Brightwell Payments Vice Chairman Kenneth M. Goins delves into payments innovation around cross-border, prepaid payments in our Finetics™ Studio with PaymentEye’s Sarah Gill, live from the exhibition floor at Money 20/20.
Sarah Gill, Reporter: I'm joined by Ken Goins, CEO of Brightwell. And things like cross-border payments and that kind of thing is something where a lot of people are trying to innovate around at the moment.
Kenneth Goins: Right. What you find is that there's a globalization in business. People are crossing borders and there has to be a need to effectively move money from Point A to Point B. What the driver is, the people are trying to find ways to do it much more effectively and efficiently and lower cost. What we find is our clients are spending a great deal of time and money just making payments, doing something simple like that. It's not like being in the United States, where you do ACH direct deposits and your money ends up being there.
We've created a new product that allows the employees on the ships--it's called the Navigator--to be able to design how they want their payments to go. They can determine how much money goes to a card, how much money goes to this bank account or that bank account, and it's reoccurring. So all they have to do is fill out their forms one time, go through it online, and then it's set. And if they want to change something, they can do it at any time.
It's really interesting that we're able to do that, and you're dealing with people on ships in all sorts of places. So communications is key. Being able to work with satellite companies and have the Internet activity onboard a ship has been kind of a really interesting business to put together.
Sarah Gill, Reporter: So you're kind of saying that prepaid often enables employers and employees to have a different kind of relationship?
Kenneth Goins: They do. Many of the people are in collective bargaining agreements, and there's a need in the maritime space. You're not dealing with one particular country; you're dealing with a number of countries, and all types of maritime law--the Maritime Labor Convention, the Jones Act, and other features like that--which goes back to very old, arcane laws associated with making sure that people aren't pirated, move from Point A to Point B. So people have to be paid timely and in some form of cash.
It's hard to believe today that most people are still paid in cash, and the US dollar is the typical currency in about 90% of the transactions. The Maritime Labor Convention has been put in place and has been signed by about 70 countries around the world, and their focus is to make sure that seafarers are paid timely and are paid correctly and such. And so this product helps the companies to ensure that they meet their obligations with the Maritime Labor Convention and other things like that.
So it's a benefit to the company, proved process, saves money, and then also is a great benefit to the employee because they have very limited time. When they're working, they're on contracts that work six to eight months; they may work six or seven days a week. So having all of that taken care of prevents them from having to go onshore and do those type things in the limited amount of free time they have. So that's another real driver of the product, in driving satisfaction to the crew.
Sarah Gill, Reporter: I mean, prepaid has been around for quite a long time, and it feels like it's kind of at an inflection point, gathering them into now. Would you agree with that?
Kenneth Goins: I think so. I think, even for our company, we started out as a program manager, and I don't think that's a very good definition of what we are today. I would say that we're more of a thin tech company by matching technology and services together. And it just happens that a prepaid card is just merely a component of that entire endeavor with our customers, whether they be directly to a company or indirectly to the actual cardholders and the people using the services provided to the company.
Sarah Gill, Reporter: I mean, do you see sort of a bigger picture in prepaid? Like what do you think is the ultimate kind of big opportunity around this?
Kenneth Goins: I think prepaid is just part of a process. It's a component. And what we've determined is that it's the best to find ways of using that vehicle today, and we think that over time, certainly change is going to occur in the industry. And we believe that the card itself is a form. Something else could replace it. It could be mobile, whatever. So the plastic itself, or the card, is merely just a form factor in how that you deliver money or something or services to a company or to a cardholder.
Most of our services with the program are online, so they can go on, so they have basically, you know, like a checking account with a ledger where the money's coming onto their account, where the money's going off, and the ability of paying bills and doing all sorts of things from that, just like a traditional checking account. The only difference is they just don't have checks.
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