How Plick embraces Open Banking and grows in the meantime

One of the fintech players who has best interpreted the philosophy of open banking with concreteness and initiative is PayDo. We asked their CEO Donato Vadruccio to tell us about the steps taken so far with Plick, his vision and plans for the future.

Open Banking in Italy. How is it developing from your point of view and what could still be done?

Open Banking is an unstoppable process because it is useful to all actors giving them the ability to offer the best services to users allowing the acceleration of innovation. The model, initially born in Europe on the basis of needs and intuitions, has seen a recent acceleration thanks to the European directive PSD2. Although Open Banking in Italy is now a reality, at present its concrete implementation seems to be lower than in other European countries.
We can say that the great challenge of digital transformation, necessary for our country’s system, passes through both Open Banking and API with the support of the fintech ecosystem which is in turn able to be a partner in the realization of this great opportunity of acceleration for the banking system, from credit to payments just to name a few examples.
Open Banking is synonymous with collaboration. In my opinion, we need to build a lot in the co-creation of useful services for companies and end-users.This can be achieved with more joint input from the different actors, banks, fintechs, companies, etc. In addition, some of the ongoing PSD2 interventions will simplify access and use of services.
In short, Open Banking can make a decisive contribution to the process of digitisation of financial services, but, above all,it can bring great added value to households and businesses.

How did Plick seize the Open Banking opportunity?

Open Banking represents the natural path for those who, like us, are fintech operators and provide high value-added services to Banks, Payment Institutions and Electronic Money Institutions throughout Europe and can seize the opportunity provided by Open Innovation.
We have built a flexible infrastructure, which operates exclusively through APIs. We immediately seized the opportunity to publish our APIs on the main Open Banking platforms in order to shape open initiatives. On the one hand, this model facilitates the technical activation of Banks, Payment Institutions and also companies that use these platforms and, at the same time, enables the creation of high value-added services based on customisation, including process customisation.
I would like to remind you that PayDo with Plick has all the requirements to be a concrete partner, whose objective is to support and be an enabler, and not a competitor. We enable simplified payments, which are very useful for companies and individuals, with the possibility of affecting the processes related to the payment itself.

Which collaborations have you undertaken with both banks and platforms and with what results?

At the moment there are several banks and IMELs, in Italy and abroad, with whom we collaborate and to whom we provide our platform with different services, both for their retail and corporate clients. As far as Open Banking platforms are concerned, our APIs are present on Fabrick, Nexi Open and Cedacri, which are synonymous with guarantee and competence, and represent a further sign of trust for us. As mentioned earlier, the concrete result of these collaborations is mainly the advantage of simple integration and, in particular, the possibility of jointly building customised solutions, based on the specific needs of banks, IMELs or companies. These solutions often solve the need for optimisation of processes and underlying information, and not only of the payment in the strict sense of the word, which is obviously simplified thanks to Plick, which sends it via WhatsApp, SMS or email even without knowing the IBAN, throughout Europe and even in bulk.
This collaboration has enabled Open Banking platforms to implement solutions for businesses: for example, it guarantees mass mailings, such as in the case of refunds to customers by utilities or consumer credit companies or claims payments for insurance companies.

What are your next projects?

We are working on further consolidating our business in Italy, thanks to the partners who continue to choose us. We will continue to develop new services, such as the very recent “Digital Letter of Credit”, which was initially created to meet the specific needs of a biomedical company. We will soon be announcing new partnerships to support payment solutions and in some cases specific supply chains that will further demonstrate the open nature of our project.

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Open Banking for fintechs: what are the benefits?

Open banking is one of the most pronounced words in the fintech sector. In 2020 we should see concrete results after the entry into force of PSD2 on 14 September 2019 and the many promises made for of following months. Marco Scaccia, Business Developer at Fabrick, held a mentorship session on this, to the startups of our community, to explain what open banking can mean for a fintech with examples and case histories.

Why is open banking considered “revolutionary”?

Because it offers an opportunity to all European Financial Institutions at a very special time for traditional banking players. Industry players know that, for example, margins from transactional services are increasingly shrinking. This can put many banks, that have relied on these revenue lines for decades, into difficulty. These “commoditization” dynamics are also occurring on other fronts. Open banking allows banks to “open up”. Indeed, thanks to PSD2, it obliges them to do so. This offers many opportunities for creating new value-added services and shifting investments to the construction of new use cases.

What concrete opportunities do you offer fintech operating in Italy?

From my point of view, fintechs should not necessarily be perceived as a competitor of banks. On the contrary, they are very often the essential partners of Financial Institutions that want to take advantage of the opportunities provided by PSD2 and open banking in general. In this context, Fabrick puts itself forward as a reference platform connecting the ideas and technological skills of fintech with the needs and investment capacity of incumbents. This is the first concrete opportunity for Fintech and, at Fabrick, we are seeing these synergies more and more frequently.

The second opportunity is definitely PSD2. The two major innovations it introduces are AISP and PISP.

  • AISP (Account Information Service Provider) are third party providers (TPP) accredited by the regulator of the reference country (Bank of Italy in the Italian case) that can perform multi-account information operations, potentially within all European payment accounts. AISPs can also analyze the data obtained to gain insights and develop value-added functionalities to propose to their customers.
  • PISPs (payment initiation service provider) are TPP that, on the other hand, initialize payments within accounts. PISPs must also have a specific license in order to operate. It is clear that both AISPs and PISPs have the possibility to rethink traditional banking services and to create new ones.

