Standard Chartered expands push into digital payments
Investment results in merger of CurrencyFair and Assembly Payments platforms
7 Apr 2021 | The Asset

CurrencyFair, a global cross-border payments platform, and Assembly Payments, whose platform automates complex payment workflows, announced their merger on Wednesday (April 7) following a strategic investment by Standard Chartered. The deal is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

SC Ventures, the bank’s innovation, ventures and fintech investments unit, is doubling down on its commitment to the rapidly growing payments industry, after its investment in Assembly Payments in 2020.

Bill Winters, group chief executive of Standard Chartered, says: “Digital payments is a core strategic area for Standard Chartered and our 2020 investment in Assembly Payments greatly enhanced our presence in the domestic payments business. By bringing together the complementary strengths of CurrencyFair and Assembly, we are supporting the merged company in offering the full range of payment services, providing retail and corporate clients access to fast, high-volume domestic and cross-border payments.”

CurrencyFair CEO Paul Byrne will lead the merged business.

“The merger of CurrencyFair and Assembly Payments partnering with SC Ventures is a strategic move which will see us develop beyond the traditional transactional nature of a payments company and provide a core suite of integrated financial services to businesses and individuals globally,” says CurrencyFair chairman Will Prendergast.

“CurrencyFair and Assembly will retain their ‘customer first’ cultures, deepen these relationships by enabling customers to easily access, build, connect, and use any payment service from within their existing business operations without any of the technical, compliance or geographical complexities associated with traditional financial services offerings. The merged proposition will focus on five core capabilities – payments, global payment accounts, partner ecosystem, lending and settlement, and services – to address the growth opportunities in the US$2 trillion revenue market for payments.”

Global e-commerce sales, estimated to be almost US$26 trillion in 2018, have further accelerated as businesses and consumers increasingly look to the digital marketplace amid the Covid-19 pandemic. A substantial number of these transactions have taken place between continents and markets, resulting in cross- border digital payments becoming more complex and requiring workflows that involve many steps, systems and interactions.

Corporate clients are also increasingly demanding more value-added services from their payments providers, to consolidate all aspects of their payment value chain within a seamless and cost-efficient offering that meets domestic and cross-border payment flow needs.

Recognizing this opportunity, the new company will focus on addressing key pain points including the fragmentation of payment ecosystems, the complexity of implementing different payment ecosystems from a technical, operational, financial, and regulatory perspective, privacy and security of data, and cross-border e-commerce for multi-market and multi-currency collection requirements, Standard Chartered says in a statement.