Spreedly Takes The Pain Out Of ePayments Acceptance

What's Next In Payments®
7:39 AM EDT February 2nd, 2013

The number of consumer payments options seems to grow by the day. Online and mobile shoppers transact through systems ranging from ACH to PayPal to Dwolla to Bitcoin exchanges, and demand to be able to pay for goods how and when they please.

With the number of consumer payment options multiplying, how can developers ensure that they can accept these available payment offerings? How can they optimize their platforms for varied payment gateways and ensure data security compliance in the process?

Built by developers, for developers, Spreedly believes it has the one-size-fits-all solution that eCommerce players need to accomplish these goals. Even better, it promises this solution for a fraction of the cost of creating your own platform.

Sound too good to be true? Clients like OpenDining.net say that Spreedly convinced it to scrap its PCI-compliant infrastructure – an initiative that had taken months and had already been completed.

So what makes Spreedly and its credit card vault such an asset? How does it ensure freedom from PCI burdens, and how does it aim to empower tomorrow’s businesses? PYMNTS.com spoke to Spreedly CEO Justin Benson to find out.

PYMNTS.com: Start off by simply introducing yourself to PYMNTS.com. How long has Spreedly been around for, how has your platform evolved over the years and in what area of the payments space do you function now?

Justin Benson: Spreedly began life in late 2007, early 2008 as a subscription management service borne from a frustrating consulting project. We wanted to have simple recurring/subscription management capabilities for an online service and found the then-current payment gateway APIs to be complicated and problematic. We added around 200 companies on our offering. We began to see that there was a bigger problem for services like ours that wanted to work with multiple payment gateways either over time or simultaneously. So, we decoupled our underlying credit card vault and payment gateway integrations and launched a new offering. That is now our primary offering. Today we work in the online payments space helping customers for whom simply working with a single payment gateway won’t work.  

You describe yourself as a credit card vault that works with 49 gateways in 71 countries, but let’s start with the first element of Spreedly here – what does using a credit card vault accomplish for developers? How does it work?

The credit card vault equals freedom and independence. Freedom from the PCI burdens of building your own and independence from any one particular payment gateway or provider. What’s unique about our vault is we tokenize away from the gateway. That means you can present the card to different payment gateways over time. Once developers realize that they get pretty excited about what that allows them to do in terms of complex payments.

Now tell us why having so many supported gateways is a point of emphasis for Spreedly. Your site states that users will “never get locked into a single payments gateway.” Why is that important?

Supporting so many gateways means you can build the next Shopify or Freshbooks here. Build an online SaaS application and then plug in to our API. You’ve now just checked off one of the major friction points of transacting globally but processing locally. If over time you need to change payment gateways, then the ability to do so is greatly simplified by the credit card data and API independence you have.

It seems that Spreedly makes a big deal out of helping companies with scaling as well. How does Spreedly help companies expand, and do you have different options for different-sized businesses?

To build a PCI-compliant vault and integrate multiple payment gateways to launch your startup is probably a $50,000 to $100,000 proposition. Our lightest plan starts at $50 per month to store 5,000 cards and work with five different merchant accounts. We think that’s huge cloud-driven scale for startups. As we scale out to larger, established commerce services, our transactional fees move to just 2 cents each and our monthly fees are predictable. At that stage, we’re a clearly defined recurring infrastructure cost. And we’re always going to be cheaper and faster than building your own.

What separates Spreedly from others in this field? There’s a ton of competition right now, so what are the two or three aspects of Spreedly that you think serve as your biggest differentiators.

The ton of competition is what helps separate us. We don’t take sides or pick winners. We embrace new entrants in the field. Our customers know that we’ll add new payment gateways and payment types as they gain traction. If a payment gateway falters or exits (think Google Checkout) they’re not locked into that one platform. We don’t see the individual gateways ever embracing a multi gateway strategy and if they do we hope they’d work with us to offer that to pertinent customers. 

Finally, tell us what’s next for Spreedly, and really what’s next for online payments. How is this industry going to continue to evolve, and how will Spreedly remain a part of it moving forward?

We see two big trends – peer-to-peer payments and non-credit card payment types. There are some really exciting new ways to make payments and disburse payments. Just as we’ve aggregated payment gateways into a simple, single API, look to us to try and take that same approach with disbursements or newer payment types. So, a website that specializes in renting high-end vacation homes around the world can today use Spreedly to ensure they can work with any payment gateway in a country that they transact in. Tomorrow they’ll be able to use Spreedly to pay out the home renter via PayPal, ACH, Dwolla, GoCardless, Bitcoins or whomever.

We also think Square, Groupon, wallets, etc. are going push their own payment types as a way of equaling frictionless online transactions. So, online platforms and merchants are going to have to continue to work with a dizzying array of options. We want to do that work so they only have to worry about one payments integration.

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