Atoa Payments, a UK startup using open banking to offer merchants an alternative to debit card payments, has raised $2.2 million in a pre-seed funding round.
Leo Capital and Passion Capital led the round, with participation from angels including GoCardless co-founder Matt Robinson.
Atoa argues that Mastercard and Visa payment rails have an effective duopoly in the market which enables them to get away with net margins as high as 51% at the expense of small merchants and their customers.
The startup is bidding to bypass the card giants, inviting businesses to download the Atoa app and connect their merchant bank accounts. After a five minute set up, merchants can accept payments via SMS, Pay-by Link or QR code.
Customers do not need to download a separate app, instead they scan the QR code or click on the link, selects their bank and are then redirected to their bank app to approve the payment.
Atoa claims that its system slashes the cost of accepting payments by up to 70% and ensures instant payment rather than the standard one to two days for debit cards.
Sid Narayanan, co-founder, Atoa, says: "At a time of record inflation and in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, the UK’s small and medium merchants are struggling to contain their costs, provide great service to the customers, and maintain profit margins.
"Atoa is here to empower merchants and to improve their cash flow and bottom line."