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Demystify, monetize embedded payments

Utopaya, a payments industry consultancy specializing in the independent software vendor (ISV) partnership channel, was established in 2022. The company helps vertical software-as-a-service (SaaS) clients create a comprehensive, integrated payments strategy that addresses technology requirements, operational planning, marketing and commercialization, according to Brian Abernethy, founder and CEO of Utopaya.

After working in ISV partnerships at major payment processors including TSYS, Global Payments and Clearent, Abernethy founded Utopaya to improve communications between software vendors and processors. Noting that numerous SaaS clients are "flying blind" when assessing payments options, Abernethy said Utopaya helps shine a light on the black box of payments with an evaluation of technical requirements and payments revenue opportunities.

"Every partnership engagement begins with a thorough opportunity assessment," he said. "Delivered as an executive summary and accompanying CFO-level financial projection model, this allows SaaS leaders to properly size their payments opportunity compared to numerous other initiatives they could invest in."

Opportunity vetting

Opportunity assessment builds a base case for whether or not a vertical SaaS company should invest in payments, thereby helping prospective clients decide whether to take the next step, Abernethy noted. Once vetted, he added, clients can confidently move ahead to next-level offerings, such as request for proposal (RFP) creation and administration; vendor selection and contract negotiation; go-to-market and commercialization planning; and ongoing GTM support as fractional GM of payments.

Vertical SaaS companies can leverage Utopaya's consulting services to efficiently execute and adapt their payments strategy, Abernethy said, adding that most SaaS vendors already have some sort of payments product in place and a general understanding of how it could be improved. But they may not know where to start. Utopaya can help determine the benefit a change in strategy could provide and enable them to execute that change with a little risk as possible, he pointed out.

Embedded Payments Bill of Rights  

As a founding member of the Embedded Payments Bill of Rights initiative, Utopaya supports core principles for the embedded payments ecosystem, which Abernethy summarized as follows:

  • Transparency: The right to expect full transparency on pricing, fees, terms and incentive calculations, as well as access to timely data to verify accuracy without hidden fees, updates or changes, uncommunicated billing reviews, or other surprises.
  • Quality of care: The right to tools, documentation, and support that help all parties move quickly through integration, activation, production issues, and enhancements to products and services.
  • Equality: The right for all customers—direct and indirect via partners—to be treated with the same standard of care, respecting the nature of those relationships.
  • Flexibility: The right to be flexible with products and services without limiting access due to unfair or restrictive practices that impede collaboration.
  • Greater control: The right to take on greater control of customer journey, data, flow of funds and more, as capabilities and licensing allow.
  • Portability: The right to choose providers and reasonably move relationships and customer data free of any lock-in or barriers.
  • Ethical treatment: The right to expect ethical dealings from partners, suppliers and other partner participants.
  • Freedom: The right to add payment or embedded finance options or interfaces without limitation or lock-in. To be free to adapt and innovate without getting blocked by a vendor tying their own services to payments.

Abernethy encouraged payments industry professionals to join the Embedded Payments Bill of Rights movement to promote these values for the good of the industry at www.embeddedpaymentsbillofrights.com/.

"We strive to serve as a conduit between the two sides of an embedded payments partnership and leverage our experience to create long-lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships," he said. "Software vendors have an unprecedented opportunity to monetize the payment flows running through their systems and successfully commercialize an integrated payments strategy." end of article

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ISO/MLS contact:

Brian Abernethy
Founder and CEO

Company Profile originally appeared in
The Green Sheet Issue 230901

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