Future of financial operations: Interview with Orkhan Abdullayev

Fintech is great. So many new possibilities and features for businesses, from payments to banking solutions. Absolutely awesome. Until it is not. As businesses scale, their financial operations tend to become really complex. How do you manage all that complexity? Fintech Review asked a few questions to Orkhan Abdullayev, CEO and Co-founder of Payrails, on what is next for managing financial operations.

Tell us more about Payrails. What is your elevator pitch?

Payrails is an operating system for payments and financial services tailored to enterprise clients. With Payrails, businesses can leverage a single Application Programming Interface (API) to scale their payments and financial capabilities. They can do so via smart payment routing, consolidated money movements, and payment reconciliation via ledgers.

At the same time, enterprise clients can track their payments’ performance through unified analytics. This is providing more control and visibility over a company’s financial operations and helping to reduce payment fraud

What is your background and what is the story behind the company?

I have been building payment systems for global businesses my entire career. I started my career at foodpanda- the company  was building a food delivery marketplace in emerging markets across 50+ countries. It was the first time we realised the importance of being able to offer different payment methods to customers. Ultimately to ensure  superior customer experience and to build a sustainable business model with cash-flow control.

Emre, Nico, and I have been working together for several years at Delivery Hero building and scaling the FinTech arm of the company across 30 countries. This opportunity gave us valuable learnings and a deeper understanding of the challenges international merchants face.  We then decided to launch Payrails to tackle these challenges.

How is the digital payments market evolving?

Digital payments is the largest opportunity in FinTech and is expected to reach $2.9 trillion by 2030, according to- a BCG Global Payments 2021 report. I was able to witness firsthand the gradual increase in adoption of digital payment methods like credit cards or alternative payment methods across many countries we’ve operated in.

At the same time, COVID significantly accelerated the shift towards digital payments. Many customers realised the safety benefits of avoiding physical cash payments. This was also well reflected in the data as we were seeing the share of digital payments go up across all geographies.

What problems are you solving with Payrails?

With the increase in the adoption of digital payments, changes in payment habits, and the rise of local payment methods, enterprises are operating in an increasingly complex and fragmented payment environment. Payrails abstracts this complexity by powering payments and financial services across countries, currencies, and payment methods through its end-to-end operating system.

With Payrails, merchants can thus more easily add new payment methods. This helps them to better serve their customers and improve their authorization rates while managing local compliance and regulatory requirements.

Any innovation in fintech more broadly that you are really excited about?

I am fascinated by open banking and the opportunities that come from it for both consumers and merchants. I see its ability to unify experiences, connect payment services and reduce fraud and cost associated with digital payments.

Any plans for the future or product roadmap you want people to know about?

financial operations

At the moment, we are primarily focusing on payments in order to help merchants integrate payment service providers and payment methods more quickly. Our current aim is to refine customer experience, improve authorisation rates and simplify the reconciliation of all of the money movements.

We’ve realised this is a significant pain point that many enterprise clients are facing and believe our background and knowledge gives us a unique opportunity to create value in this space.