Statement, the platform comparing card payment providers for small businesses, has launched in the UK following a £1.5m pre-seed funding raise from global VC investor Northzone.

CEO Ed Hardy (ex-Worldpay) and CTO Olivia Stannah (ex-Citymapper), came together to combat unwanted fees and confusion associated with payment provider contracts.

Statement’s price comparison platform gives control back to merchants saving them up to £5,400 annually.

Ed Hardy, CEO of Statement, said: “We all use our cards without a second thought, but accepting card payments has been frustrating for small business owners for far too long.

“90 per cent of contracts are still signed through telesales or field sales making it hard to quickly search the market.

“We’re building the technology to create a more transparent payment industry where businesses can compare and board to their chosen provider online, cutting the process of finding the right provider from days down to minutes.”

Despite the significant benefits, recent data has revealed that 92 per cent of SMB merchants – such as newsagents, restaurants, hairdressers and plumbers – have been with the same payment provider for more than a year, and 66 per cent of merchants don’t know the fees that they are paying to these providers.

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For decades, merchants have found it challenging to compare prices and providers, and have been locked into lengthy contracts for card readers.

The combination of prices hidden behind sales calls and the high costs of switching providers has meant that SMB merchants are often paying 2-3 times the market rate for their payments.

A four-year review of the card acquiring market by the Payment System Regulator (PSR) concluded that the market is ‘not working well’ for the 1.1m SMBs that accept card payments in the UK, resulting in a series of aggressive remedies.

On July 6th, the PSR’s remedies for the SMB payments market come into force.

The remedies force providers to be more transparent with their retail customers, including sending nudges and prompts encouraging businesses to shop around and capping contract lengths at 18 months.

Statement is a key enabling technology in facilitating the PSR’s vision for a fairer payments market, allowing merchants to compare payment providers, and switch in minutes.

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Once businesses upload their most recent merchant statement to Statement’s online platform, its technology automatically pulls the required information to provide a tailored recommendation of payment providers.

Merchants are shown a comparison tool, comparing key metrics that are most important to their business and spending needs such as settlement time, contract length, and monthly charges.

Statement’s £1.5m pre-seed funding was led by Northzone and saw participation from Notion Capital, Triple Point Ventures and TinyVC.

Angels involved include fintech regulars Charlie Songhurst and Chris Adelsbach, as well as alumni from GoCompare, Visa, Worldpay and Stripe.

Northzone is a global venture capital fund and has raised more than 10 funds to date.

It has invested in more than 150 companies, including as iZettle, Trustpilot, Spotify and Klarna.