By Anusha Ashwin
It is so common these days for any international organization to include global expansion in its five-year plan. So, if global expansion does take place for the company, how does the company manage the dispersion of funds and payments at offices in different parts of the world?
Well there is a solution! There are several startup companies across the globe handling cross-border payments. In India, we have a company called Payoneer that enables professionals and business owners to receive cross-border payments in multiple ways.
Placing India on the map of the borderless digital monetary trasactions, US-headquartered Payoneer does its bit to achieve mass payout services. With Payoneer’s solutions, businesses and professionals, pay and also get paid globally in a manner similar to local transactions.
Founded in 2005 and based in New York, Payoneer is venture-backed, profitable and ranked in the top 100 of Inc. 5000’s Financial Services companies. Payoneer now has three offices in the US (New York, Palo Alto, and North Carolina), along with locations in the UK (London), Japan (Tokyo), China (Shanghai, Shenzhen), Philippines (Manila), India (Bangalore), South Korea (Seoul) and Hong Kong.
In an interaction with Payoneer India’s Country Manager, Rohit Kulkarni, Voice&Data explores the company’s services and operations.
Payoneer US sets shop in India
Payoneer was originally founded in 2005 in New York, with initial seed funding from Yuval Tal and other private investors. Today, it is led by CEO Scott Galit, and has offices spanning Silicon Valley to Tokyo, with a global workforce over 800 strong. The company is profitable, and most recently announced a $180 Million Series E investment round, led by TCV.
Payoneer started Indian operations in mid-2015, and opened its office in August 2016 to support and grow the services for Indian customers. Giving an explanation to Payoneer’s foray in India, Kulkarni says, “India has shown strong growth in both the export of goods and services in the recent past. The country has a large, tech-savvy population and a budding market of entrepreneurs. Today, we have over a million merchants selling goods like handicraft, leather products, jewellery, apparel and home products. India is also one of the biggest ICT service exporters. In fact, 30% of India’s export is software and services. With more than 15 million freelancers; it is estimated that India brings in about 40% of global freelancing business. Our products and offerings are customized to help each of these segments get paid from their global clients in a convenient and cost effective way.”
Enabling easy cross-border payments
Payoneer offers freelancers, professionals and business-owners in India a service to receive payments from US, EU, UK, Japan and Chinese companies. Payoneer’s Global Payment Service allows one to receive funds from international companies directly to Payoneer, as if one had a US, EU, UK, Japanese or Chinese bank account. The funds are then transferred automatically from Payoneer to the user’s local Indian bank account in INR on a daily basis so that the user receives funds quickly and at a low cost.
Kulkarni offers more explanation on Payoneer’s services and products. “With Payoneer, businesses and professionals have the ability to bill customers and track and manage payments through our platform. The businesses can make payments to Indian merchants and freelancers in USD, EUR, and GBP by credit card, e-cheques, or through local collection accounts. These payments are then automatically transferred to local bank accounts in Indian Rupees. Thanks to our expertise in cross-border B2B payments, Payoneer is able to meet consumer needs at lower costs, with fewer delays, and with more transparency and security.”
All this simply means that Payoneer is an online financial account,which comes with its own debit card administered by MasterCard. The card can be used to make payments using one’s Payoneer balance, and also withdraw money from an ATM, also from the same Payoneer balance.
Demonetization peps up business
“Demonetization paved the way for mass-scale digitization – enabling small and medium scale businesses to drop traditional ways of accepting and sending payments and make a quick shift, mostly in Q4 of 2016, to new-age fintech platforms,” admits Kulkarni.
According to Kulkarni, the demonetization policies are just one part of the gradual evolution of the Indian payments ecosystem, which has been supported by the onset of consolidation amongst existing market participants and the entry of many payment solution providers. While other sectors were being disrupted, the Indian payment ecosystem had largely been left untouched.
“India has a big story to tell through its milestones. An average Indian today is more informed and is realizing the benefits of technology. This is leading to fast-changing consumer behaviour and increased entrepreneurial activity, which is in turn instigating a lot of disruption and innovation across various sectors. There has been increased awareness about various payment methods such as digital payments, mobile payments, etc. as well as hassle free and secure a payment solution which has resulted in a dynamic payment landscape,” observes Kulkarni.
Expansion plans develop
Payoneer’s long-term competitor is PayPal and to beat competition the company is constantly investing in products and services to add more value to its customers. The company’s most recent funding round gave an opportunity to further invest in its research and development. New product launches and expansions new will follow.
Speaking with reference to Payoneer’s India plans, Kulkarni indicated, “Our focus will be to tailor our services to every kind of user in India. We see the world becoming a place where resourcefulness, talent and hard work matter more than the location, and Payoneer is there to empower rural or urban Indian professionals and global businesses to grow with a flexible, simple and cost-effective payments platform, regardless of where they live.