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Interview with Nils Winkler, CEO of Yapital

Interview realized by Finyear, the Financial Year.

Nils Winkler
Nils Winkler
What are the key features of Yapital and how does it differentiate itself from the competition?

Nils: Yapital offers customers a unique way of paying for goods and services across all channels – in-store, mobile, online or by invoice. No matter which channel, handling the payment process with the Yapital App on the smartphone stays the same. The user simply scans a QR code displayed on the retailer’s payment terminal at the POS, a laptop screen, a PC monitor, a tablet or on a printed invoice. After confirming the transaction, payment is immediate and secure. No need to do any manual banking online or go to one of your bank’s branches – a simple scan and confirmation is all you need.
And where a QR code scan is not yet possible, shoppers can use their Yapital MasterCard, enabling them to pay at more than 35 million acceptance points worldwide. So when lying at the beach, for example in Thailand, users can still pay with Yapital and can even track all expenses in real time in the Yapital account, so that they always have control over their budget.

Business partners also benefit from Yapital because all transactions are guaranteed, and are processed in real-time.

But what’s even more attractive is a feature that I like to call a real killer feature, which we introduced in May. It allows consumers to purchase directly from advertising space by scanning a QR code within an advert, like an ad for a book or shoes. After doing so, the consumer can order the product, pay for it and have it delivered. All with one click in the Yapital app. And the best part is that a QR code can be placed almost everywhere, no matter whether that be in a shop window, on a billboard, in a catalogue, a TV ad or a newsletter. We get payment much closer to the shopping impulse. That brings more fun and convenience for consumers and better business for merchants.

What do you think: How can mobile payments achieve mass acceptance?

Well, no one needs just mobile payments. You have to think bigger and you have to attract people. When it comes to spending money, especially in everyday life, it is more about irrational arguments than about logical ones. Today, a lot of people say “I can make payments, but why with my mobile phone?” When they then see that with Yapital they can do lots more than just paying – especially in combination with our Yapital MasterCard – things look different. If I, as a consumer, can receive my purchases – regardless of the channel – faster and more conveniently, and with more control and security than ever before, then we’re close to the goal. Sending money quickly via the app, that’s an additional benefit. And suddenly there’s something completely new, something people think is really good, that excites and intrigues them. You have to touch hearts, not just minds. Of course, you also need points of acceptance. We have 35 million – via our Yapital MasterCard and thousands for the Yapital app. And more are constantly being added.

But we do not only think about the consumer. In order to make integration as easy as possible for the business partner, Yapital is designed to be extremely flexible; we provide solutions for big companies like the leading food retail and travel group REWE, for small web shops, for restaurants, and even for merchants without cash systems or with cash registers and no internet connection. To find individual solutions for every partner, we work close together with a lot of technical service providers.

How do you see consumers changing the way they shop over the next 5 years?

Consumers will definitely drive the demand for solutions that make their lives easier, like systems that allow them to manage their daily expenditure down to the smallest transaction. Why? At the moment, I’d buy a cup of coffee with cash, pay for my groceries with a direct debit card and do my Internet shopping with my credit card. At the end of the day I have no idea of how much I’ve spent. With the Yapital App I can track my expenditure in real-time and top up my balance directly with my smartphone. I can’t think of anything more convenient than this that puts the user in total control. As I mentioned, it is important that people have fun when using a new payment system, so you need to add real value to an e-wallet. Merchants can’t deny this fact and that’s why I do not doubt that mobile payment will become part of everyday life.

Did the recent NSA scandal have an impact on your business? Were clients concerned about the safety of transactions made mobile?

Not at all, it was more that customers were relieved that we are based in Europe as this means that their personal data is processed under the strict observance of European legal standards and is secured on servers in Europe. The hype about the security of personal data stored somewhere on the Internet, was focused on US companies. In Europe we can rely on an infrastructure that provides high-level data facilities, as well as comprehensive regulatory requirements set for banking institutions in regards to data security and anti-money laundering. The whole scandal helped us to be perceived as even more secure and reliable.

What are your company’s top 3 development goals for 2014?

Well, one of our main goals is to establish Yapital as a payment method for every possible occasion in daily life. I want to see paying with Yapital possible everywhere – even when the shop is closed. That´s why we’re going to integrate numerous other major merchants and also work more closely with small and medium-size companies.

It is a given fact, that if e-wallets develop value-added services, the consumer adoption rate will increase. That’s why some amazing features will be introduced this summer, innovations that make sense, which simplify the handling of money and make life more convenient for consumers and merchants. Such as the possibility to use a QR code as an additional distribution channel, which I think is one of the most exciting revenue growth potentials. All these plans go together with our aim to cross channels and borders. The best is yet to come.

Yapital is the first European, cashless cross-channel payment solution designed with modern commerce in mind. Customers can use Yapital to make cashless payments across all channels, whether it be in-store, mobile, online or by invoice. Founded in 2011 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Otto Group, Yapital launched its new service in 2013.
Yapital is simple, fast and secure. Following a one-time registration via smartphone or web browser, Yapital is ready for immediate use. In addition to making payments, consumers can send and receive money – thanks to guaranteed real-time transactions, meaning the money arrives within seconds.
Yapital is a European business, licensed as an Electronic Money Institution in Luxembourg and therefore complies with strict legal and regulatory requirements. In its efforts to uphold these high-standards as well as to safeguard its customers’ money and financial data, Yapital employs state-of-the-art data-centers, uses latest encryption technologies, and incorporates world-class risk management tools and procedures.
Payments with Yapital are guaranteed, leading to process reliability and a reduction in administrative costs for business partners. Yapital seamlessly integrates all retail and service channels, converting marketing channels into actual sales channels. This all means that not only are costs for business partners reduced,
but additional sales potential is generated.
Yapital aims to play a leading role in the European payment systems market. The company is not only relying on the Otto Group’s commercial reach, but also cooperates with retail partners and service providers of different sectors throughout Europe and across all channels.

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