Jessica Leung, Vice President, Acqra Limited
The outbreak of COVID-19 saw a record plummet in cash withdrawal across the world, while e-commerce and online retail transaction saw sharp increase. Although cash is far from over, digital payment has become the dominant mode of payment, and that will continue post-pandemic. With the explosive growth in e-commerce and online payment, the risk of fraudulent activities damaging online sellers as well as buyers have increased. This needs to be dealt with effectively.
The pandemic also further exposed the inefficiency of traditional banking system, particularly in addressing the needs of online merchants.
There is enormous responsibility for fintech solution providers to meet the requirements that come with the swift change in buying habits and address the risks associated with it, and to cater the needs of small online retailers needing efficiency, higher security system, in a more simple but effective process.
Fortunately, we have innovative solution providers stepping up to handle the situation. One such company in particular that caught our attention is Acqra Limited. Started in 2015, the fintech solution provider has now set up a solid integrated payment system that can address the prevailing limitations and risks, and fulfil the needs of online merchants. The rise of the Hong Kong-based company has come at the right time when the market needed it the most.
Addressing Payment Challenges of Online Merchants
The inception of the company came after recognising a market gap—one that acknowledged the overlooked realm of SME online merchants, who are often neglected by traditional banks. Traditional acquiring banks are not well equipped with effective technology solutions that are needed to serve online merchants. For instance, the long approval process and inaccuracies while reviewing merchants result from lack of an effective technology system. This leads to rejecting trustworthy merchants. On top of that, after onboarding there is the lack of proper technology systems to monitor and manage merchants. It presents an unfair disadvantage to new and smaller sellers operating in a fast business environment. It is also not effective to tackle the emerging threats and to handle the increasing volume of online transactions. This situation prompted the innovation journey of the company.
A Comprehensive Payment System for Online Merchants
By leveraging advanced technologies, Acqra developed a payment system that is comprehensive and effective in eKYC background check with fast approval and risk level visibility, advanced monitoring of risks, and excellent support service after onboarding.
With effective vetting technology, Acqra has made it easier for new businesses that lack reputation history to support their application. Jessica Leung, Vice President of Operations of Acqra, explains, “Our tools and technologies are designed to help us handle merchants who have little to no processing history which may be considered as uncertain risk by traditional financial institutes, and support the new businesses mitigate their business risks.” This enables easy access to world class payment solution and support for new and smaller sellers who are often rejected by traditional financial institutions.
The intelligent verification process of Acqra provides merchant eKYC report to support their application. It can automatically review merchant profiles, websites and other information to identify potential risk and non-compliance to regulations. Jessica asserts, “This is an important technology that supports us to accept merchants in the first place—we can detect and respond quickly to the red flags initiated by the merchants before reaching a crisis situation.” This makes the application process much faster and creates a safer e-commerce environment.
It also has a chargeback and fraud management system which helps merchants handle fraud and chargeback more systematically. By providing timely alerts and insights derived from the big data analytics and ecosystem, Acqra makes it convenient and secure for merchants in managing frauds.
The software can also merge several payment channels into a single payment interface which makes transaction simple, faster and safer. Jessica explains, “Through the complex nature of sellers integrating with multiple payment channels, Acqra can merge different channels into a single software—creating a simple and fast integration process.” The software simplifies merchants shopping cart integration efforts with increased speed while significantly improving transaction success rate.
Well Received in the Market for its Innovative and Effective Solution
In a short time period, Acqra has become a reliable and trusted solution provider within the industry. Today, Acqra’s technology is adopted by acquirers, payment service providers and online merchants from across the globe. With Acqra’s technology, other payment service providers and acquirers are able to serve reliable merchants.
Excellent assistance in the initial stage, robust security system, powerful vetting technology, convenient payment option, and quick process are well acknowledged in the market.
To ensure service provision at the highest standard, Acqra complies with PCI-DSS. Annual certification is done by external auditors. In addition, the company has a strong team of payment security experts who do regular staff security awareness training, and other security assessments.
Poised to Explore More Areas in Banking
One area the company is looking to venture into is virtual banking. “Our technology and experience will be helpful in virtual banking—banks that have no physical branch, particularly in handling merchant acquisition online without compromising the effectiveness of security and risk management,” Jessica clarifies. Today virtual banks are more flexible and open to technical integration, and the company is prepared to tap into this development.
Open banking is another area the company is eyeing for. Increasingly, more banks are willing to collaborate and share data with third-party financial vendors. Acqra looks forward to participate in the development of open banking and add more value to their customers. “We have started several projects researching how to add value to our customers through open banking collaborations and contribute to the open banking development,” says Jessica.
In addition, the company is planning to integrate blockchain technology into its system for higher security, efficiency, and to bring more innovation in the financial sector.
Today Acqra has stepped up to deliver the needs of the current market. With continued dedication to tackle emerging challenges and developing technologies such as blockchain and AI, there is more confidence in the company as it moves forward to exploring new areas to deliver new possibilities.
Empowering Women in Tech
Leading a company towards the right direction in a complex market environment is no simple task. As a leader, Jessica has played a key role in steering the direction of the company towards provisioning the crucial and emerging needs of the market. With courage, great business acumen and passion to help, she continues to venture as an exemplary leader.
Moving forward, she is optimistic to see more women and minorities in the industry. “I’d love to see more diversity and inclusion in the industry. I hope this will encourage more women to pursue leadership roles in tech,” says Jessica.
As a young and dynamic leader in an industry that is hugely dominated by men, she has set a precedent for the upcoming generation of young women inspiring them to pursue their dreams in technology.