From open banking to instant transfers, Bridge is betting on the next payment revolution

Spin off, fundraising and now a new management: this is a three-part play that aims to make the fintech Bridge, better known to the general public as the Bank, a pioneer of open banking in France, a leading player. aggregation of bank accounts in the field of payments based on its main activity. The transformation began in the summer of last year with the split of the B2C activity, obviously the application of the Bank, a financial coach on the mobile phone, was taken from the B2B activity by its historical shareholder, the Casino group, and is now grouped under the Bridge banner. Today, Bankin’, founded twelve years ago by Joan Burkovic, has therefore become a Bridge client.

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Bridge then raised €20 million in Series A last July with two new investors, BPCE banking group and Truffle Capital fund. A fundraiser completed at just the right time before valuations crash and Tech funding dries up.

BPCE, which is heavily involved in payments, already has several fintechs in its directory such as Payplug (online payment), Swile (prepaid services) and even Xpollens, a payment services platform. In turn, Truffle Capital is one of the main European private equity funds investing in fintech.

New management

Finally, Bridge announced a change in its management with the arrival of Olivier Binet, formerly of PayPal and neo-B2B bank Finom, to the overall management and the appointment of Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux as chairman of the board of directors. serial entrepreneur, president of French employers (Medef) and, by the way, shareholder of Bridge. This change reflects the departure of Joan Brukovic, who has been involved in the company as a consultant and, of course, as a director.

“After twelve years, I felt the need to pass the baton to expert people to manage the hyper growth. The company is now funded, structured with solid management and teams, and very dynamic with a dynamic market.” La Tribune, Joan Brukovic explains.

“The company is coming to a certain stage in its growth as the market is getting more jittery and there are important deadlines coming up. (e-invoicing, the current revision of the payments directive PSD2 and the next regulation on instant payment, Editor’s note) », Olivier Binet emphasizes.

Next Generation Payments

Bridge remains a player in open banking, which has become important in the banking landscape since the introduction of PSD2. To encourage competition and innovation, Brussels forces banks to allow third parties accredited by regulators (eg Bridge) to access bank account information (with customers’ green light) to offer new services.

On this basis, Bridge is looking to make a name for itself in the emerging world of payments by offering new solutions such as instant transfer, which Brussels has high hopes for to assert its sovereignty in payments, especially in the face of American giants. Like Visa or Mastercard.

“We have the opportunity to start instant payment tomorrow, which will be a daily payment tool”Olivier Binet says. Thus, a European regulation plans to force banks to place in sending and receiving at a price that should not exceed the standard transfer price.. “The sense of history makes this service free. It is even political will”Bridge’s new CEO considers.

I am looking for a new model

In fact, instant payment can have several advantages over a bank card. This avoids the difficult question of card ceilings – more than a third of card transactions out of a €100 transaction will be rejected due to the ceiling – but above all, it offers the merchant an instant and irrevocable payment guarantee.

Online preference for both in-store and bulk purchases or at-risk purchases. “With instant transfer, the merchant has zero outstanding fees. With electronic invoicing, it allows you to answer the main problems of reducing payment periods and unpaid bills », insists Olivier Binet. And these issues play out both in e-commerce (online) and in stores (offline). Factoring or collection players may be interested in these payment solutions.

A competitive sector

Fundraising and especially shareholders like BPCE are welcome in the ultra-competitive payments and open banking market. Some key competitors also apply schemes (International payment networks such as Tink (Visa) or Plaid (Mastercard) that have decided to enter Europe. “Finally, they’re still not very present in Europe.” Olivier Binet observes.

On the other hand, in Europe, especially in France, banks are starting to take place among local players, such as Linxo or Fintecture, which was acquired by Crédit Agricole. last year. Now BPCE is getting a foothold in Bridge, which already has the bank as a client.

The new PSD3 directive could give a new impetus to this payment market, which is full of innovations. The idea is that banks provide quality APIs (interfaces) – according to fintechs, this does not seem to be the case yet – and new payment services provide a high level of performance, such as Visa, Mastercard or others. schemes (Cartes Bancaires CB in France) and finally, supervisors can act when a bank refuses to play the open banking game. Which is not to everyone’s taste. In the interview to EchoesNicolas Thery, chairman of Crédit Mutuel, qualified in 2021 “absurd” European text.

“With free access to all and working APIs, DPS3 and European regulations will enable mass adoption of instant payment, including in stores” Joan Burkovic predicts otherwise.

The only problem: banks will have to find a new economic model to finance investments and compensate for the planned decline in card usage. The European Commission and the European Parliament have understood this well and should leave the door open to create a new directive. business model.

The pan-European EPI payments project is also one of its representatives, although this project is currently at a standstill. Other European institutions, such as SPAA (SEPA Payment Account Access), are working on new services award. “The players in the chain have to be able to feed themselves, and if the use of instant payment is massive, it will be”John concludes Burkovic.