Real-Time Payments evolution by Robert Kraal of Silverflow
Robert Kraal discussing Real-Time Payments innovation at a Silverflow conference.

Past Present and Future of Payments Processing with Robert Kraal of Silverflow

Episode Overview

Episode Topic:

Welcome to an insightful episode of PayPod. We invent the transformative year of 2019 for the payments industry, focusing particularly on the emergence and integration of Real-Time Payments. Our discussion centers around the innovative steps taken by Robert Kraal in founding Silverflow, and his strategic involvement with Volt and Flow to address and capitalize on the shifting landscape towards Real-Time Payments. This episode sheds light on the challenges and opportunities that come with pioneering in the fast-evolving fintech sector, and how Real-Time Payments are reshaping the way businesses and consumers interact with financial services.

Lessons You’ll Learn:

Throughout this episode, listeners will gain valuable insights into the intricacies of Real-Time Payments, the hurdles of adopting such technologies, and the significant impact they have on the payments and fintech industry. We explore the critical issues legacy processors face in the current technological climate and how companies like Silverflow are distinguishing themselves by leveraging advanced data analytics and offering unparalleled data transparency. The episode also delves into the evolving role of data in enhancing payment processes and how Real-Time Payments are influencing consumer behavior and merchant operations.

About Our Guest:

Robert Kraal, a prominent figure in the fintech world, played a pivotal role in the inception of Silverflow and took on influential positions at Volt and Flow in 2019, a year marked by significant advancements in Real-Time Payments. With a deep-rooted history in the payments industry, our guest brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, discussing the vision behind Silverflow, the mission of Volt in the Real-Time Payments arena, and the broader implications of these technologies on the global financial landscape. His insights into the evolution of payment processing and the strategic importance of data transparency in today’s market are both enlightening and inspiring.

Topics Covered:

This episode covers a broad spectrum of topics related to the fintech and payments industry, with a special focus on Real-Time Payments. We discuss the foundational journey of Silverflow and its mission to address the inefficiencies of legacy payment processors. The conversation also explores Volt’s role in facilitating Real-Time Payments across various territories, the challenges of widespread adoption, and the potential for expansion in response to evolving policy initiatives. Furthermore, we examine the relationship between Real-Time Payments and credit, predicting how the acceleration of payment processes might influence future financial transactions. Lastly, we touch upon the importance of integrations and collaborations in the fintech sector and highlight key trends to watch in 2024, emphasizing the continuous impact of Real-Time Payments on the industry.

Our Guest: Robert Kraal- The Mastermind Behind Real-Time Payments Revolution

Our guest, a visionary in the fintech space, has been instrumental in shaping the future of payments. With a career spanning over two decades, he has witnessed firsthand the evolution of the industry from traditional banking systems to the forefront of fintech innovation. His journey in the financial technology sector began in the late 1990s, a period marked by the internet’s nascent impact on commerce and banking. His early experiences laid a foundation for a career dedicated to simplifying and enhancing payment processes. Notably, his involvement in founding Bibit and later contributions to Worldpay underscore his deep-rooted influence in the field, showcasing a track record of pioneering efforts that have pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in payment processing.

In 2019, a year that stands out as a milestone in his career, he co-founded Silverflow, a testament to his forward-thinking approach to addressing the limitations of legacy payment systems. His insight into the industry’s need for modernization and efficiency led to the creation of a platform designed to revolutionize how businesses handle transactions. Silverflow’s emphasis on data-driven solutions and real-time processing capabilities highlights his commitment to leveraging technology to solve complex challenges. This initiative, coupled with his strategic roles at Volt and Flow Money Automation, illustrates a broad vision for the integration of real-time payments into the global financial ecosystem, aiming to enhance operational efficiency and consumer experience.

Beyond his entrepreneurial achievements, our guest’s thought leadership in the fintech community is widely recognized. His contributions extend beyond company borders, influencing policy, and regulatory discussions around payment innovations and data transparency. His perspectives on the role of data in payment processing and the future of real-time payments reflect a deep understanding of both technological possibilities and market needs. With a focus on creating systems that are not only technologically advanced but also user-centric and compliant with evolving regulations, he continues to play a key role in shaping the future of payments. His insights into the adoption of cloud-based solutions and the importance of data analytics for operational efficiency offer valuable lessons for startups and established players alike in the fintech sector.