Two tips you would give to fintech to make the most of things

The first piece of advice is to think about your business strategy with, amongst other things, a view to a partnership with banks and trying to understand how the technical skills developed can be complementary with traditional banking services. For open banking to be truly successful, the relationship between fintech and incumbent will be fundamental.

The second one, with reference to the opportunities dictated by PSD2, is to choose a partner that is able to simplify the activities necessary to operate as AISP and PISP. An example could be by adopting a model that simplifies the regulatory and compliance requirements of fintech. This would allow them to focus on their core business. The PSD2 solutions provided by Fabrick are able to provide fintech and banks with the technology infrastructure and simplify compliance aspects.

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BitAndCoffee, the natural evolution of Fatture in 1 click

BitAndCoffee is the natural evolution of Fatture in 1 click. In a world that is constantly changing, it can also happen that a member of our community changes the business strategy and even its name. We asked Marco Galli and Marco Frigerio, the founders, to explain why they did this and what to expect from their new look.

What does BitandCoffee do? is the natural evolution of Fatture in 1 click from which it inherits all the features that have made us appreciated by our users and goes further enhancing them. We have made numerous technical improvements and also modified the cloud platform to take advantage of the full potential of Microsoft’s Azure. New specific functions are also being released to facilitate collaboration with the accountant and liaison with the revenue agency. The activation of the electronic invoice has in fact allowed the tax side to implement new services that transform the “Cassetto Fiscale” into a real hub that can be interfaced as if it were a web service with API technology.

Who are you addressing today?

Our customers, both in terms of technology and as an almost philosophical approach to the first developments, are the micro-enterprise, the craftsmen and all the professionals. The idea of nurturing the technological culture by instilling a “digital germ” which is to germinate with care in customers has certainly been very appreciated and the chat to which we respond, by following step by step our users, is certainly one of the services that differentiate us.
Now the user base is much larger and continues to grow (we have over 6,000 users). It includes many types of customers, even small industrial companies and various commercial activities ranging from the simple shop to the restaurant, from the doctor (we also have a solution for all requirements related to the project “health card”) to the small clinic, from the professional startupper to the associated firm of lawyers.

How has your business model changed and why?

It has been not a real change in itself but a natural evolution. We are growing with our customers and following their needs. Our “advanced billing” has become a management tool and we already have a roadmap to which to add those features that will soon turn it into a real ERP (Enterprise resource planning). We are also working more closely with “our” accountants to be able to offer an entire catalogue of tax services of high quality but at a competitive price.

Has the new PSD2 regulation generated new business opportunities for you? If so, which ones?

Banking has always been an important part of our vision and we are looking carefully at when PSD2 will become effective. Thanks in part to our modular approach and our openness to the subject of PSD2 (we have always had APIs on display for our partners), we are already testing some realities in order to be able to offer our customers all the functions that the new frontier of open banking will offer right away.

Why is it important for you to be part of the Fintech District community and what do you expect?

Through corporate philosophy and a technological choice open to everyone in order to offer the best composition of solutions for our customers. What better environment to access all these collaborative potentials than the Fintech District community? We owe so much to everyone because it is thanks to so many collaborations that BitAndCoffee is the best blend of features available on the market able to offer the best coffee to our users.

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Cerved and business opportunities in fintech

The collaboration with Fintech District immediately proved to be an important and indispensable opportunity, according to Valerio Momoni, Director of Marketing, Product and Business Development, who explained the concrete benefits associated with it at the event to launch the second year of membership

“First of all, we have come closer to the world of finance and innovation, which has always been a fundamental asset for us. And then we have had the opportunity to work, not only with fintechs, which we had expected to do but also with all the other players who gravitate around Fintech District. With Fabrick, for example, with whom we have a partnership. It was something we hadn’t thought of at the time, but it is definitely a concrete result of the first year of collaboration with Fintech District”.

Momoni highlights amongst others two of the most important moments of this year working together, namely: the recent edition of Cerved Next and the meeting with the startups who participated in the Data-Driven Competition.

Cerved Next is an event that brings together all the players that operate around the data-driven economy. Fintech District has collaborated in bringing many startups and companies from the fintech world to the event, showing tangible advantages of the collaboration.

“Confirmation of the importance of the project, the Data-Driven Competition, carried out with the Fintech District, came when the startups who had participated returned from Cerved to establish business relationships – explains Momoni – the competition, in fact, opened up to us a world of operators who could push innovation a lot in the coming years”.

In this second year of membership, which has just begun, Cerved expects concrete opportunities for business development. “We are also very curious to see how the world of Fintech will move from September onwards when PSD2 will become a reality – adds Momoni – It could be very facilitated and find a further boost of development”.

Looking at the Italian fintech sector and what could help it grow, Momoni believes that more trust is needed, both from institutions and from market operators, such as Cerved, which give it a further boost.

“The world of fintech is evolving rapidly but the truth is that from a dimensional point of view it is still a very marginal phenomenon in the world of financing,” he explains. A novelty that could help the sector is the just approved sandbox. “I expect the system to give more confidence to the fintech sector – he concludes – This also means giving a regulation that allows to space and consolidates something that in other countries already has a rather significant dimension”.

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