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Open banking payments startup Atoa raises $6.5m

Open banking payments startup Atoa raises $6.5m

Atoa Payments, a UK startup using open banking to offer merchants an alternative to debit card payments, has raised $6.5 million in seed funding round led by Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures.

The round follows a $2.2 million November pre-seed led by Leo Capital and Passion Capital.

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.

Cian O’Dowd, COO, Atoa, tells The Irish Times: "Most fintechs these days are not fundamentally disrupting the market but are instead merely slotting themselves into the existing rails of Visa and Mastercard. They give us nice user interfaces and fancy metal debit cards but the high merchant fees, excessive bureaucracy and outdated infrastructure remains.

"Open banking payments, such as Atoa, represent a major shift in the global payments sector."

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