October 18, 2016 / 9:31 AM / a year ago

Trustly hits 3.5 bln euro run rate in processed payments

STOCKHOLM, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Sweden’s Trustly, which helps customers make instant online payments direct from their bank accounts and is challenging banks and credit card firms in Europe, says it has an annualised run-rate of over 3.5 billion euros in processed transactions.

* Trustly handled 2.75 billion euros of transactions in the year ending September, up 130 percent from 1.2 billion in the same period the previous year. It has processed a total of 5.6 billion euros in transactions since its inception in 2008.

* Juniper Research has predicted that global annual digital transaction values will reach $3.6 trillion this year, up 20 percent from the previous year.

* Trustly is one of the few tech start-ups to offer pan-European, cross-border coverage for payments and makes money by taking a cut of each transaction from 700 merchants ranging from e-commerce players to betting firms and travel agents.

* “We think we are going to keep on growing for many years to come,” newly appointed CEO Oscar Berglund told Reuters. “Firstly, it’s organic growth in our existing merchant base. The second is the international expansion. Thirdly, it’s the new merchants that we sign up.”

* He sees revenues growing more than 50 percent this year from 187.4 million crowns ($22 million) in 2015.

* Trustly’s service cuts out intermediaries like credit card firms and invoicing companies, giving customers an option to make direct payments from their bank accounts instead of waiting for a bill.

* Trustly has spent the past year expanding its reach to include all of Europe and expects higher costs as it recruits staff to support growth.

* It currently has a staff of 130 and ads out for 30 jobs. It expects to grow its London office to about 20 from six in the coming year to address an active e-commerce sector.

* Analysts say Trustly’s main advantage was its early move into online payments but say new EU banking regulations that will force banks to open access to third parties by 2018 will create a flood of competition in the coming years.

* “There is no reason why they can’t stay a dominant player in some payments markets, but everyone else is going to be trying to get a place on the checkout screen,” said Tristan Hugo-Webb, a consultant at CAPCO. “They will be competing for space with Visa, Mastercard, PayPal.”

* Trustly’s competitors also include Germany’s Sofort, which was acquired by Swedish payments firm Klarna in 2013, and iDEAL in the Netherlands.

* Asked if the company had any plans to expand beyond Europe, Berglund said: “As of now we are completely focused on Europe, but who knows in the future.”

$1 = 8.6231 Swedish crowns Reporting by Mia Shanley

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