Fintech News

UK-Based Fintech Makes International Business Payments Easy For SMEs; Interview with Girts Straujums, CEO of WeavePay

International Business Payments

You might believe that in 2022, everyone can access mobile banking apps, virtual cards, and money transfers. In reality, despite the growth of the fintech and banking industries, affordable and easy payments are still available only to a small percentage of the world’s population. Banks require difficult-to-obtain documentation and make applicants wait without a guarantee of approval, whereas leading fintech platforms only work in certain regions. However, things may soon change for the better as new platforms emerge to address the issues that the giants leave unsolved.

Tell us about yourself and your experience in the banking industry?

My career in finance and banking began in the 1990s, so I’ve been in these fields for over 20 years. Being in the industry for so long allows me to see that it is not evolving as quickly as others. Consider the difference between phones from the late 1990s and those we have today: back then, they could weigh up to 3 kg and had only two functions, whereas today it is a lightweight, full-capacity computer. At the same time, many banks continue to operate almost exactly as before, requiring people to visit offline offices and wait in long lines for hours to open an account and receive a plastic card. This is what drew me to WeavePay. The idea was simple: there is no time to wait for change; we must modernize the industry now.

As a UK-based fintech company, what is your mission at WeavePay and what are your target markets?

As far as I can tell, banks continue to prefer to open accounts for those who are “reliable,” which means they have a good credit score, a stable job, a high income, and their business has a proven track record. The truth is that not many small and medium-sized business owners who want easy payments are able to meet that criterion. Even if they have a high income and live in a wealthy country, they will have to wait weeks for their cards to be issued and pay high fees for services and transactions.

As a result, our mission is to make international business payments easy for UK- and EU-based businesses of all sizes. We make every effort to be more affordable, more flexible, and more efficient than traditional banks. We see how much time businesses spend on paperwork and how it slows down workflow, and that’s what we’re going to change for good. Technology should simplify, not complicate, business. We work with a variety of industries, including logistics, e-commerce, marketing technologies, and so on. I am also pleased to announce that we are ranked as one of the top three currency exchange services on the market.

Could you give us a walkthrough of the WeavePay platform, how it works and the specific services you provided?

Weavepay is a UK-based payments solution that provides multi-currency personal, business, and merchant accounts; Visa virtual and physical cards; and currency exchange services. With us, companies large or small can easily hold, send, or receive money to and from staff, clients, or suppliers around the world. 

We currently have three options for accounts: personal, business, and merchant. The path is straightforward. 1) Choose the type of account you require; 2) Leave your contact details, such as your email, phone number, and password; 3) Pass KYC (Know Your Customer) verification, which is required for all users to ensure the safety and security of your payments. It will only take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Only a valid ID or residence permit and proof of address (only the first page of the lease is sent) are required for verification. Your information will be validated within a few hours to a day. If everything goes well, your account will be opened, and you will be able to freely dispose of it. If you have any questions, you can always contact technical support or your personal manager, who will be assigned to you as soon as your account is activated. All of the above steps are easily completed on our website, 

Before WeavePay what critical issues were SMEs facing with payments and how are you addressing it?

The main issue that SMEs face is opening bank accounts. Most traditional banks will only open business accounts for companies that are well-established and have significant financial results. However, in order to achieve good financial results, SMEs need an account that they cannot open. At the same time, most fintech platforms will open an account for entrepreneurs from a small number of wealthy countries. This is a paradox, and we are working to resolve it.

What are the main benefits of the WeavePay platform over other projects and traditional banks, what makes you unique?

WeavePay provides 100% non-chatbot support, which means that any client, no matter how complex their question, can contact a real manager 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even if you simply do not understand how to make a transfer or want to double-check your actions, you can always contact us via email, phone, or live chat, and our support team will respond within 20 minutes. We understand that people dislike talking to robots, so we offer you personal assistance.

WeavePay also vastly increases opportunities for small- and medium-sized business owners and self-employed individuals, two groups that are underserved by traditional banks and fintech platforms. 

You only need to provide us with a valid ID and proof of address to get your IBAN and order a virtual or physical card. You do not have to wait weeks for our approval and your card. Our verification process is simple and quick. If any problems arise, you will be able to solve them all remotely, too.

Finally, users can open a multi-currency personal, business, or merchant account with premium features. Business owners will also appreciate the fact that all of the financial tools they require, such as SEPA, SWIFT, and Faster Payments, are available on our platform.

Enlighten us more on why a more user-friendly and inclusive payments system could be a great way to support small businesses and self-employed individuals in today’s economic uncertainty?

People are now attempting to create new types of employment, such as their own businesses or freelancing, as a result of the constantly changing economic landscape. It will be easier for them if we help them rather than complicate things by delaying account opening or increasing the cost of account maintenance.

According to what clients, their friends, and acquaintances have to say, banks constantly change the game’s rules. For example, it has recently become extremely difficult for a marketing or IT firm to open an account in some countries. This adds additional stress for business owners. Why is it needed, especially in such an unstable environment? 

Therefore, it is the responsibility of fintech platforms like ours to offer a straightforward solution. If promising businesses and individual entrepreneurs cannot utilize alternative payment methods and application interfaces, it is foolish to continually improve them. Fintech ought to be associated with reliability and effectiveness. It is crucial to support a variety of companies, not just those that appear to have a solid track record. 

Anyone with a legitimate ID and proof of address can open the account they require right away on our platform. When someone contacts us, they have the right to a prompt response—not one that takes a month or more.

On Fintech and ESG, how can sustainability help make operations safer for end-users? 

Reducing paperwork is an excellent example of how ESG is being used in fintech, and it has great potential to improve user data security. Encrypted data is more difficult to steal or lose than paper documents. It is less likely that our client’s card or account information will fall into the hands of fraudsters or that a bank officer will misplace it among other documents. 

Another eco-friendly trend that has already become a reality is the use of virtual cards. Even a small reduction in plastic usage can make a big difference, and we are pleased to see that more and more of our clients prefer virtual cards to plastic.

Are quick and secure international payments still considered a privilege rather than a right?

As I mentioned at the start of our conversation, the industry has a long way to go before making payments truly easy for everyone. Fast and convenient transactions remain a luxury. Traditional banks continue to rely heavily on paperwork and offline processes, and they are simply unavailable to small and medium-sized businesses as well as freelancers, the number of whom is growing by the day. 

At the same time, top fintech platforms’ convenient services are only available in a few countries, limiting opportunities for non-EU and non-UK residents. We can’t focus on improving bank applications or QR code payments while basic transactions remain out of reach for many people. To begin, we must assist people in opening accounts with no hidden fees and provide them with a plastic card.

Do you have any available opportunities for investors and partnerships at WeavePay, and more information to share with us today?

We are currently preparing to announce the list of collaborations. We will reveal the details on our social media channels later. Concerning investment opportunities, we are more focused on fundamental aspects, such as streamlining operations for our corporate and individual clients, but we will, of course, share any updates as soon as we have them.

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