The Adelaide startup revolutionising how businesses get paid


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By Nick Carne

Adelaide entrepreneurs Steve Barrett and Chhai Thach are making their mark in the fast moving world of Fintech – creating software that offers new ways to deliver financial services to business.

Just months after the successful launch of their innovative visitor management system Go Reception (you can read about that good idea here) they released Payhero, a simple, mobile platform that allows people to accept payments by credit card without needing cumbersome terminals or extensive (and often expensive) support.

“It is designed primarily for small service providers, people who come to your place to clean the house, mow the lawns or fix the air-conditioner, who usually have to ask for cash or leave a paper invoice with bank details,” Steve said. “It takes just a few minutes to set up and anyone with a mobile phone, an ABN and an Australian bank account can use it.”

The Payhero payment system.

The Payhero payment system.

Payhero can take one-off payments or be set up for recurring bills via a free mobile payment page. There are no fixed contracts and you don’t even need a website. After the softest of soft launches in July there were about 250 people putting payments through the platform within two months, with the average transaction less than $100. Steve says Payhero is a disruptive service to the big banks, primarily because “we are targeting their more traditional business customers and also offering transaction fees as low as 1.4%. There are no costs to use the platform itself.”

Initial interest has come from two areas – people who currently have nothing, and others who are paying more than they want to for a system that offers more than they need. “There are a lot of small businesses which don’t have huge turnovers and are happy with that, but they still want to save where they can and to make sure that their margins are good, profitability is up and cash-flow is moving,” Steve said. “It’s a very competitive space, and there are other systems around, but we believe our market and our customer demographics make us unique.”

Already they are looking to expand what Payhero can do, but won’t add new functions until they find out what their users want. One obvious area of potential is to make use of all the historical data the system is collecting. “After 6-12 months of data going to the platform they could take this aggregated data to a bank when they were seeking a loan, for example,” Steve said. “We want to be able to automate that into our platform. This is one area we are exploring opportunities and have spoken to a number of the big banks to see if there is a market fit with their existing offerings and potential partnership we can explore.”

Steve spent the first six months of this year in Sydney after the partners were accepted into the AWI Ventures Accelerator, Australia’s first Fintech focused program which invests in digital finance industry startups with a particular interest in direct-to-consumer wealth management services. There was pressure to stay, but the guys see their immediate future in Adelaide. “It’s a great launch pad for testing new products because the business population here is diverse,” Steve said.

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