Episode Transcript

Robert Kraal: We essentially used a date, and that is a complete differentiation with all the legacy systems. Many of those systems have been designed. The cores of those systems have been designed in the 80s. And at that moment, this whole data question was not an issue. It actually would be almost the other way around. Data requires storage, raw memory, processing capabilities. Everything is expensive. So let’s get rid of as much as data that we don’t need. Make this as slim as possible, and it’s very difficult for those companies to reactively or retroactively implement good data tools. We’ve built that in from the design.

Jacob Hollabaugh:
Welcome to PayPod, the payments industry podcast. Each week, we’ll bring you in-depth conversations with leaders who are shaping the payments and fintech world, from payment processing to risk management, and from new technology to entirely new payment types. If you want to know what’s happening in the world of fintech and payments, you’re in the right place. Hello, everyone. Welcome to PayPod. I’m your host, Jacob Hollabaugh. And today on the show, we are going to be discussing the ever-changing payments landscape as always, but more specifically payment processing, payment speed, and how and where innovation and efficiencies can be built into this world. I’m very pleased to be joined for today’s conversation by Robert Kroll, co-founder of Silverflow, the next evolution in payment technology. Robert, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Robert Kraal: Thank you, Jacob. Thanks for having me here on the show today.

Jacob Hollabaugh: The pleasure is mine. And before we dive into the world of payment processing and Silverflow and everything else, I start getting into that, I want to go back. If you’re willing to go down memory lane with me to 2019 because, by the looks of it, it was quite the year of change for you. You not only co-founded Silverflow in 2019, but then you took on a couple of different board positions, chairman of the board with Volt, and board position with Flow Money Automation. So you were really going all in on the payments landscape between joining a couple of companies and an advisor role, co-founding a company with Silverflow. So what was it back in 2019? What were you seeing in the payments landscape that you know made you want to start Silverflow first, but also just to get to really dive in the way that you did in this world, what was so attractive or what was changing, what was the opportunity you saw in the payments world that led to all of this change for you and all these new roles?

Robert Kraal: Well, it’s a very good question. I’ve been working in the fintech environment since the late 90s, so I do have a little bit of years before 2019 as well. I was part of, the team that founded Bibit, which we sold to Bank of Scotland and renamed RBS Worldpay. Well, that’s the Worldpay that you know today. I also spent some time at Google at a few other payment companies. And, back early stages, my old buddies from Bibit asked me to join that company as well as a CEO and responsible for their financial strategy partner team. So, of course, I then went public in 2018. That was an amazing trip that we all made with Agenda’s fantastic company. Then at a certain moment, you’re sort of addicted to both the startup life, to the payment life. And as a result of that, you see, with the experience that you have, whereas the market going, where are the gaps in the market, what are the new trends in the market? And one of them that we saw was Silverflow. And maybe we can talk a little bit later about where the actual idea came from. But the other one, which was more or less at the same time, is actually the, yeah, the open banking, the real-time payment infrastructure, primarily led in Europe by regulatory changes. Of course, that made it all possible. But those things came together and yeah, that was a good moment for me to jump in a few of those new, new trends on the one side and opportunities that I saw on the other side.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, it’s amazing. And especially with, you know, I feel like it’s sometimes nice in life in general within a career to have such easily definable chapters where and this is obviously pretty clearly a new chapter that began in a long, very successful career that you’ve had. Let’s dive into Silverflow then, and the world of payment processing. So if you’re co-founding a company in the space, it must be something you see being not done as well as you could. And you alluded to, there being a story of where the idea came from. So what what was the original idea? What were you seeing in the market that you thought, that’s the spot we should go into and do something, and what are the main issues? Basically, you saw with legacy processors, the tech stacks there working on that you thought we could do differently, better? Where did Silverflow come from?

