Montréal FinTech firms target payments with latest offerings

Both Flinks and Shakepay reveal new payment services for businesses and consumers.

Two Montréal-based FinTech companies, National Bank-owned Flinks and cryptocurrency startup Shakepay, are expanding their offerings with new payment services.

Flinks has announced that it is entering the instant payment market with the launch of Flinks Pay, through which it hopes to make instant payments accessible to any company by helping firms embed them directly into their products and services.

Flinks is entering the instant payment market, while Shakepay is giving its users access to services traditionally offered by banks.

Through Flinks Pay, the company aims to help businesses reduce payment risk and the cost of processing payments. Flinks intends to make standard electronic fund transfer (EFT) payments, recurring and scheduled payments, credit card payments, and real-time guaranteed EFT payments available in the coming months. The Flinks Pay beta is now live and Flinks is accepting applications to join its waitlist ahead of a full release in early 2024.

Meanwhile, fellow Montréal FinTech firm Shakepay—which helps customers buy and sell Bitcoin and Ether through its crypto-trading platform—has rolled out a slew of bank-like capabilities to its users. These include Canadian dollar services traditionally offered by banks such as direct deposits, bill payments, and Interac e-transfers.

These new offerings enable Shakepay clients to send part or their entire payroll to their Shakepay account, pay bills from their Shakepay account, and send e-transfers through its app. They join a product suite that also includes Shakepay’s Visa prepaid card issued by Peoples Trust Company, which allows customers to earn Bitcoin cashback on purchases.

Flinks was launched in 2017 as a solution for FinTech firms to connect their apps with customers’ bank accounts, verify account balances, and access transaction histories. The company later expanded beyond these capabilities to help businesses do more with customer data and use it to deliver better products.

“In the next 10 years, there will be a silent shift from credit card networks to pay-by-bank networks in North America,” Flinks co-founder and COO Frédérick Lavoie predicted on LinkedIn. “The Flinks network will be one of the leaders to enable this next wave of innovation. The advent of a mature pay-by-bank network means better tools for innovators in the digital economy and better outcomes for consumers.”

RELATED: Federal Fall Economic Statement promises to expand Payments Canada eligibility, introduce open banking legislation in 2024

In 2021, the National Bank of Canada purchased a majority stake in Flinks. Today, Flinks works with businesses in the lending, FinTech, digital banking, asset management, and insurance industries, with a list of clients that includes National Bank, Wealthsimple, Stripe, and EQ Bank

Some of Flinks’ customers use the firm’s open banking environment—a product that enables FinTech startups to securely access consumer data from financial institutions without the need for screen-scraping. The launch of this offering followed continued delays in Canada’s quest to make open banking a reality. For its part, the federal government recently committed to introduce associated legislation in 2024.

Shakepay described the launch of everyday Canadian dollar payment products as a “key milestone” for the company, which initially launched in 2015 as a Bitcoin-loadable Visa card offering before switching gears and becoming a regulated crypto exchange that has raised $45 million CAD to date and claims to serve over 1.3 million accounts.

RELATED: Shakepay secures $44-million Series A led by QED Investors to roll out more Bitcoin products

“For years, Shakepay’s been laser-focused on making it easier for you to buy and earn Bitcoin,” wrote Shakepay on LinkedIn. “As we’ve grown alongside our community, we’ve realized there are more ways for us to make your financial life a little easier. You’ve asked for a more comprehensive money app, and we delivered just that. Say hello to our new everyday payment features, now available in Shakepay, your money app.”

The rollout of these services comes as Shakepay and other Canadian players, including WonderFi, have sought to diversify their revenue streams during the crypto downturn. 

As BetaKit reported, these market conditions led Shakepay to shed staff earlier this year. While Shakepay declined to disclose the extent of these cuts, multiple sources told BetaKit the company laid off approximately 25 percent of its team. Since then, the crypto market has shown signs of strength, which could benefit companies like Shakepay.

Feature image courtesy Flinks.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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