Rocket Internet’s Paymill is out to woo marketplace operators in Europe

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Rocket Internet-backed payment processor Paymill has gone public with Paymill Unite, a new tool for customers who run online marketplaces and want to let their sellers accept credit and debit card payments. The news follows Stripe’s release of a new service for marketplaces in early June.

A new wave of payment startups is emerging to make life easier for small businesses. While Square, SumUp, Payleven and iZettle sell mobile card readers and apps for the real world, Paymill and Stripe make it easier to start accepting payments online. Both offer a developer-friendly API that can be easily integrated into websites to accept and process payments and spin-off tools to make it easy to handle subscription billing. 

Now, both Paymill and Stripe are trying to make it easier for online marketplace operators such as Etsy, Lyft or Blablacar who handle payments on behalf of sellers using their platforms. Right now, most do so by collecting payments in a main bank account and then sending it out.

Here’s roughly how Paymill Unite works: I’m Etsy, you’re selling something on my platform. We both sign up for Paymill accounts (you can do that on Etsy), you give me authorisation to connect our Paymill accounts, I can then transfer customer payments directly to you minus any transaction fees for using Etsy.

With Unite, we respond to our customers’ requests for an easy way to integrate credit card and debit payments into their marketplaces,” Paymill CEO Mark Henkel said in a statement. “Furthermore, there are no monthly costs, but only charges per transaction.

Paymill charges customers, including those using Paymill Unite, 2.95 per cent + €0.28 per transaction. It’s active in 36 countries in Europe – Stripe is so far only available in the US, Canada, and the UK.

Rocket Internet is known for aggressively rolling out copycats of US companies into new markets. Is it fair to put Paymill in that camp? Only partially – while the original idea came from Stripe, Paymill had to build their solution from the ground up to deal with different market conditions. “You can’t copy Stripe to Europe because you have other restrictions,” Henkel pointed out. “There are so many other regulations…”

The idea for Paymill Unite came up in February, well before Stripe’s new payout service – which lets marketplaces send customer payments straight to sellers’ bank accounts – became public. 

Paymill, which employs about 30 people and is based in Munich, is operated independently from Rocket Internet and has since attracted other investors Sunstone Capital, Holtzbrinck Ventures and Blumberg Capital. Rocket Internet – as of February 2013 – still held a 74 per cent majority

Image credit: Flickr user Images of Money


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