Robert Kraal: No, absolutely. So I’m going to take you a little bit back in history at my job at Adyen. So, I was responsible for getting the acquirer licenses for Adyen. This was made possible by regulatory changes in Europe. So Payment Services Directive, you need to have a regulatory license. And as a result of that, we said okay that’s an opportunity to contact Visa Mastercard directly and see if we can actually become an acquirer. Well, that’s a process that mostly has to do with regulatory issues, risk management, compliance, stuff like that, how you bought your customers. But once you have that license, once you’re in the process, you know, you will get it. There’s another challenge. And that challenge is how I technically connect to the card networks. And at that moment, we looked at several players who were there in the market. they were not bad, but many of them were a bit outdated. We would see legacy systems. They did not provide the speed of innovation. Quite often their data proposition would be weak, reporting would be not as accurate, etc. So we didn’t really like any of them. So we decided to build it ourselves at Adyen back in the day, that was the only choice. So the choice was to go with either one of the legacy systems or to build it yourself. Well, fast forward to today, and what we see is the trend that was set back in 2010 ish of payment providers becoming an acquirer, has grown significantly. So there are more acquirers coming up, new acquirers coming up, not necessarily in the US. We can touch on how that landscape differs from Europe, for instance. But we also see many other countries across the globe think of Southeast Asia, Latam, that the regulatory framework makes it easier for companies to become acquirers. And all those new acquirers. They have the same challenge. They need to have the technology to connect to the card networks. And we saw that across the globe, pretty much all those players that you can find, are decades old. So quite often they literally date back to the 80s, some of them to the 70s, a few of them to the 90s, and essentially as a new acquirer, you have the option to go with any of those legacy systems. You also still have the option to build it yourself. But trust me, it’s not an easy thing to do. And we wanted a third flavor, let’s say a brand new motor style acquirer processing platform. And our customers indeed are companies that have they typically have their own acquirer licenses. And we wanted to make that whole process and everything around it, much simpler, much more innovative, etc.. So that’s where the idea comes from. That’s what we thought in 2019. It’s the right moment. It’s the right time. Let’s start this new journey. And this is where we are today.

Jacob Hollabaugh: That’s amazing. And yeah, that’s fairly how the industry has gone within all the different parts of it. You were in the fortunate position to be at a company that was one of the few that could actually say, hey, we could build this internally and then spin it off and turn it into its own thing, which is that big decision point that so many come up against. these legacy systems aren’t that great, but it’s going to cost a lot to do it on our own. And so that’s why you still see the lag time in how many people continue to go with the legacy systems because the cost and the idea of doing it on your own is so prohibitive. But then thankfully, someone like yourself comes along and says, we actually will step up to the plate and do it. And I know you’re at this point now all the way here in present-day 2024. You’re not alone in attempting to do this. It is a very crowded industry between all the legacy systems that are still holding on and trying to patch things here and there to keep up somewhat with the times, although they’re always still years behind. But I like to think they’re getting a little closer as far as how many years behind. Maybe they’re slowly but surely catching up, but never actually going to quite get there. But it is a crowded industry, and you do have to continually differentiate yourself, not just at the outset, but then as you build others sure have tried to follow your new model. So how is it that you now differentiate yourself between potential new competitors and just overall working in a space that is so crowded and that has so many legacy systems? How do you just cut through the noise of the industry to actually get people convinced? Like if you actually look, if you actually talk to me, we are very different. I’m assuming that’s a hard process to do. It takes a lot more than just our product is better. People will find us and come to us.

