By combining two best of breed capabilities, the collaboration between Fat Zebra and Fiserv has transformed transaction processing in Australia, by delivering a fast track and highly efficient route to domestic and global payments. Here we catch up with Pred Dragila, Director and Co-founder of Fat Zebra and Kees Kwakernaak, General Manager of Fiserv in Australia and New Zealand, to discuss the partnership and benefits it delivers for merchants and third-party payment service providers alike.
Q: How did the partnership between Fat Zebra and Fiserv come about?
Pred: We were looking for the most effective way to provide the global payment functionality that Australian merchants were seeking. It was immediately obvious that Fiserv had that capability, plus the ability to support it on the ground in each country.
Kees: It was very similar for us, Fat Zebra has a comprehensive solution for Australian domestic payments and a significant market share, this coupled with our local market expertise and payment acceptance capabilities across the globe seemed like the perfect partnership to enable Fat Zebra’s growth strategy and extend Fiserv depth within the Australian market. However, while we’ve both achieved our initial objectives, I think the final outcome has been something of far greater systemic benefit for the market.
Pred: I’d agree 100 percent. It’s a symbiotic relationship which amounts to much more than the sum of its parts.
Q: How so?
Pred: More and more Australian merchants want the ability to accept payments globally, but they definitely don’t want to have to initiate multiple new relationships around the world in order to do so. Our partnership with Fiserv means that they don’t have to. Instead, they have a single relationship that delivers all they need, now and in the future.
Kees: Initially, a merchant may not have a physical presence in the new countries into which they are selling, so they want their revenue coming back to them as cross-border payments. However, in due course, they may establish offices in these countries. When that happens, they want to use the same basic mechanism, except with the revenue flowing to their local bank accounts. What they definitely do not want is major upheaval to their payment handling processes. Our partnership means that they get payment processing that adapts seamlessly to their business as it evolves, not something that constrains or disrupts its development.
Pred: The speed of roll out we can deliver in that scenario is also extremely fast. We would expect to have everything up and running in terms of a merchant’s in-country payment processing before they would be able to open their local entity and its local bank accounts.
Q: Is that speed of implementation equally important in the TPP marketplace as well?
Pred: Definitely setting up an e-commerce merchant facility in Australia can take weeks, which is simply unacceptable in an environment where merchants and their web developers have virtually no slack in their schedules for getting a commercial website up and running. Therefore, TPPs need a more efficient process for doing this on behalf of their merchants. The TPP program we have built in collaboration with Fiserv delivers exactly that.
Q: In what way?
Kees: Rather than individually vetting TPPs’ merchant customers, we do thorough due diligence on the TPPs themselves. We check that TPP processes are compliant, have sufficient underwriting capability and an adequate balance sheet. If they satisfy all of these criteria, they are then authorised to onboard merchants in their own right. The TPP integrated with Fat Zebra can then benefit from the global capabilities of Fiserv.
Pred: From a merchant’s perspective this effectively compresses two stages of an application process into one, as well as reduce the number of entities the merchant has to deal with to one single entity – Fat Zebra. As a result, it is entirely feasible when using our TPP platform for a merchant to apply and go live with payments on the same day. That is world - class performance. Once the TPP (and as a consequence their merchant client base) are up and running with Fat Zebra, they’re integrated with Fiserv global capabilities. It’s a plug and play solution.
Q: It sounds as if the consolidation your partnership delivers is resonating with the market?
Kees: I’d say that’s definitely the case. Reducing the number of acquirers, partnerships and service level agreements and replacing them with multifunction global solutions from a single connection is definitely a priority for businesses of all sizes.
Q: And it sounds as if there may be more innovation to come from your partnership?
Pred: Well, most of our conversations start with “What are we doing today?,” but then quickly move on to “What are we doing next?,” so I think that looks pretty likely.