Leading PFs Stripe, Shopify Expand Offerings with Bets on Lending, Fulfillment

Enabling small businesses to compete more effectively by integrating payments and other business services within a single platform is a hallmark of the payment facilitator model. 

This week, leading PFs Stripe and Shopify again set out to expand their offerings to give their small business customers the resources they need to be competitive.

Stripe has jumped into offering credit with both feet, joining the likes of Square, Paysafe, and other payment facilitators who are leveraging their vast treasure troves of customer data to extend credit. 

This week, the company announced that it is offering corporate cards, simplifying business spending for online businesses. The card offers insights and controls that include real-time reporting and integration with business financial software, Stripe said.

The card announcement follows quickly on the introduction of Stripe Capital. With Stripe Capital, the company said, merchants can avoid a lengthy application process, with funds potentially distributed as soon as the next day. Applications are judged based on the merchant’s history with Stripe, and users repay the loans with a fixed percentage of sales.

“It’s important to think about financial inclusion not just in terms of consumers, but also in terms of businesses. Businesses, especially small businesses and startups, are the engines for job creation in our economy. It should be trivially simple and lightning fast for them to access the capital they need to smooth their cash flow and invest in their own growth.” Will Gaybrick, Stripe’s chief product officer, said in the announcement.

Going in a different direction, Shopify announced this week that it has agreed to acquire 6 River Systems, which provides warehouse automation using robots and AI technology.

“Shopify is taking on fulfillment the same way we’ve approached other commerce challenges, by bringing together the best technology to help everyone compete,” Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify, said in the press release. “With 6 River Systems, we will bring technology and operational efficiencies to companies of all sizes around the world.”

The acquisition represents further investment in the fulfillment capabilities Shopify announced earlier this summer, offering its merchants access to fulfillment centers and inventory management technology through its Shopify Fulfillment Network.

“Shopify is known for having simplified the online shopping experience, and we are now taking this one step further — making the fulfillment systems and technology that used to be reserved for the largest companies in the world accessible and affordable to every merchant, even those just starting to take off,” the company said in a blog post