ePayments is back, and we couldn't be more excited!
It’s been a while, and it's only fair that we have a lot to say. This will be a long article, so bear with us and let's start with the most important, we’re delighted to reopen for business after challenging times, and we can’t wait to start serving you again. We want it, you deserve it, and it’s happening!
It’s taken a lot of work, huge investment from our shareholders, and some tough decisions to get to this point, but we’re very excited to get back to doing what we do best: making your cross-border payments a breeze to your operational needs.
We’re gradually reopening our doors to existing and new customers, while enabling the whole host of our most valued features and services:
- Your safe and secure multi-currency wallet, to receive and send payments worldwide;
- Your flexible ePayments Mastercard for everyday spending (available soon and not from day one of BAU); and
- A simple, reliable, and easy to use app that keeps your money secure across multiple OS platforms
We know the last year was rough for both us and our customers, as such, instead of prioritising business as usual activities or growth targets and onboarding of new customers, ePayments decided that in the initial weeks post reopening doors we’re going to prioritise all efforts, focus and resources into giving our customers the access to its funds through the refunds process. We are working with our banking partners to be able to open refunds for more customer. We are now open and giving qualified customers access to trigger refunds process as a business priority.
We still want to keep our platform as open, cost-effective and inclusive as it always has been, serving freelancers and entrepreneurs around the world without discrimination.
There are many things we want to say to our customers at this huge moment in the ePayments journey. For now though, we’ve chosen our top five.
1. Thank you for the trust and confidence.
We would firstly like to thank every one of our customers and partners for their patience, loyalty, and support whilst we’ve embarked on this difficult journey.
As well as now being able to open our doors, we’ve been steadily ramping up our refunds process. We are delighted to announce that we’ve now processed millions in refunds for the eligible customers who completed remediation, and with your help this was made as smooth and organised as possible.
This past year has been tough for everyone, in many different ways. At this time, more than ever, we wish we’d been able to deliver the service you’d come to expect from ePayments.
We’re delighted to know that so many freelancers and businesses are keen to remain ePayments customers into this next chapter. We deeply appreciate your loyalty and trust.
We will always aim to go above and beyond the high expectations of our customers and partners. Our commitment to our customers remains our greatest strength and the reason we spent the past year building back better.
We also want to thank everyone who has taken the time to share feedback about our products and services to help us create an experience that’s streamlined and easy to use. We really appreciate your help, and everything we do is motivated by the willingness to better serve our customers.
2. We take this seriously
Since the day our operations were turned off, we’ve made sure to do the right thing at every stage of the process.
Since the very beginning, our shareholders have been committed to bringing ePayments back to full strength; letting the company fold has never been an option. They have invested £15 million over the past year to keep the company going, keep our 150-strong team in their jobs, and provided the resources needed to build back better.
We have engaged with expert consultants, overhauled all of our systems and controls, enhanced our senior management and leadership team, and had our work signed off by an approved audit firm.
As part of this process, we’ve created hundreds of new regulatory and compliance documents and hired 50 new team members. Here are some snapshots of what’s been happening * while we’ve been away.
* Disclaimer: We’re not authorized to share all the complex information, so we are sharing the highlights in a summarized form that may help you understand why it took so long.
February: The day after our doors close, we start looking at the problems within our business and pull together a roadmap for fixing them. We hire a top law firm to represent the interests of the company and our customers.
March: We start working with a top four firm to rebuild our systems and risk framework, and stay in touch with the regulator to keep them updated on our progress.
April: We work with the regulator to figure out how to make refunds to customers. We continue to build out our authentication systems to further protect our customers from any cybersecurity risks while being fully compliant with PSRs.
May: Our revised anti-money laundering (AML) policies and procedures come together, and we finalise our company-wide assessment. We also start to add specialised people to our leadership team, so we can make greater strides towards being fully operational.
June: Our financial crime team hires a new manager with experience of the remediation process. We update our transaction monitoring rules and create policies to meet our obligations as an e-money institution (EMI).
July: We start a new company-wide training programme on compliance and preventing financial crime. Further, investing in our people, we create new committees to manage the business more openly and transparently. We build new know-your-customer (KYC) checks.
August: We bring in Brighter Management Consultancy to help us move even faster through our compliance to-do list. After a thorough search, we choose an external auditor and hire a new head of transaction monitoring, an essential jigsaw piece for returning to normal.
September: We decide to bring our entire compliance operations team back to the UK, and work to smooth out many of the product processes for customers.
October: We work with the external auditor on a new plan towards reopening our doors. We hired another key member of the team: a new Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO).
November: We are getting there! The latest refunds plan is approved by the auditor, and we share it with the regulator. Plus, our new screening processes for onboarding new customers and our customer risk rating management are both audited and approved as fit for purpose.
