WePay on Chase Acquisition: “The Same, Only Better”

As WePay Chief Strategy Officer Rich Aberman sees it, there are two primary types of acquisition plays in the payments industry.

First, there’s the kind where one payments company buys another payments company and rolls it into an existing business, for the boost in revenue or transaction volume.

Then, there’s what Chase is doing with its plans to buy WePay.

“Chase is looking to where they think the market’s going to go, thinking about payments as a strategic play – not just for acquiring, but for other financial services – and they are buying a technology and a team to really do something disruptive and transformative over the next 5 to 10 years,” Aberman told PaymentFacilitator.com.

“I think there’s a certain patience and strategic foresight they have brought to the table in wanting to acquire WePay and how they’re allowing us to continue operating independently and protecting what makes us special.”

According to Aberman, who is also a co-founder of WePay, that foresight involves a shift in how merchants, particularly small ones, receive their financial services. He believes that more and more, businesses will look to integrate more of their financial services – not just payments – through the software they’re using to manage their business.

ISVs and their deep knowledge of the customers they serve have changed payments, opening the door for the disruptive approach of payment facilitators. Aberman said he believes that smart approach to risk management – when a provider has a relationship with a business that enables them to understand how it is operating before providing services, as opposed to offering the service cold through a bank channel, will expand to other financial services such as lending and business banking.

“The reality is that we’ve already underwritten this business, we know their identity, we know how their business is performing. So that software is the best place to provide them with financial services,” he said.

But being that type of provider requires not only the technological expertise to build the solution, but also a “certain DNA, of tactical nimbleness and talent,” he said.

“I think Chase kind of looks at where they are, in a market-leading position, but also looks at where the puck is going, and knows that, to compete there, they need a different approach to technology and risk management,” he said.

Aberman said that Chase intends to allow WePay to operate as a subsidiary, an autonomous unit that will continue providing the same services with the same vision it already has, only with the resources to go farther, faster.

From WePay’s point of view, Aberman said, Chase’s ability to invest in WePay’s business will help enable the company to double in size over the next year. The tight connection with a major bank also offers the company deeper access to banking services it already depends on, such as its relationship with the card brands.

Ultimately, he said he doesn’t sees the deal as changing what WePay does, but instead serving to fuel it.

“Our mission, our vision and our strategy aren’t changing, we’re just bringing on a lot more capital and a lot more advantages that the bank brings to bear,” he said.

“So, for our partners and our future partners, these software platforms and ISVs that are looking to integrate payments, we’re going to be a better version of what WePay has always been.”