Internet-based payment platforms still rely too heavily on card payments that limit their reach to Western Europe and North America, according to Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe.
While the world is increasingly shifting online and businesses are, accordingly, opening themselves up to online payments, Collison feels that these currently serve just a small fraction of potential customers.
“There are major infrastructural deficiencies. If you’re in Latin America or China and go to a website, it’s almost guaranteed that you can’t buy from it,” he told the MIT Technology Review.
Stripe creates tools used by developers to take mostly card-based payments from customers via their websites and apps. But Collison is keen to explore more genuinely international forms of payment that cut out Western-centric card payments and increase access in developing nations.
So far, this has included adapting Stripe to support Bitcoin payments, as well as investing $3m into a rival alternative currency, called Stellar.
“Bitcoin has some user experience issues,” said Collison.
“Transactions take minutes to clear. There’s the difficulty of obtaining bitcoins. With Stellar you can use real, normal currencies in addition to digital ones. Transactions clear instantly. We backed this because we’re in favour of anything that seems it might help us build a more ubiquitous, useful commerce infrastructure for the Internet.”
Collison also praised Apple Pay, both for introducing a game-changing innovation to the market and for taking an “aggressive” stance on developing a payment product that prioritises security and privacy, resisting the temptation to use aggregated user data for targeted ads.
“A new, successful, behaviour-altering payments product is a big deal and represents a crack in that frozen ice of the industry and the way things are done,” he said.
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