Robert Kraal: Well, it depends a bit on who you’re talking to. So if you’re talking to a company that just received their own acquiring licenses, which is not so common in the US, I realize that, but it’s reasonably common in Europe and other regions across the globe. They have to make this decision. So they sort of are confronted with either I go with a legacy system or I build it myself, or I want to have a modern new system. Well, the legacy system, no matter how you put it, takes a lot of time to integrate. Typically, these integration times will take two years, one and a half to two years, sometimes even longer. And there’s also a sort of cost involved in those two-year projects. Building it yourself probably will take you even longer. Think of three, four years, etc. and then you still have a basic product. So there’s also the amount of costs involved. So what we’ve actually said from the start is we’re going to differentiate on three different things. So one is the ease of use. And that is both the ease of going live as a new acquirer. And just to give you an indication, our quickest acquirer went live in six weeks and that included commercial negotiations, the integration to us, the configuration towards the card works, the end-to-end testing, and all types of certification that were needed. So the whole set from picking up the phone to the first live transaction in six weeks. Well, this is the quickest. That is not on average. On average, they take a few months. Let’s put it that way. If you would go with any of the legacy systems, 18, 20, 24 months, or even more in some cases, but also once you are live, you have your daily operational activity. So think of boarding new merchants, doing your financial reconciliation, and working with disputes, and chargebacks. You have to make estimates on the interchange fees, card scheme fees, and currency conversion fees. You have to do settlement forecasting. When do you actually receive the money from the card networks, etc. and we do that whole operational part considerably simpler? Well, what does it mean? Essentially, you need fewer people on your daily operations as an acquirer and your accuracy goes up. Because we automate a lot of these processes, not 100% automated, but to a very large degree, we can automate the reconciliation that it actually matches. We can do that financial forecasting that it matches. We can help you with disputes, even if they’re smaller amounts of disputes because we automate the dispute defense, etc. And let’s say from an economic perspective. And a more interesting way to handle your transactional operations with a higher accuracy as well. And how do we do that? Well, we’ve designed our system to be a data system first. So yes, we use data for simple things like conversion optimization, we use it for risk and fraud, etc. so that’s what many other companies do. But we also use all the data that we can get from the networks and our customers to actually help that, to build these processes, to build your whole operations simpler, we essentially use that data and that is a complete differentiation with all the legacy systems. Many of those systems have been designed. The cores of those systems have been designed in the 80s. And at that moment, this whole data question was not an issue. It actually would be almost the other way around. Data requires storage, RAM, memory, and processing capabilities. Everything is expensive. So let’s get rid of as much data that we don’t need, and make this as slim as possible, and it’s very difficult for those companies to reactively or retroactively implement good data tools. We’ve built that in from the design. Well, on the third one, of course, is around new products. We have a brand new tech stack. So if there is new functionality, either that we want that our customers ask or that the card networks themselves ask or introduce, in our case, you’re talking about implementation times of a few weeks, maybe a few months if it’s more complex, including certification, where if you go to those legacy systems, yeah, quite often it can easily take years before they launch new innovation. And if you’re a customer and you have a request, give me a custom report, yeah, quite often either it’s very expensive or it’s still going to take a long time. So that’s how we differentiate compared to many of those legacy players. And that works particularly well for let’s say, a high-growth, very innovative payment providers. But we have other type of customers as well, which obviously like what we’re doing.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, absolutely. And especially the last point you touched on there of when it’s not just the time it would take to work with a legacy provider upfront, you then have to consider, in this ever-evolving world, a lot of innovation going on the next week something’s going to come up, you’re like, we need to be able to integrate with this. If we just spent two years integrating with the legacy system. Hey, can you can you add this in? We can maybe, but it’s going to take another year or whatnot. And so that’s really a consideration people have to consider going forward is it’s not just the speed of implementing the one thing, it’s how fast can that thing then implement with everything else that we’re going to continually have to be adding in here. You also reference, and I’m glad you did, how you approach data differently which leads to a couple of questions for me. The first being a little more high level within your career, how you’ve seen the role of data change in the world of payments and the world of finance and the world in general? I’ve found the anecdote you used, which is really funny for people to think about now that there would have ever been a world where the goal was to get rid of our data because it’s too costly to have it in that. In 2024, it’s wild to think you would want to get rid of data because it’s such a polar opposite world. So how have you just seen the role of data change and the power of data and harnessing it change over the course of your career in the fintech space and now in the payments space?

