Gary Palmer is no stranger to the world of banking innovation. The serial entrepreneur has been building software for the finance world for more than 20 years.
In the late 1990s, the fintech pioneer co-founded WildCard Systems, credited with inventing prepaid Visa cards and Mastercards. That company sold for more than a quarter of a billion dollars in 2005 and its acquirer, Efunds, was purchased by publicly traded FIS for $1.8 billion in 2007. Palmer continued on with FIS for a couple of years. He went on to found and chair Adaptive Payments, which sold to Mastercard in 2015, as well as invest in other banking technology companies.
“I’m the most boring guy at cocktail parties because all I talk about are bank technologies, payment processing, FinTech regulations, risk mitigation, all that stuff,” he said.
While investing in a couple of companies in Europe, he realized that it was a nightmare transferring money abroad — “just a complete disaster.” So in 2018, he decided to bring the band back together to go after this problem.
“We fix cross border payments through banks. This is a big idea, and we know how to execute,” says Palmer, founder and CEO of Payall, the winner of the 2021 Miami Herald Pitch Competition.
His experienced team includes many executives he has worked with before. That includes his chief technology officer, Chuck Hutchison, who helped design and build Zelle; and his head of operations, Shelly Schneekloth, who previously was chief operating officer of MetaBank, a leading U.S. fintech bank. “We have experienced folks who know how to tackle this big idea.”
Here’s the problem: Cross-border payments are expensive because they are largely a manual process; in a world where cybersecurity and money-laundering risks are high, such payments are also risky. Payall (payall.com) uses AI technology to make the system more efficient and less costly, as well as safe and secure. It partners with banks rather than compete with them and offers a turn-key solution.
“The current process is broken, and we are results oriented,” Palmer said.
“For the first time ever,” he said, “a bank in the U.S. that is clearing a payment initiated abroad can see the source of funds, the economic legitimacy of the payment, and the owners of the business making it; this is a breakthrough. We are the first-ever global single-shared platform for moving data and money around the world. We get the money delivered in minutes or seconds versus days and we do it safely.”
Payall’s products also support unbanked consumers through a mobile wallet solution or prepaid card.