“We have experienced financial discrimination from local banks that do not accept clients from the iGaming industry, and we don’t think it’s right. So that’s exactly why we decided to go down this route,” says FinXP CEO Jens Podewski. Mr Podewski is switched on. We’re only a couple of minutes into our conversation and it’s already obvious that he is a man with a mission – with a clear motive behind it.
Mr Podewski co-founded and self-funded FinXP in 2014 together with his business partner and CFO, Stefan Haenel, after they spotted a gap in the market. “We both have a lot of experience working with iGaming entities, so we truly understand the needs of this particular industry. We could see that, alongside other high-risk industries like crypto, many companies in iGaming were struggling to find banking and payment service providers.”
“This is very strange to us because, on the one hand, Malta is known to be one of the strongest markets for iGaming business, and on the other hand, it is one of the strongest markets for providing licences in the financial sector. And yet, you rarely see the two industries working together. We wanted to provide a practical solution to a prevalent issue,” he explains.
In its seven years of operation so far, FinXP has gone from strength to strength, servicing business clients across several European countries in a multitude of sectors. The company first focused on providing SEPA Direct Debit services and later developed its Omni-Channel Payment Gateway offering, which covers hundreds of payment methods that are ideal for growing e-commerce businesses.
FinXP has been expanding its reputable payment services ever since, and is focused on growing into a full-service provider that covers every step in the payment cycle through constant product development and innovation.
The company’s popular IBAN4U product is an online payment account that offers the same functionality as an online banking account. Designed specifically for B2B payments and with no intermediary bank involved, it is one of the company’s most requested services.
“Since it is not possible for companies in these so-called ‘high risk’ sectors to open a simple bank account with traditional local banks, we are giving interested parties the opportunity to open a business account with us directly,” the CEO explains. “We take care of the onboarding process online; we have invested heavily in the proper systems to handle all due diligence and we are the final decision maker in whether we onboard a client or not. This makes IBAN4U one of the biggest advantages we offer to the market,” he states.
With seven years of FinTech success under its belt, the team at FinXP readied themselves for the effects of the pandemic to reach Europe. Thankfully their hard work paid off, and the company managed to not only thrive but also grow throughout 2020.
When asked to pinpoint what led to the firm’s current standing in the marketplace, Mr Podewski says he credits three key factors. “One of our main advantages is that we understand the needs of the iGaming industry, so we provide the solutions that make most sense to operators and affiliates. We also have a strong, motivated team that is constantly looking ahead at the upcoming trends in the market – we are nothing without our team members.”
Finally, Mr Podewski believes his team has built a lot of trust with the different stakeholders in the market. He affirms that the company works closely with the Malta Financial Services Authority and has a very strong relationship with Central Banks in Europe and Malta to ensure they are fully compliant. The company also partners with, and serves, several big brands. “We still work closely with the clients we took on in the early days because they know we understand their business. They know that when they come to us, we will listen to them,” he adds.
Indeed, the company’s most recent major partnership was announced last July, when FinXP became a principal member of Mastercard. This milestone was pivotal in enabling the company to develop its latest product, the XP WHITE Debit Mastercard. The card will allow companies to empower their employees and customers, and is set to launch in November 2021.
“This debit card allows us to provide the final piece of the puzzle to complete the whole cycle of payment. It enables users to combine the IBAN4U payment account with a dedicated Mastercard debit card issued by FinXP,” Mr Podewski continues, asserting that the product is of great value to the account itself, as well as to the market as a whole.
As with all FinXP products, the XP WHITE debit card was designed with the iGaming industry in mind, enabling both B2B transactions through employee spending while also providing B2B2C solutions. “This card empowers the iGaming sector to streamline the payout process of winnings. We have developed a dedicated solution which makes life much easier for players in the industry to settle payouts to their clients,” says the CEO.
He also points out that, while there are competitors out there that offer similar products to their debit card, the XP WHITE remains unique in that it forms part of a broader range of products and services that covers the entire payment cycle. “Our competitors only offer pieces of the puzzle – the payment processing service or the debit card. In our case, the card is a valuable component of our wider product portfolio.”
This highly anticipated product launch will round off what has been another great year for FinXP. Just recently, the firm was awarded the ‘Malta’s Best Alternative Banking’ Award at the prestigious Malta iGaming Excellence Awards (MiGEA). Moreover, the company has invested heavily in its technical infrastructure over the past months, and has doubled employee headcount – all while celebrating yet another record-breaking year in terms of revenue.
So, after taking the pandemic in its stride and going on to enjoy a very successful 2021, what can people expect from FinXP in the new year? With a gleam in his eye, Mr Podewski teases at a few new partnerships and products that are in the pipeline, the details of which cannot be shared just yet.
What he can divulge, though, is that the firm will focus on expanding its Open Banking capabilities in 2022, as well as launching its SEPA Instant Credit Transfer offering. There are also plans to have payment accounts available in different currencies, including the British Pound and Danish Krone, among others. “Other than that, our focus is on growing the business even further by letting more people know about our products. We’re looking forward to representing the company at the ICE London conference in February as well as other events throughout the year,” he smiles.
This roadmap for the coming year is testament to the singularity that makes the company stand out in a sea of alternative banking competitors. Rather than aiming for mass consumer appeal and onesize-fits-all solutions, they have chosen to specialise in the B2B payments space and are dedicated to offering their business customers a complete suite of premium, tailored payment solutions.
In Mr Podewski’s own words, “the most important thing for us is to be a part of the journey that makes life easier for our clients in every industry, enabling customers to quickly and easily make and receive payments in whatever form suits them best.”
This interview was first carried in the Winter 2021/2022 edition of iGaming Capital magazine, the sister publication of iGamingCapital.mt
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