Podcast October 20, 2020

How to enter the global payments landscape strategically

International payments has been a hot topic for a long time.

But for those blazing new trails, there’s a lot to consider.

What do you prioritize before hitting the market?

To answer this question, I chat with Alex Arnold, Founder at Dunbridge Financial, to find out the most important considerations he had before launching earlier this year.

Alex explains:

  • Why traditional banks are deficient (and sluggish) on payments
  • The 3 key go-to-market considerations for Dunbridge
  • How to plan ahead and grow the right way

Solving a problem

When Alex looked at the financial market in North America, he saw some deficiencies in the products offered by other FX and international payments companies and the traditional banking system.

And of course, before you ever even think about going to market, you need a product — which means you need a problem to solve.

Carving a niche

For Alex, his experience working with corporates and individuals in North America made him acutely attuned to the pain points in accounts payable, accounts receivable and international payments.

Paying overseas is extremely complicated. And not a lot of companies have been able to tackle the problem.

As a result, the issue is often overlooked or forgotten.

Finding so critical — especially as more and more business is being done international — neglected was the perfect sign that there was a market to capture.

The competition

One of the main reasons the problem went unsolved for so long is not just its complexity, but the complexity of those one would expect to solve it.

Namely, the traditional core banking platform.

“If you change one thing in a core banking platform, you’re changing a hundred other things. ” — Alex Arnold

Very few of the major banks in North America have invested in a payments product because their systems are decades-old and incredibly complex.

Their sitting on mountains of technical debt and updating their systems adds more time and difficulty to solving what is already a challenging problem.

When it comes to payments, the tortoise rarely beats the hare.

The 3 key considerations

Once you have a problem to solve, it’s time to solve it right?

Well, how you approach the market matters. You may have a great idea, but if you execute poorly, you’re not going to be solving anything any time soon.

So, what did Alex prioritize?


Alex saw technology as one of the primary differentiators for the company.

And getting the most advanced technology into an integrated platform that does several things in the FX and payments space meant one thing:

The right technology partner.

“Going to market without the right technology partner and the right platform is a non-starter for us.” — Alex Arnold

For the platform to really see success then two things needed to happen:

  1. The platform needed to save people money.
  2. The platform needed to be better than what people were already using.

The best way to achieve savings and superior customer service was to make sure the technology was flawless and the right partner could help Dunbridge deliver.

Educating businesses

When you are trying to pioneer a new niche, it’s vital that you educate your potential customers on what you are doing.

You may have the greatest innovation since the wheel, but if people don’t know about it or understand what it does, they aren’t going to buy.

The onus is on you to educate your market.

Partnerships and customer acquisition

Seeking out companies with which to partner was a top priority.

Specifically, companies with a large international user base — whether that be CPAs, tax lawyers or financial institutions.

In keeping with the education component, these companies represent the best opportunity to get the word out and grow Dunbridge’s user base.

Planning your growth

Meticulously planning how you get to market also means looking to what you do once you get there.

And that means controlling costs.

“You’ve got to plan correctly to grow correctly. ” — Alex Arnold

For Alex, running lean is the name of the game. Managing costs effectively is the best way to pass savings onto the consumers.

He doesn’t want Dunbridge to find itself in a situation where its growth means raising prices. If that were to happen, their product immediately becomes less attractive.

If you run a lean and effective company, you never have to worry about becoming a victim of your own success.

To ensure that you never miss an episode of Payments Innovation, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or here and don’t forget to check out our YouTube!

Until next time!

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