Retailers have a traditionally bristly relationship with credit and bank card companies. These companies have tight control over the mobile payment process and this control translates into a very expensive value proposition for retailers. Not to mention the fact that card companies insert themselves in the middle of the retailer/customer relationship. This situation is both expensive, but perhaps more importantly limits the depth of the relationship between buyer and seller.
This is where OmnyPay comes in. The San Francisco-based startup was founded by executives from VeriFone, Wipro, ViVOtech, and Runa and aims to create a mobile payment and currency system that drives value back to the primary parties in the relationship. OmnyPay’s platform includes not only the mobile payment aspects themselves but also loyalty, rewards and promotion programs. The net result should be a lower total transaction cost as OmnyPay shifts some purchasing to its own alternative currency.
OmnyPay’s offering is bundled into the retail application experience and aims to solve the “last mile” of the mobile payments process. “This is a game-changer for retailers that goes way beyond anything currently on the market,” said Ashok Narasimhan, co-founder and CEO of OmnyPay. “Not only does OmnyPay’s solution allow seamless integration of all things related to loyalty, rewards, and promotions, it also works across all iOS and Android devices, and across all shopping channels. This means that retailers can actually provide a uniform experience to the critical mass of shoppers — some 95% — whether they purchase in a store, in-app or using e-commerce. With OmnyPay, shoppers can expect a fast and simple checkout, yielding maximum discounts and savings.”
So what does OmnyPay actually do? The key features that the company bundles into its solution include:
- An integrated payment and loyalty platform: Retailers are able to create their own “retailer currency,” integrating directly into their existing rewards, loyalty, and promotional programs. Promotions are automatically delivered to the mobile app, and applied at the point of payment, eliminating the need to carry or scan coupons, vouchers or reward cards.
- Omni-channel functionality across the web, app and physical stores: Omni-channel is a fancy-schmancy buzzword de jour but essentially what it means is that retailers can use the same system to complete transactions in-person, on the web and within an application.
- Cross-platform device support: Unlike digital wallet providers, which tend to be platform-centric, OmnyPay covers iOS and Android devices.
- Omni-Pay supports all types of payments: Store cards, private-label credit cards, debit cards, credit cards and ACH.
- OmnyPay is bundled with the retail experience hence the customer doesn’t see another payment brand intermediated within the transaction.
This sounds awesome in theory, but the payments world is littered with vendors who have tried to take a different approach than the credit card companies hegemony and failed. Traditional payment providers just have too much clout, too much of an ingrained position and too much money to throw at the problem.
Potentially the rise of so many digital wallet products changes the environment and makes it viable for OmnyPay to find success, but, device-specificity notwithstanding, it would be a brave person that tries to muscle in and make a place next to Apple or Google.