Robert Kraal: Well, it has changed enormously. When I started in the fintech in the late 90s, essentially, you were bound to the banks, the acquirers who were using these legacy systems and nobody really thought of data in the first place. So it was not that we were thinking about it and we wanted it and we couldn’t get it. No, it was just just a thing. But if you start a payment service provider, back in the 90s, we were working with multiple acquirers at the same time. And one of them is for resilience. If one of them is down, you need to have a second and a third channel to sort of make sure that you can still handle the payments, completely different back in those days because of different types of regulation and little less control from a compliance point of view. But it happens. And at a certain moment you start seeing and say, hey, but we see a different behavior between those acquirers. We see that one acquirer has better conversion compared to the other. And can we configure that? Can we understand why that is? Well, quite often has to do with the way how they flag transactions. So there are really technical things sometimes that have to do with risk settings, all types of different settings. And if you’ve done that for a couple of times you sort of start to say, okay, listen. But what is good for my customers? Well, that’s to get the best conversion. So I want to make sure that I send my transaction particular to that acquirer who has a high, success rate. But what you also find out is that if it happens to be caused by risk management solutions, you may get a high conversion, but you might also get higher disputes or chargeback ratios because their risk system essentially you’re optimizing on, let’s say, the weakest risk system, which is also not what you want. So at that moment, we started to develop a sense and say, okay, it actually does matter where you send this transaction to from a conversion point of view, which of course, you want to maximize, but also from a chargeback and dispute and fraud point of view, which you want to minimize. And that is where the original thought came from and say, okay, listen, we need to start monitoring this. We need to start benchmarking this. We need to see how we can optimize all this. Well, in the early days, and that is Worldpay today, very early stage, we had a little bit of that. So we got the first ideas, the first insight. And we did a little bit of that to optimize that. But nothing compared to the systems that you have today simply because the data was very limited. At Agenda, which is a number of years later, of course, we knew this game. So we said, okay, listen, this should be an elemental part of what we’re actually doing. We want to get that data. We know exactly what we want. Particularly when we were designing our own acquiring and our own processing platform and our own risk system. Of course, we used other acquirers as a benchmark. We would say, okay, listen, our own system should perform at all locations better, both in terms of conversion as well as risk. And if you’re an acquirer yourself, you’re also optimizing on things like scheme fees, interchange fees, maybe conversion fees, etc. So that’s also the element of the day. In my journey, I’ve seen that from essentially using other systems that give limited data. But you put an overlay layer and you sort of try to compare the different sets of data to when you’re going to do it yourself. Yeah, you can use that benchmark of other systems, other acquirers with your own system, which of course is much better. And today data essentially is so key to your product. Storage doesn’t cost anything anymore. Run memory processing, it’s just so cheap that it would be stupid not to at least keep and collect that data and try to transform that into usable and usable pieces of information. And that’s of course, what we do now. So my opinion has completely changed in all aspects, not just on conversion, not just on risk management, but what I mentioned, we also use it to optimize internal operational processes, for instance.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, it’s a data-driven world that we all live in now regardless of obviously in the financial world and payments world, but it’s we’re not alone is not the only industry that is a worldwide industry, every industry, all of commerce. It’s a data-driven world. One other thing you referenced, you do use data a little differently is one of the things that differentiates Silverflow. And I saw it, you give clients full and consistent data transparency. And I don’t think that’s the norm. Tell me if I’m wrong is that the norm in the industry, or is that something that is one of those really differentiating factors for you? And what led to that decision, and how do you think about using data for the benefit of your end consumers as well?

Robert Kraal: So, no. I don’t think it’s the norm. I don’t think that companies do not want to share the data because our view is we provide a technological platform to our customers and our customers, our acquirers. So it is their data. they have the right to look at the data and get access to it. So yes, we collect the data, we put it into, let’s say, pieces of information where they actually can work with it. We translate it into tools for ourselves, tools for our acquirers so they can actually work with it. I don’t think that many of the legacy systems don’t want to share that data, but they just don’t have the tools to share that data. So they’ve made decisions in the past, and quite often it’s the core of their platform that just doesn’t collect all the relative data. So they cannot really pass it on. And that’s why. Acquires using legacy systems. They see a subset of the data. And of course, there has been innovation there as well. But it’s very complex for these companies to actually go back to their old COBOL core and suddenly create fantastic data systems. They would actually need to upgrade their system from the bottom up essentially. So think of how you can make a modern platform. And that is very complex for those companies. So I don’t think it’s that they don’t want it or that they want to keep it for themselves. I think it’s more limited to what they can do. If you look at other players, I think, for instance, of the likes of Adyen or Stripe or checkouts, they provide also a set of data to their merchants. Their customers would be the merchants and not typically our customers. Our customers would be the acquirers. So yes, they give in different form sets of data. But they give data that belongs to the merchant. And that is a different set of data than what they use internally for their own systems because they’re also an acquirer themselves. So there’s a difference between what they see for themselves and what they give back to their customers. We’re typically very transparent in that.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, absolutely. I love to hear that. And if we can pivot here now, I’d love to ask you a little about real-time payments. It’s been a big topic, on this show over the course of the last year. I didn’t say up front, but for those listening, we’ve got listeners all over the world, but a lot of listeners across Europe and in the States. And so you’re, of course, in Europe. I’m here in the States, and we do have a little bit different perspective on how we get to interact with real-time payments, as always, in this world lagging behind a little in the States. But, one of the companies, Volt that you are the chairman of the board, is a real-time payments company. And I’m sure you’ve interacted regardless in all the different facets you’ve worked with in the payments world. You’ve interacted with this idea and seen some of the innovation in this world take place. In your time in the industry, what have you seen as the biggest hurdles to real-time payments being adopted faster? Because consumers seemingly have wanted this forever. Just as a consumer, I’ve never been young enough to have been able to foresee that would be possible and only ever existed really with digital banking. But I’ve always wanted it. Most consumers, if you ask them, yes, we would like it to be instant. It’s annoying, you know, all the processing times, all the different things. None of it makes sense to us just if I’m swiping a card or anything at checkout. So have there been regulatory issues? Are the biggest technological infrastructure needing to get advanced entrenched companies throwing up roadblocks? The legacy stuff we talked about before, all the above, something else. What have been the biggest hurdles to payments being made faster over the course of your career?

