International Finance
Interview Magazine May-June 2019

Modulr is moving millions of UK SMEs from ‘bank hours only’ payments processing to the digital age

A strategic approach based on value is key to implementation of AI in banking
A tie-up between Sage and UK payments fintech Modulr is bringing much needed innovation to the nation’s payments services

 Sage, a market leader in cloud business management solutions, has partnered with the rapidly growing UK payments fintech startup Modulr, to simplify the task of managing accounts payable and payroll payments for millions of UK small and medium enterprises. In an interview, Myles Stephenson, founder and chief executive of Modulr Finance talks about the company’s partnership with Sage Group and their vision to improve payments services to SMEs.

What is the aim behind SAGE and Modulr joining forces?

Overall, this partnership aims to improve the payments offerings available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and accountants, helping to bring much-needed innovation and competition to the UK SME banking and payments market.

The partnership will do this through Sage Salary and Supplier Payments, powered by Modulr. This new solution gives SMEs access to a secure, automated way to pay employees and suppliers through the Sage platform. It will help them move away from the cumbersome and error-prone batch processing currently required by traditional accountancy and banking methods.

How will this partnership help to strengthen UK’s banking and payments sector?

This partnership will help strengthen the UK’s banking and payments sector by filling a payments automation gap in the sector. Our solution brings some much-needed competition to the space, proving it doesn’t have to take three days or longer to process business payments – they can happen as quickly as P2P or other consumer payments.

What are the key functions delivered by your product for banks and businesses?

This solution provides an alternative to banks, so customers no longer need to use their bank for payments. The primary functions of this solution for businesses will be to automate vital financial processes, like payroll payments, and to automate payments data reconciliation while delivering a service available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Myles Stephenson
Myles Stephenson
Founder and Chief Executive

How does it allow them to manage and secure payments swiftly?

Modulr’s payments-as-a-service API enables partners, like Sage, to quickly, easily, and securely integrate existing core products to automate pay out, simplify pay in, and launch new services. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, we give businesses access to faster, easier, and more reliable end-to-end payment services, all through one simple integration.

How is your product different from the already existing solutions?

We do not have a one-size-fits-all mentality. Our API-first, payments-as-a-service solution is more in line with giving businesses the adaptable and flexible payment solutions that fit their business now and in the future.

The solution provides delegated access for accountants, letting them control and manage payments processing on behalf of their entire client base from one place. Accountants can set up payment accounts for each of their clients instantly, removing the complexity of manually managing multiple clients.

Open banking and the RBS Alternative Remedies Package are creating new opportunities in the market. So, how will your product reinforce SMEs’ competitiveness?

In recent years, SMEs have suffered from an absence of alternatives to existing banking and payments technology, partly due to a lack of technological innovation within the sector. However, with open banking, PSD2, and the RBS Alternative Remedies Package, new innovations like Sage Salary and Supplier Payments are breaking into the sector and providing new opportunities for SMEs to adopt simpler and more effective ways of managing their business and finances.

This reinforces market competitiveness by offering an alternative solution to payroll and supplier payments that gives businesses more choice.

What are the visible benefits for clients adopting your solution?

Clients adopting Modulr’s payments-as-a-service solution will experience many added benefits. Because nearly 60% of SMEs in the UK are currently Sage customers, they can now automate manual payment processes, effectively reducing the costs and time associated with the administration processes required to keep accounts up to date.

Additionally, this solution will allow Sage customers to manage payments in real-time at any time. This transformation will move millions of businesses across the UK away from ‘bank hours only’ payment processing and into the digital age – allowing businesses to manage money in a similar way to consumers.

How has the feedback been so far?

The feedback has been very positive, and customers have lauded the simplicity and speed of the solution.

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