Visa, Open Combine Forces For Tech-Driven SME Banking


FinTech startup Open is partnering with global payments tech leader Visa to offer better banking options for SMEs in India.

The collaboration gives Open the power to co-create new products with Visa, like real-time payments and business credit cards for startups, the companies announced in a press release. 

“We are excited to partner with Visa in our journey to make business banking simple and easy for millions of small businesses in India,” said Anish Achuthan, co-founder and CEO of Open. “This partnership will enable Open to leverage the leadership and expertise Visa has in the payments space to co-create and innovate new solutions.”

The business card from Open will be a first-of-its-kind card specifically designed to help startups qualify based on funding rather than credit history. The card comes with a suite of expense management tools and is integrated with Whatsapp for seamless expense filing, the release indicated. 

The credit card will use a rewards program that lets startups earn points for their spending which can be redeemed for various software subscriptions, cloud hosting and discounts on co-working spaces.

The partnership will also enable Open to enhance the Open API banking suite called Layer with new features like real-time payments settlement and refunds. Layer is a programmable bank account for developers to integrate banking into their business and product flows. 

“We believe partnership and collaboration are key to creating new and innovative payment solutions for the thriving Indian SME community,” said T.R. Ramachandran, group country manager of India  and South Asia at Visa. 

 The “neo-bank” startup Open is based in Bangalore; it acts as a bank, but its services are specifically targeted to aid small and medium-sized businesses in India. The startup raised $30 million in a Series B funding round in June led by Tiger Global. 

The services provided by Open are not generally available to small businesses through banks, or if they are, exorbitant fees are charged. Open has more than 100,000 customers, and Achuthan said the company process around $5 billion in transactions yearly. There’s also an average of 20,000 new clients coming on board every month.


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