Greenbase is the kiwi startup that will elevate NZ to the ‘open banking’ movement

This Kiwi startup is here to make payments even cheaper and faster than the internet and mobile banking that your banks offer.

Greenbase is creating an infrastructure to support the ‘open banking’ trend.

The infrastructure is a secure API connection to your customer’s bank accounts where you can quickly create account-to-account payments that confirm instantly and are four times lower cost.

Hence, changing the age-old system of banks holding most of the power.

Greenbase is a simple but versatile solution

Greenbase works through an Application Programming Interface (API), creating an infrastructure for you to work with.

All you need to do is to integrate the payment API on your server, the secure API will connect to your customer’s accounts.

With that, you just need to store a secure token and pass the payment details that match your needs because Greenbase will take charge of the administrative aspects of the customers and banks.

Then the API will get to work, it will allow you to do a direct account-to-account transfer of fund, taking away long transfer time and fees like credit card chargeback.

Dishonoured payment is a thing of the past as well, because balances are confirmed before transfer. 

The API is multifaceted as well, which gives you the flexibility to choose which payment UI and UX you want, such as user-initiated payments, advanced single-click purchase and recurring payments.

Because it is running on one Greenbase API, you have the power to change and adapt your payment experience for specific customers or projects without rebuilding your tech.

The API will leave you worry and stress-free, Greenbase takes care of the link to your customer’s bank no matter what type of payment experiences you’ve decided on.

You send the request, and we route it to the right place. We’ll announce exactly which banks we support soon, but our technology allows us to support all New Zealand retail banks within the next few months.

A real problem 

I mean as a consumer, it is pretty obvious that we want to save time and money when we make payments.

Greenbase’s API is doing that exactly, which means it will solve the inconvenience of long transfer timings and dishonoured fees can be quite frustrating for many of us.

And for innovators? This API is providing an efficient infrastructure for fintech innovators to build their services.

While I’ll love to explain the value of the API and why Greenbase was created, we caught up with CEO and co-founder of Greenbase to get his insights. 

Why did you come up with Greenbase?

As I was working for Kiwibank, I saw lots of great startups come to us with awesome new services they wanted to bring to Kiwis. The problem was that they needed to plug their new services into the financial infrastructure of New Zealand – do things like connect to bank accounts, create payments, and validate identities.

But the problem is that Banks are not set up to support other people with access to infrastructure – everything has been designed and built to support their own customers and channels.

We’re on the cusp of that changing. However, banks are recognising the value of partnering with startups to create innovative new solutions for their customers. And the concept of “Open Banking” is rapidly spreading amongst global regulators, starting to arrive here in the middle of last year. Open Banking is rooted in the idea that customers of a bank should be able to grant other companies access to their bank accounts, with those companies then using this access to power innovative financial services.

This fundamental problem of Startups not having access to the infrastructure they need, and the changing climate around Open Banking is creating the perfect moment for Greenbase to launch. We’re going to be providing Startups with the core financial infrastructure they need to create great new propositions, and at the same time making it easy for Banks to embrace Open Banking. And above all else, we’ll be working to protect Kiwis money and data so that they can embrace these new innovative financial services with confidence.

What is the value of API driven payment? 

It’s huge. Up until now, Startups have had only two options when it comes to creating payments for their customers: the Credit/Debit Card network, or Direct Debits. The card networks are full of middlemen that charge huge fees and create big issues for Fintechs to deal with things like fraud and chargebacks. The Direct Debit network is a product of the 1980s and still has lots of clunky paper and batch-based processes which don’t meet Startups’ needs for high efficient infrastructure. Plus, many Kiwis hate Direct Debits due to the bad taste that dishonoured payment fees have created.

What we’re doing is creating a 3rd option, that exploits an amazing asset that’s been locked up inside banks for decades – direct account to account payments. Kiwis have been able to create these payments in their Internet Banking for years manually, and it’s fast to process and basically free. We’re unlocking this account to account network, and making it available to Startups over a flexible and secure API system. This means that Startups will be able to create better experiences for customers, fully automate their payment processes, and do all of this four a quarter of the cost of Card network solutions.

Fintech is pretty much the golden child of the tech startup scene with billions being poured into the industry, is this the case because there is much the industry can work on to better their services? 

There is certainly a lot of potential in the Fintech space – it’s a massive component of the economy, and has a lot of poor experiences and processes that are hangovers of a pre-digital world. However, the challenges are also large: financial services are full of very necessary regulation and are a world of high consequence. It’s one thing for a delivery startup to lose someone’s lunch order, it’s a whole different thing for a Fintech startup to lose customers money or data.

So yes, there’s a reason that a lot of money is chasing Fintech. But I think people also realise it won’t be as easy as to innovative as a lot of startups (and banks) have hoped. What I’m hoping we can do with Greenbase is start to create platforms for innovation, where the “hard” and highly regulated stuff is taken care of behind the scenes, while startups are left with a flexible, safe and secure environment to innovate on.

 What’s the plan for 2018? Do you guys have any plans on expanding overseas? 

The plan is to get our Payments MVP in the market as quickly as possible so that we can start to learn exactly what Kiwis and Startups need to innovate quickly and safely. Once we’ve got traction, we’ll be quickly working on expanding the breadth and depth of services we offer to Startups. We’re also going to be working with Banks to create a way for them to support Open Banking and Startups through Greenbase while saving them a huge amount of ongoing cost. 

Open Banking is becoming the talk of the town and like D’Shea said it is rapidly getting attention from global regulators. Even in Australia, the Government is pretty involved with this movement.

Greenbase is definitely at the forefront of this change and creating the very infrastructure needed for this movement. An innovation that births more innovation, we’re excited to see what Greenbase will produce and what other fintechs that might come out of it.

Keep up to date with Greenbase on their website, and put May 17 on your schedule because that’s the demo day for KiwiBank Accelerator.

New Zealand a startup 'Utopia', but VC's call for more funding
Greenbase is the kiwi startup that will elevate NZ to the ‘open banking’ movement
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New Zealand a startup 'Utopia', but VC's call for more funding