The ever-growing landscape of the payments industry is always offering new and fresh alternatives for consumers and merchants to process their transactions.

Swedish second-generation fintech Brite Payments Group is seeking to make payments faster and more accessible through the use of open banking APIs, looking to cut out the middleman in favour of a more efficient and satisfactory experience for customers and merchants. 

Payment Expert spoke with Brite CEO and Founder Lena Hackelöer about the new offerings Brite is delivering in the fintech space. 

Payment Expert: What is Brite doing differently when it comes to the ever-growing fintech landscape?

Lena Hackelöer: One of the benefits of the category that we are in is that we transfer funds directly from consumer to merchant. So the number of parties involved in that transaction is fewer, which means that the service is quite lean. It’s all API-based which means that it is scalable to implement for a wide range of verticals

We’re looking to streamline the way merchants make payments for the benefit of the consumer, whilst at the same time being able to offer a very smooth and easy consumer process. One of the things we are pioneering now is the ‘one-click’ payment for the instant bank payment space. We basically allow you to sign off on a transaction and authenticate it all in one go. Previously there would always be two steps, so we’ve basically off the back of open banking, condensed that process into one step. 

Which I find as a big step forward because it does increase the consumer convenience and ultimately contributes to higher sales, higher conversion in payments overall and something very specific to us within our category

PE: How are Brite making online payments more accessible and affordable?

LH: From a consumer point of view, there is no charge. You can only use funds you have available in your account with Brite. We are not in the business of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ or consumer credit. All you need to do to make a payment with us is just a bank account, if you’re a first time customer it’s not difficult for you to use the service. 

From a merchant point of view because there are fewer counter-parties in the transaction, I think we can be quite competitive, compared to card payments who are of course still prevalent if you look at merchants who are catering to a very large number of geographies where card payments are a common denominator globally for online payments. There I think we can help merchants with their overall cost of payment, which hopefully will make this more accessible. 

PE: Instant bank payments appears to be a focus for Brite, can you tell us why instant bank payments are crucial for businesses to adopt? 

LH: When we talk about instant payments, we’re talking about a few seconds for payments which has benefits both for the consumer and the merchant. From a consumer point of view, making a fast payment is always nice, receiving a fast payment is especially nice… It’s not a common standard today. 

We work with merchants across all different verticals who are actually sending funds to consumers, which is not always at the top of our minds when it comes to payments. Receiving a payment is not always the first thing you think of when you think of payments. But there is a growing number of verticals and merchants who are in need of such service, quite often outside of the common e-commerce retail. Therefore, not having to worry about that is quite a step forward.

From a merchant point of view we’re taking away a lot of the fraud and credit risk of a transaction. We literally receive the transaction in seconds so there is much lower risk that the customer is not going to able to make the payment because the funds are already in our system, also making the fraud risk decrease, which is an obvious KPI for most merchants that are looking to grow their online businesses and not being able to worry about that is quite the step forward. 

PE: One of the major societal changes from the pandemic has been the huge shift to online payments. How has Brite managed those behavioural shifts and helped integrate a safe and secure digital payment system for merchants and customers?

LH: We are seeing more and more commerce shifts online. Especially during 2020 when many countries in Europe had to go into lockdown where many payments which were not conducted online, had to be conducted online, so that has definitely helped. 

We ourselves as a company were almost born in the pandemic. We started in 2019, launched in 2020 so right after we took the service to the market, COVID hit. So to an extent we almost didn’t know anything else, but I like  to think that the overall growth of online payments overall has definitely had an impact on our business and the merchants as well. 

PE: What have you learned from your time at Klarna being there so early in the companies development and applied it to now at Brite?

LH: I started at Klarna in 2010, not at the beginning of their story but still relatively early compared to where they are now. I ended up spending seven years there and at that time, one of the things when I look back now is that there really was no best practice in payments. It was the beginning of the rise of alternative payments and a lot of the growth in the category as we know it today was still in its early days back then. 

If I look at today’s payment landscape in 2022, we’ve seen the rise of several payment companies, we’ve seen their strategies when it comes to their offering from a shift to consumers and their experience being several monetization models when it comes to payments. That is all something that I have in the back of my mind at Brite. 

There is also a component connected to how you actually scale a business, when you’re a fast growing challenger in the space. We at the time were a challenger to Klarna, arguably mostly challenging PayPal perhaps back in the day, today Klarna is on a more broader mission to challenge the banks. That’s not what we do at Brite but we can still identify that we are an up and coming payment company competing with larger companies which is something I consider on a daily basis when it comes to our business. 

PE: What does Brite aim to achieve this year and years to come?

LH: Right now we are expanding our offering across Europe in more markets, especially for our larger customers in the enterprise segment who have a broader European coverage who don’t cater to their markets just yet. We’re also looking to scale our business to provide a service to a growing number of merchants and consumers in different markets with different languages, that’s very much our mission.

At the same time we are also looking into launching new verticals, where we are slightly adapting our services to the needs of specific use cases. At the moment we are currently looking at the recurring payments space and the pain that comes with card insurance with recurring payments and how open banking has unique possibilities to solve that.