December: Our new CEO joins ePayments, bringing strong management experience and expertise. Our customer fund protections are audited and approved, and our financial stress tests pass.
January: Since audits are slow and complicated, we inform the regulator we’re ready to trigger the final stages to reopen our doors, and we get back in touch with our banking partners to put new agreements in place. Our new CPO joins the team, with a mission to transform the product and build the future. Our governance framework is audited and approved.
February: It’s been a year since restrictions were enforced, during which we’ve worked continuously to defend the company and protect our customers’ interests. We get approval for our refunds plan, and we test the infrastructure to make sure we’re ready to carry it out.
March: The first customers receive their refunds, and we receive permission to communicate with all customers. We inform all customers about the refunds. The master program that tracks all the work required to return to normal is around 73% completed.
April: The shareholders reinforce their commitment to the business with further investment, and approve the 3-year business plan. More customers receive their refunds.
May and June: Many more accounts are remediated, enabling thousands of individuals to access their funds. We start talking to prospective banking partners in the UK and US, and we start the search for a new EU tech centre in which to establish a second base as part of the Brexit implementation strategy.
July and August: We go through the very last audits and processes to get FINAL approvals from the regulator to reopen our doors, in a tiered process that will quickly scale up to full services and functionality. As part of a wide regulatory communications plan, we wrote to all our customers to remind them of how we protect their money as an EMI.
September, October and November: We keep collaborating with legal and regulatory entities to receive the written approvals and terms of business. At the same time, we started to enable the banking relationships with all the banking partners while testing all the integrations and components of our banking IT infrastructure, this is an essential process to serving our customers without any issues or surprises.
So, now we’re ready. It’s been a while, and it may take a little bit more time to get up to full speed. But we have so many plans for the months and years ahead - so watch this space for the next product and feature announcements.
We understand that it’s been frustrating not to know when we were going to be ready to turn our business back on. We hope you understand that we’ve needed to make sure we have the full support of all parties, before making this announcement.
In the backstage, we’ve rebuilt the whole business while we’ve been away. We have taken steps far beyond what we believe was expected of us, so that we and you can be completely confident in our products and services from now on.
3. We’ve got your back
Our customers rely on us for products and services they can’t get anywhere else. Many have grown with us from startups to global success stories, and we’re very proud to be able to show up for you once again.
We’re hugely inspired and motivated by the digital and creators economy’s response to the current crisis. In the face of adversity, freelancers, small businesses, and international entrepreneurs are continuing to do what they do best: driving the world forward.
We understand our customers’ businesses thanks to decades of experience in the market, and we’ve invested heavily in our products and technology over the past year. This deep knowledge has enabled us to rebuild the product to be even more aligned with our customers’ goals. We believe that our platform is fast, secure and cost-effective, and what people need right now.
The pandemic has compressed five years’ worth of change into less than one, and people no longer live, work and get paid in a single country and currency. The explosion in remote working has created massive and growing demand for cross-border payments.
Consumers now want their retail experience to be replicated in the payments world. That means instant, frictionless services and great experiences.
We see that, and we’re here for you.
4. You’re safe with us. We mean it.
We’re not going to let this happen again. ePayments is still the same company with all the benefits that attracted you in the first place, and we still have the same values and mission, but now with a much stronger technology and business approach that’s focused on serving while protecting you and us at the same time. Our team and shareholders believe passionately that businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers need a payments platform that they can rely on.
We’ve now worked on every part of the business to make sure we’re ready to serve you again. We’re determined to help you grow and expand without barriers, as you deserve.
Each part of ePayments is connected to everything else, so in the process of revamping our systems and controls, we have rebuilt the product, our company structure, and more. This is one of the reasons why we’re feeling confident about what comes next.
Have you heard the modern day expression that “Lightning doesn’t strike twice.”... We have gone above and beyond in order to relaunch a product that we believe you can trust and use with confidence.
5. You won’t want to miss what’s next!
We’re delighted to be back, and we have big plans for what’s next, from the next few months all the way up to 2025. Our ambitions for our product, technology and international expansion are sky-high.
We’re in conversations with potential new banking partners that feel more constructive and exciting than ever before. We have new products and features in the pipeline that we know you’re going to love.
We plan to supercharge our wallet feature with extra currencies and new functionality such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, virtual cards for safe online shopping and a peer-to-peer service economy all within the ePayments platform.
We are developing new products and solutions that are tailored for growth and expansion, including new currencies, new payment channels, digital asset investment, new products, automatic tax payment and more. You’re not going to want to miss out.
We would be very glad to work with you again, and we’re keen to keep in touch. What does your business need from us? Let us know by email [email protected]: we want to keep building products and services to support your business as you grow.