Mx51 gears up for global growth

  • By Christine St Anne

 Mx51 is in the process of inking a deal with a global bank as it gears up for global expansion.

The business was part of Assembly Payments. At the time Assembly Payments had two businesses: A direct to market business which was focused around platform marketplace payments and secondly a white-label making platform.

“For many reasons, it made sense to have the business set up as separate entities.

“That meant we could focus on the strategic growth through each business having a dedicated management. That was one of the key drivers behind that decision,” mx51 CEO and former co-founder of Assembly Payments Victor Zheng said.

Westpac has adopted mx51’s platform under its own branding of Presto. The bank is also a major shareholder.

 Mx51 is “gateway agnostic,” that is, its platform sits above a bank’s legacy systems,” Zheng said.

“What we really focus on is the integration into the world of commerce, whether that is payment or other value-added services like loyalty or cash flow lending.”

The fintech is also able to integrate multi-channels under its white label platform for example merging instore such as point-of sale terminals with online payment platforms.

For Zheng, banks across the globe as well as acquirers are struggling to integrate modern solutions to payments under their legacy infrastructure.

In the next couple of months, we will be starting to go live with other partners outside of Australia

Here Mx51 can provide such value-added services around actionable analytics, loyalty initiatives and cash flow lending.

“We integrate it in a way that is seamless for the banks. Just like Westpac Presto offer range of services under one platform.

Its deal with Westpac is exclusive in Australia but Mx51 is now eyeing deals outside the local market and is in the process of finalising a tie-up with a US bank.

“We are very close in signing our first bank in the US.

“We are having a number of conversations in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Australia.

“Asia is a particularly exciting market. It is the fastest growing payments market. We are having conversations with potential partners in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Japan,” Zheng said.

And while COVID has slowed the pace, Zheng said the business remains engaged in “lots of conversations”.

“In the next couple of months, we will be starting to go live with other partners outside of Australia.”

There have been a number of new entrants in the payments market, most notably Square and Stripe.

However, Zheng does not see parallel models between Mx51 and these businesses.

This is because these businesses are going head-to-head and disrupting the banks and traditional acquirers.

According to Zheng, the reason why they are successful is that banks and acquirers have not focused on the front-end capability to integrate payments and commerce.

Our strategy is to work with all the BNPL providers in the market

Here it provides an opportunity for businesses like Square to solve pain points for merchants by integrating a number of their solutions around initiatives like cash flow.

“While we provide the same capabilities, we want to go to market through the banks.

“We strongly believe that ultimately, if you arm the banks with the right front end payment capability, they will prevail because they have the stronger balance sheets and they have the customer relationships already established.”

This partnership approach with banks will also allow Mx51 to scale more effectively in other markets overcoming the challenges of setting up new businesses in each country and pivoting their business to adopt the particular payment frameworks of each country.

In fact, Zheng acknowledges that that Westpac backed the business to confront these disruptors.

“Westpac saw all these disruptors coming in. The bank knew it had to act quickly.

“They knew they would lose a lot of their merchant relationships.”

Here he emphasises that the merchant relationship now for a bank has shifted from traditional lending to payments.

Today it is about helping businesses accept payments, understand payments data and understand the cash flow of their business so that lending solutions can be tailored based on that cash flow assessment.

“It’s all about adding value.”

The business is also eyeing rolling out BNPL solutions

“We are agnostic to the type of payment processed for the merchant.”

 For example, today if a consumer wants to use a card in a store they can tap their card tap on payment terminal. But if they want to use BNPL, a scanner has to be used.

“We are focused on building a wide range of acceptance that consumers want to use.

We will integrate BNPL int our platforms. We have already integrated one of the BNPL solutions to the platform. We just have not launched yet.

That should be consolidated in one solution. Our strategy is to work with all the BNPL providers in the market.”