Riga-based Paymentology CEO Jeff Parker: “We are strategically planning to further solidify and expand our company's presence in the Baltic region”

  • 2024-02-13
  • Linas Jegelevicius

Paymentology, a leading global issuer processor that equips banks, fintechs, and enterprises with the technology and expertise needed to issue and process any type of physical or virtual card worldwide, is welcoming its new CEO, Jeff Parker. “As the new CEO of Paymentology, I'm excited to take on this role because of the opportunities it presents in the global payments sector. For the last 10 years, I've witnessed the dynamic nature of fintech and payments, and more recently I have seen how exciting the opportunities are within issuer processing as we see the evolution of card payments, recognising them as rich grounds for driving financial innovation across the fintech ecosystem,” J. Parker told The Baltic Times.

Why are you accepting the role as the new CEO of Paymentology?

My experience in the payments industry has provided me with valuable insights into the diverse needs and preferences of different regions. There's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to financial transactions, and I'm keen to leverage this knowledge to tailor our offerings to meet the specific requirements of various markets. The evolving landscape of card payments is particularly interesting, with different regions adopting advanced approaches at varying paces. From the rapid adoption of instant payment solutions in mature markets, to the proliferation of card-based systems in developing economies, and the adoption of tokenisation services there's a wealth of opportunities for growth and innovation.

At Paymentology, I see the chance to lead an organisation that has already established itself as a global leader in the payments industry with an incredible footprint in over 50 countries extending as far as Australia to Mexico! By harnessing our unique value proposition and leveraging emerging technologies such as virtual cards, digital wallets, and tokenization mechanisms, we can continue to drive convenience and security in financial transactions for customers around the world. Joining Paymentology in December was just the beginning of this exciting journey, and I look forward to working with our talented team and our clients to capitalise on these opportunities and drive the company's success forward.

What is Paymentology all about?

Paymentology is a leading global issuer processor that equips banks, fintechs, and enterprises with the technology and expertise needed to issue and process any type of physical or virtual card worldwide. In essence, we empower organisations to implement next-generation payment solutions globally. 

As an issuer processor, we serve as the vital link between issuers, schemes and third-party providers, connecting all rails to ensure a payment transition goes through efficiently, securely and quickly, facilitating the seamless exchange of customer data and overseeing transactions. Think of us as the essential infrastructure that manages the flow of payments, data and decisions between issuers and the payment scheme, ensuring smooth and efficient card issuance and transaction processing.

Objectively, where does it stand out in the field?

Paymentology stands out among similar service providers in several key areas. 

Firstly, our company is highly international with team members in nearly every country where our customers operate. You might have processors with a strong base in the US or Europe but a limited reach in other markets. Paymentology stands out for our local expertise serving institutions and clients in over 50 countries, making us a preferred partner for institutions and fintechs seeking to expand globally.

Secondly, Paymentology's platform is built on modern APIs and designed with an ecosystemic approach, empowering clients to connect seamlessly with issuers, schemes, and third-party partners. This flexibility allows for the creation of innovative next-generation products, hybrid card offerings, and customisable rules without requiring technical expertise.

Furthermore, as one of the early adopters of cloud-based issuing processing, Paymentology leads the industry with its SaaS next-gen platform. This cloud-first approach enables rapid deployment of payment services, reducing time to market and lowering costs for our clients. Additionally, our platform facilitates real-time data analytics, robust fraud detection, and data-driven decision-making, enhancing operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

What experience you received as the former SVP and managing director of Marqeta you deem valuable for Paymentology too?

My tenure at Marqeta provided me with invaluable experience that I believe will greatly benefit Paymentology as it continues to expand its presence globally. At Marqeta, I spearheaded market expansion efforts in Europe and APAC. This experience equipped me with a much better understanding of both the issuer processing industry and key needs of customers wanting to launch and run card programs. 

