Thursday, 21 February 2019 12:42

GoCardless grows Australian presence and products

GoCardless HQ GoCardless HQ

Australia is "a very attractive place for us to invest", GoCardless director of international expansion Pranav Sood told iTWire.

Direct-debit payments processor GoCardless announced Xero integration last August and opened its Melbourne office in September.

The company soon outgrew those premises and moved to a larger office in December, Sood said. GoCardless is still hiring, and expects to double the size of its Melbourne workforce – which mostly comprises sales and marketing roles – by the end of 2019.

GoCardless is attracted to Australia because of its healthy fintech ecosystem, the growing incidence of recurring payments, and the appetite for change for the better, Sood told iTWire.

While Xero has a "fantastic ecosystem" covering various business cases, GoCardless works with some 150 software providers around the world. Some – like Xero – offer horizontal products, others serve specific verticals. For example, GoCardless integrates with a system designed for window cleaners in the UK.

Sood said the partnership with Xero is proving successful, but GoCardless also works with other accounting systems that are well known in Australia and New Zealand, including Sage, Quickbooks and subscription-focussed Zuora. GoCardless supports recurring and one-off payments.

The company works closely with the best platforms to deliver products that customers will value, Sood said.

GoCardless has two new products to help businesses.

"Cash flow is a problem everybody has", so GoCardless intends to give its users the option of instant (same-day) settlement rather than having to wait two to five days for payments to clear. Sood would not be drawn on the question of an additional fee being charged for instant settlement.

The GoCardless foreign exchange service already allows users to receive payments via direct debit in 35 countries (Europe, Australia and New Zealand), with planned expansion to the US by the end of 2019.

The company processes US$10 billion of payments a year, with 40,000 merchants a month using its services.

This volume of transactions means there is a lot of data for the company to use in order to detect merchant or customer fraud, and to time debit requests to maximise the chances of transactions succeeding.

From a merchant's perspective, the advantages of collecting payments via direct debit from bank accounts instead of credit cards are that transaction fees are lower (1% with a maximum charge of $3.50, as opposed to credit card charges of around 2% or more with no cap), and a higher success rate because individuals' and businesses' bank account details change much less frequently than their credit card details.

GoCardless recently secured a US$75 million capital injection. In this round, existing investors Accel Partners, Balderton Capital, Notion Capital and Passion Capital were joined by Adams Street Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Salesforce Ventures.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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