Exciting articles several times a month
24 May 2017
These days we had an exciting opportunity to interview Kilian Füg, CEO of Sogexia, a French fintech banking company, providing payment services to individuals, public authorities and corporate clients across Europe. The company has developed its payment platform over the years, which allowed it to operate its own banking products, while Sogexia is not a bank, but a payment services intermediary, regulated by French Organization for the Single Register of Intermediaries in Insurance, Banking and Finance (ORIAS) and French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR). We were lucky to learn many interesting things about their business and French fintech industry in whole, and are pleased to present our quite informative talk to you now.
Could you, please, provide brief introduction of your company?
Since 2010, Sogexia is the first French FinTech acting as innovative payment services and e-money operator and manages at international scale a wide range of innovative banking solutions: payment accounts, debit and prepaid cards, mobile payment and additional services. We offer our services to consumers, public institutions and businesses from all sectors and counts among our clients such as Renault, Johnson & Johnson, Mauboussin or NRJ.
On your website you say that ‘Sogexia was born out of our frustration of traditional banking services’. Could you tell us a little bit more? How the idea of creating Sogexia arose?
Back at the start in 2010, there was no prepaid provider in France. At the time, I had an IT business and needed to be paid and pay via prepaid cards for convenience. I went to French banks and asked for these products but they all advised that they didn’t offer these type of cards. I therefore thought that there would be an opportunity to serve the French market, and this is when the idea of Sogexia started.
Seven years later, the market has quite evolved and we have worked up the value chain as we are now marketing several other products, from prepaid card to full payment accounts.
Sogexia develops four key service categories. Could you elaborate on this?
Our first product is a 100% digital payment account for individuals and businesses associated with an IBAN and up to 4 Mastercard cards. Opening takes less than 5 minutes without conditions and the account comes with a wide range of value-added services (reductions with more than 850 partner merchants, spend management tools, insurance, etc.).
We also operate a platform enabling companies to manage their own fleet of prepaid cards with complete autonomy, from card ordering to loading and reporting, to manage the payments of their business expenses, client incentives and employees’ payrolls.
Our third product is a merchant account coupled to a multi-device payment gateway to accept online and physical payments easily in any web-shop, application or point of sale. The setup is quick and we offer competitive rates.
And last but not the least, bespoken banking services based on our proprietary processing platform, that we can deliver to any organisation wishing to launch their own payment solution: servics companies, banks, FinTechs, insurers, public institutions or major retailers.
As we know last October you launched the first 100% digital payment account for individuals and companies. Does it mean that no one had ever done it before? And what differentiates such account?
Indeed, it was the first product of this kind launched by a French actor. A full payment account that can be opened and managed 100% remotely. The two main differences with our account, as compared to high street banks, is that it can be opened online in less than 5 minutes with no conditions and that all transactions are in real-time, meaning that bank transfers are credited as soon as they are received without any additional value date and payments are displayed and debited immediately.
We also offer value added services such as rebates at more than 850 partner merchants, a smart analysis tool to easily see where and how funds are spent or an option to load the account in real-time by debit or credit card.
Your services are authorized by ORIAS and supervised by the ACPR. What does it mean for your customers? How does it affect them?
Primarily, it brings credibility, as it means that we are regulated and have to adhere to a strict set of rules and principles.
Your key market is France. What challenges do fintech companies face in the French market? What is your vision of the future development of the whole fintech industry there?
Over the past few years, the fintech realm has positively evolved in France for at the beginning they were perceived by both the traditional banks and the regulator as potential threats for the stability and security of the French banking ecosystem and, for instance, it was very difficult to open a bank account for them. Now, the regulator is more open and has even created a dedicated structure to welcome and advise fintech companies.
However, let’s make no mistake, France is mainly centered around big players and only time will allow us to equal other countries in terms of openness and experience.
You told that Sogexia “plans to launch several new innovative services […] especially related to the integration of new partners”. Is there anything about new services you may share with our readers right now?
Sure thing, I can tell you that we are currently working hard to provide our customers with very cheap outgoing transfers in different currencies and to be able to customize entirely the design of their card at ordering time.
What other fintech companies in France and other European countries may derive from your experience?
I think that they could derive two things. First one, is that happy customers should be the final goal of every fintech project. We are very attentive to customer feedbacks and to the quality of our customer service and I think that is what allows us to grow fastly. And second one, is that fintech entrepreneurs should never stop fighting. Building a fintech company is still difficult and there are pitfalls all along the way, but one should put every ounce and fiber of their being into it.
Exciting articles several times a month