Former City trader Gary Prince has left a 20-year career in mobile payments working for the world’s blue chips to launch Vibe Pay with young entrepreneur Luke Massie.
The payments expert – whose experience includes significant projects with the likes of Barclays, O2, Vodafone, BT, VocaLink and CostaExpress – is going into business with 25-year-old Vibe Tickets boss Luke Massie.
As managing director of Vibe Pay, Prince is spearheading the firm’s mission to make payments simple while offering a guarantee of no fees to its customers.
A payment platform offering direct-to-bank payments to people and businesses, Vibe Pay was founded in early 2018 when changes to open banking legislation allowed regulated businesses to access UK banks’ payments infrastructure.
“I’ve never settled for the status quo,” said Prince. “In 2005, when a big employer told me there was no future in mobile, I knew it was time for me to move on. I have to be moving forward and making progress and I’ve never done that at such a pace as I have at Vibe Pay.
“I live and breathe all things payment and my focus is always on the customer’s perspective. The big players are just not geared up to give consumers what they want.
“Making a payment is secondary – nobody wakes up thinking they want to make payments but they do want to pay for their travel or their fuel and buy a coffee in the simplest and safest way possible.
“That’s what Vibe Pay is about. We don’t shroud things in complicated tech speak or banking jargon – traditional banks do that to try to justify their snail’s pace and to disguise their lack of innovation.
“We just listen to customers, feedback into our engineering team and we make things happen quickly.”
Massie, Vibe Pay’s CEO, said: “We’ve grown Vibe Tickets into a main contender for fans to buy and sell tickets and we listened to our customers when we integrated a third-party payments provider to complete the transactions. It was a hassle and it cost them money.
“It went against everything the Vibe Group stands for. We had no choice but to create our own alternative.
“The changes to open banking legislation, my initial meetings with Gary and the immediate interest from some of the country’s best payments industry techies in what we were doing showed we’d hit on something at the right time.
“The payments market is ripe for disruption. It’s stuck in the dark ages when customers couldn’t choose, they made do with what they were offered. Vibe Pay is revolutionary in that respect.”
According to the UK Card Payments 2017 end-of-year report, almost 14.5 billion debit card transactions were performed in the UK last year, 37 per cent of which were carried out online.
By 2020, Accenture’s Open Banking market report suggests 33 per cent of online debit transactions will be direct from customer bank accounts, representing 1.75 billon transactions with a value of £64.7bn.
Vibe Pay aims to disintermediate debit card payments, removing fee-charging card schemes from the process and allowing consumers to pay merchants in real time, direct from their bank account, reducing online fraud and resulting in better cash flow for merchants who will receive value on funds sooner than via debit cards.
In July 2018 the UK’s Payments Systems Regulator announced a market review into the card acquiring market in the wake of retail industry complaints about spiralling fees and ineffective competition.
Open Banking, which is being adopted widely across the globe, gives customers the choice of who to make payments with for the first time. VibePay’s Open Banking platform will either be launched under the VibePay brand or under licence with an in-country partner.