Furthermore, my previous role as CEO at World First allowed me to gain firsthand experience in leading a global organisation through expansion initiatives across multiple time zones. This experience helped me understand the complexities involved in expanding into diverse regions with unique regulatory environments and cultural landscapes. During my time with World First, I successfully navigated the challenges of international expansion and witnessed the rewards that come with strategic growth efforts. Notably, my leadership in Hong Kong at World First resulted in the successful entry into new markets and culminated in the company's acquisition by Ant Group. 

Can you, please, speak of the Paymentology clientele?

The clientele of Paymentology represents a blend of pioneering fintechs, innovative banks, and forward-thinking enterprises that serve as inspirations within the industry. Among our clients are prominent names such as Mox by Standard Chartered Bank, Wio, Agoda, Safaricom, Orange, and Vodafone. These organisations have differentiated themselves, with our support, by deploying dynamic card products, whether virtual or physical, that address critical challenges for consumers and businesses in their respective markets.

What sets our clientele apart is their rapid growth and pursuit of innovation. Many of the fintechs we serve have experienced impressive growth trajectories, evolving into unicorns or transforming into established institutions seeking to remain competitive in the industry. Despite the diversity among our clients, a common thread unites them all: a shared commitment to improving financial services for consumers and businesses, regardless of geographical location or industry sector. This dedication to innovation and customer-centricity highlights the essence of our client relationships.

How is Paymentology likely to change the fintech/financial services scene in Latvia?

The Latvian Central Bank’s innovation hub represents a firm commitment to transforming the financial industry, and we are excited to be involved with the burgeoning fintech ecosystem as new and innovative technologies come to market. 

Riga is a key hub for us, with a team of over 30 highly skilled people based there. As such, we are poised to partner with Latvian fintechs, banks, and other businesses to deploy our market-leading payments infrastructure, enabling them to accelerate their product development and growth. The Paymentology team is always excited by entrepreneurs who are trying something new in the often-rigid finance industry, and we have experience in helping these disruptors scale across industries and borders.

Are you planning to expand the company's Baltic position?

We are strategically planning to further solidify and expand our company's presence in the Baltic region. Over the past two years, Paymentology has experienced significant growth globally, which has necessitated a corresponding expansion in various regions, including the Baltics. 

One of the key factors driving our decision to focus on Latvia for critical operations is the presence of a highly skilled and talented team on the ground. Our current team in the Baltics possesses exceptional expertise, particularly in the areas of virtual payments and security. This existing talent pool provides us with a strong foundation upon which to build and grow our operations in the region.

Will Paymentology open branches in the other two Baltic states, Lithuania and Estonia?

While we currently do not have immediate plans to establish physical offices in Lithuania and Estonia, we maintain a flexible and adaptive approach to our business model. At present, Paymentology operates with a remote business model alongside strategic hubs, which enables us to leverage talent globally and effectively serve our clients across regions, including the Baltics and the Nordics. Our primary focus remains on sourcing highly specialised payment skills, regardless of geographic location. If there are individuals with the requisite expertise in Lithuania, Estonia, or other countries, we are open to hiring them to strengthen our team and better serve our clients' needs in those regions.

Have you been to the Baltics before? If yes, what do you admire about it?

The Baltics are rich in history and its people have a remarkable resilience, helping them to become very entrepreneurial. As a result, the region has an incredible and well-earned reputation for building amazing technologies. The Baltics punches above its weight when you consider the size of each country. Estonia alone has ten $1 billion dollar tech startups, which  is incredible when you consider that on a per-capita basis that represents the highest concentration of unicorns of any country in Europe. Meanwhile, Lithuania has a leading fintech ecosystem with nearly 300 fintech companies and the most licensed payment or electronic money institutions in the European Economic Area. And Latvia, which has developed an impressive fintech ecosystem of its own, boasts organisations like Sun Finance which has become one of the fastest growing companies in Europe. There are a lot of opportunities in this region, and we are excited to explore them.