Robert Kraal: Well, I think it’s a combination. So particularly if you look at this aspect of the payments. So yes, the regulatory changes and this depends on the market. There are banks who really want to support it because they see it as a valid model. There are also countries or regions such as Europe that say, okay, listen, this will be a regulatory requirement for everybody. You need to support it. And those are different. So if you’re a bank and you really want to be on top of this and be very innovative, you probably have a very good solution. If you are forced to build this functionality because regulation says so, you might have a slightly different angle to it. You say, okay, I’m going to build it, but I’m going to build the minimum of it. So regulation, it helps because everybody has to work on providing that in that particular uh region where the regulation applies. What is more important is actually the technology that the banks use quite often. The banks may build a fancy interface for real-time payments, but on the back end, you’re still connected to all their back-end systems, and they can be very complex as well. So for those banks, quite often from a technical point of view, it’s quite complex. It can be quite complex to actually upgrade their internal systems. So the system that we don’t really see to be real-time as well, and those are massive overhauls of technology and that takes time. So in general banks, they are doing that. But many banks I think have taken a sort of shortcut. We make the interfaces work, but we do not really care that much about, let’s say, the uptime or the actual speed, etc., Simply because we need to upgrade the back end of our system. And as you know, those banks have complex systems, so that takes a while, it’s quite expensive, etc. There’s another element as well who’s going to pay for all of this? And so yes, the banks need to invest in the technology. Normally you would say, okay, you can recover that from a fee per transaction, etc., but the math should work for that particular bank. Otherwise, it’s quite an expensive, project. So those could also be considerations etc.. But what’s what we see overall is that it works pretty well in a lot of markets. But you can sort of see if you do your data analysis again, which banks use more modern systems, which banks use a little bit older internal banking systems? You can also see which banks are really working on, even if you don’t really have the communication with their their tech teams. But you can measure, how good their systems are improving over the last couple of years. So how seriously they take. And that’s also again, a data play. But that’s sort of how I look at that market.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Okay. Wonderful. And let’s imagine a future, it is the trend is at least moving towards it how fast different markets get there can be debated and everything, and we will see. But let’s imagine a future where real-time payments are the norm there. They’re what’s offered by everyone. What’s the relationship that you see between real-time payments and credit? because if in a future where a majority of payments are happening in real time, does that diminish the value offered by credit options? Does that enhance them? Does it actually change at the point of sale at all? What types of payments or where people are making payments from? What do you see being the relationship there between the speed of the payments and the actual options, how they’re paying, using credit, using or not using credit, etc.?

