to buy up all the services.
Charles: And who’s the big player is such a tight question. Again, I was at a company called Payoneer, which is a leader in the space. We run a very different model than they do at PayQuicker. Altogether. But and they they’re going to do $80 billion or something like that this year in volume. You know how much B2B global volume there is? It’s in the multiple trillions, right. The banks still own 95% plus of this market. The banks are still going to own 95% of almost anything having to do with payments as a whole. So there’s so much room for growth and there’s so much room for multiple players in there. I have struggled seeing anyone becoming the absolute global leader. I think you become a global leader in bits and I know investors hate seeing the word well, the TAM is ridiculous. If I got one tenth of 1%, then we would be making this. But there is some reality to that in a way that people can be specialists in the things that they do and still have a really nice business behind it.
Jacob: Yeah, love that. Final topic then to end with here, little career and business advice for anyone listening that might be working in the payments world, leading a team or a company in the payments world. Having yourself been a part of multiple companies in this industry that have seen substantial growth acquisitions, public listings, you name it, lots of success. What stands out to you as characteristics of those companies that drive that success within this payments industry?
Charles: I kind of joke that when I meet the CEOs of different companies or presidents or leadership, the more ego and the more pompous that they are, the less successful I think they actually are. When I’ve been at companies that have been successful, they’ve been run both ethically the way you would want to do it and not a family per se, but really run in a way that shows empathy and compassion to both the employees and the customers. And I think that’s hugely important. If I go around and look at the companies and talk to leadership, if I see people trying to kill things at all costs, I stay away from them from a partnership perspective and I stay away from them from an employment perspective as at all. And so I just would give advice to people is like when you talk to people, understand the culture that you’re walking into, understand the empathy. I say to my folks on my teams at all different companies, everything from a Washington Mutual or Capital One to a to a smaller company like a PayQuicker, you should be having fun coming into the office every single day. Now there are crap things that we all have to do that stink and that’s every job you’ll ever be at, no matter whether you’re the CEO or whether you are the bottom employee. There are things that no one likes to do, but if you’re having fun in general, that’s where you want to be. And if you’re not, then you should be looking for another job. You should be either another company or another job within the company. I think that’s sort of the advice I give people I mentor and talk to in the space.
Jacob: Absolutely love that. Well, Charles, it’s been a real pleasure to speak with you today. For those listening who may want to learn more about you or PayQuicker, follow along with everything you’ve got going on, where would be the best place for them to go to do so?
Charles: They could go to payquicker.io to understand our services. And then of course we have our own PayQuicker on Instagram, Facebook and and all sort of that. I’m too old to have all my own stuff on there, so I’m on LinkedIn, but we’ll figure it all out.
Jacob: Pretty much everyone in this space, you know, mentions that LinkedIn is the only one, but that’s the hot social media these days. That’s where everyone’s at these days.
Charles: So my kids are all over it. Yeah. Forget about TikTok, forget about Discord. It’s all it’s all LinkedIn.
Jacob: All of us that got on LinkedIn decade or plus ago or whatever, it’s finally coming around, you know, it just took a little while, but now we’re where everyone wants to be, so that’s fantastic. We’ll, of course, link to all those and more in the show notes below. Charles, thank you for your time and knowledge you’ve shared with me and the listeners today. Thanks for being here and hope to talk again sometime soon.
Charles: Absolutely. Jacob, thanks so much. Have a good day. Talk to you soon.
PayQuicker is an innovative global financial technology company that provides its clients with a robust payments and treasury platform. Since 2007, we have been revolutionizing payouts, allowing businesses of any size to offer instant global payouts in local currencies via secured bank accounts with prepaid debit cards, virtual cards, and mobile wallets. Our cloud-based and regulatory-compliant software stack enables clients to white-label our products, empowering fast and flexible spending options under their own branded experience. Our mission is to enable clients with superior payment and purchasing power that immediately drives business growth with every login, payout, purchase, or swipe.