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How Curve got back on track after Wirecard fallout

How Curve got back on track after Wirecard fallout

In June 2020, the FCA acted overnight to freeze customer accounts across UK fintech firms including Curve, Pockit, Soldo, Anna Money and Holvi, after Wirecard Card Solution’s (WCS) parent company filed for insolvency in Germany.

The widely-reported, multi-year, fraud conducted among the upper echelons of the German company’s structure, resulted in a €1.9 billion hole in Wirecard’s balance sheet. Rapid action was taken by the FCA to suspend WCS’ UK license, both in order to prevent the UK subsidiary transferring any funds out of the UK and to ensure that it was sufficiently ring-fenced in third party UK accounts.

While the move has since been viewed as a positive flex by the regulator and the protections the UK provides, UK fintechs entangled in the drama suffered a reputational hit as they floundered to restore access to their customers’ accounts.

Seemingly, that is, everyone except Curve. A mere 60 hours after the FCA’s suspension, Curve’s 1.4 million customers were able to spend again with payments now being processed by Checkout.com.

With its suspension announced on Friday, June 26, over the course of one weekend Curve worked through systems implementation and integration, contract negotiations, compliance and user onboarding in order to be back online with Checkout.com by Monday morning.

Mathieu Barral, SVP of sales at Checkout.com, states that “no corners were cut. We followed the same implementation process that we do for every client; we just attributed the correct resources to make sure it happened in the timeframe needed. And, when you consider all this work took place over a weekend, it demonstrated an extra level of personal commitment from everyone in the team to own the customers' pressure as much as they were feeling it.”

“Fundamentally, this was about technological superiority. Though the call from Curve was unexpected and the delivery timeline unusual, it was the sort of challenge that our technology is purposely designed to solve.”

Core to this was the API-first development methodology that the platform is built on, and the modular approach to how merchants access various features. This combination allows customers to plug-in to Checkout.com without the need for burdensome reconfiguring of their current systems and to add new capabilities with this same level of speed and freedom.

Furthermore, the shift to Checkout.com has proved advantageous to Curve in quantifiable measures. Since working with the payments platform, Curve has recorded payment approval rates of over 95%, which “is an uplift of 10% compared to what we achieved with our previous provider and it’s unlocking hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in revenue,” observes Ruslan Barenboym, head of business and fincrime operations at Curve.

Additionally, Curve has seen similar success with its chargeback and fraud rates, running at less than 0.04%, a figure maintained closely by Checkout.com’s disputes team to monitor and identify any patterns of fraudulent activity in Curve’s portfolio.

Barenboym continues: “These impressive numbers are a testament to the hard work of all the teams at Checkout.com. They’re a true partner that’s constantly working to find new ways to improve our overall payments performance. Their efforts are incredibly valuable as even the smallest improvement in approval rate has a notable impact on our bottom line.”

Comments: (1)

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith - RTGS & ClearBank - London 16 April, 2021, 11:231 like 1 like

The use cases here are very very different. I would have been very shocked if Curve wasnt the first to get back up and running. Its far harder to do so if you are actually holding deposits and utilising various other payment methods...

Dont get me wrong, its a great news story and shows the flexibility and power of API first / modular approach to technology and integrations. The story should also point out that, if you are a fintech, and you're going to be dependent on other financial service providers (and let's face it that is almost every single fintech) then you must seek out those providers that you know operate in the right way. That does send you back to those institutions who are more heavily regulated - like the banks themselves. With heavily regulated providers you can draw a greater degree of comfort (and reduced risk) that cases like this with WireCard won't happen...... Its one of the many reasons we started ClearBank in the Uk.