Robert Kraal: Yeah. So I think if you look at consumer behavior, how consumers pay, whether it’s a web store or a physical store, and for them there’s no real benefit of having a real-time payment, they don’t see the difference. So I think consumers, they are looking at what’s in it for me. To be stupid, which can be “ease of use”. It can be convenient, it can be protection against fraud, those types of things. But they don’t care about the speed of settlement. It would be the retailers who would be concerned about that, or who might want to have that. But most consumers will choose the way they want to pay, which could be open banking, or real-time payments, which could be cards, which could be any other alternative payment method. But that is typically what you see. If you look at the consumer, they have their preferred payment method. So in some countries, think of Brazil with Pix launched. Of course, there was not really a big alternative. Before Pix was successful, we had Pagamento Boleto. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the payment method, but it was not “ease of use”, let’s put it that way. Many Brazilian people didn’t have international cards, they had domestic cards, etc. So there was a gap essentially, and Pix made it very simple and as a result, that whole market, of course, went crazy in a very short time frame. If you look at other markets, think of the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, we have a domestic payment method called Ideal, which is seen as the domestic national first choice. I would say there are benefits. There are also disadvantages, in my opinion, as a payment professional, but it’s used a lot. So I think that where for retailers, there surely are enormous advantages to having access in real-time to your money. In peer-to-peer situations, if you pay, if we pay to each other as well, but from a consumer point of view, if you’re buying something at any retailer, whether it be online or offline, yeah, it’s questionable if people really change their behavior in the market where there’s nothing. Yes, for sure they will move over to Pix in the market in the Netherlands where actually people prefer Ideal. It could be questionable how how big it will get in markets such as the US which is, let’s be honest, very credit card-focused. People will need to change their behavior. They will need to see the benefit of using this new payment method over the other payment method. And I think this will be, different per industry, per vertical. So there will be verticals where it gets very popular. And, in the peer-to-peer situation, for instance, or in certain, let’s say groups or other age or whatever groups that you see, like enormous uplift, but there will also be a lot of people across the globe that say, well, my preferred payment method is X. And yeah, I don’t really see the advantage for me as a consumer to move over. Then you might have retailers who want to push certain payment methods for sure, so they can give advantages. If you use open banking or real-time payments, I give you a little discount or they can do that in the pricing if it’s allowed. So I think those new payment methods will coexist. I don’t think that open banking will completely wipe out cards or vice versa. It will get its own position and it will be a decent position in the market. And that’s of course why I’m confident in that one.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Love it. Yeah, very interesting stuff. The final thing then that we’ll wrap up with is, as you look a little to the future with Silverflow and the payments world in general, is there any trend that stands out to you that you are keeping an eye on in 2024, that you feel like you need to stay in front of to be successful in the industry or any big new adventures either new markets, new products, anything for Silverflow like that. What do the next couple of years in the payments world look like for you?

Robert Kraal: Well, what we would like to demonstrate over the next couple of years is that our platform actually can help acquirers across the globe. So at this moment, most of our customers are scattered all over Europe, in different countries, and in North America, we have a number of countries in the APAC region, including complex countries such as Indonesia, and the Philippines. So they’re not typically the tier one countries. But from a product point of view, we would like to see, okay, with this new type of product, you can actually reach acquirers markets in pretty much every country. And we know there are very complex countries and many of the existing players, they can’t do that. And why can’t they do that? Well, many of those countries have data privacy regulations. Quite often payment data is seen as sensitive data. So you need to have special protection. Quite often they demand that the data be stored on soil. Sometimes they even demand that it’s in transport, also on soil. We’ve designed our system to be a cloud-native system, so we can very easily adapt to those changes. Not in every market, because not every market has their domestic cloud stuff, etc. But in a lot of markets, we can very easily adapt to the local data privacy regulatory questions which require, of course, demand from us. They need to be compliant. So we need to be compliant. And this is something that I think will be for us, definitely a big advantage. The legacy players simply can’t do that. They work with, let’s say, traditional data centers. So it’s too expensive to go into, let’s say all those markets, but also other models. They probably will use the web, cloud-based solutions to speed up their internationalization. And whether it’s us or whether it will otherwise this whole cloud phase and 15 years ago, there was sort of early adoption of the cloud, but it was not seen in the fintech world as reliable, secure, stable enough. There were a lot of question marks around data privacy, etc. and let’s say valuable data from the banks if you would want to store them in the cloud, but there’s been so much development there. So I think that purely the fact that this cloud has become more mature, that more companies will use that and be able to spread their products across the globe much quicker, just like we’re doing.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Love it. It’s fascinating stuff. And Robert, this has been a real pleasure of a conversation. For those who would want to learn more about Silverflow, or maybe get in touch with you, or be able to follow you in the company’s journey, where would be the best place for them to go?

Robert Kraal: Well, you can follow me on LinkedIn, but of course, our website and you can also follow Silverflow on LinkedIn. Those probably would be the easiest channels, but if you have specific questions, you can always reach me directly, reach out, connect directly, and either I or sor omebody on my team will give you more information, help you, and answer your questions.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Wonderful. We will link to those and more in the show notes below. Robert, thank you so much for your time and knowledge today. I’ve greatly enjoyed it and hope to speak again sometime soon.

Robert Kraal: Thank you, Jacob.

Jacob Hollabaugh: If you enjoyed this episode and want to hear more, head on over to to subscribe on your podcast listening platform of choice. That’s