Mobile payments startup nTrust is starting to gain traction in the competitive online payments sector, adding more than 20 new businesses in Vancouver into what it calls “one of the largest closed loop economies.” nTrust enables people to add funds and pay merchants from their mobile phone. The company’s counter to Capital One’s famous marketing campaign (“What’s in your wallet?”) might just be “what wallet?”
Momentum started growing for nTrust after the company switched its business strategy from a mass-market approach to a more targeted one. Rod Hsu, President of nTrust, said the company hit its stride focusing on the Canadian marketplace by closely identifying their target customers, listening to customers’ feedback and beating competitors to the punch in penetrating the market. The result is a bigger number in sign-ups.
“A few years ago, we were in a phase of putting a lot of different things on the market, going after multiple markets around the globe all at the same time,” explained Rod Hsu, President of nTrust. “We weren’t focused enough. We had to re-set to focus on specific markets. We’ve put some products on hold, because our metrics are telling us to go in a different direction.”
“Mobile payments is such an intimate service, you have to establish trust.”
For now, nTrust’s targeted approach means keeping arm’s length from the much bigger American market. “It’s a regulatory nightmare in the USA, where you have to essentially be able to be able to operate in every state,” Hsu said.
Instead, nTrust is focused on doing what it takes to grow bigger. “Mobile payments is such an intimate service, you have to establish trust. To succeed in the long term, we’re focused on building credibility. That’s critical.”
What’s driving the new round of adopters? “Paperless is the way of the future,” says Andrew Flynn, General Manager of BlackTail, one of the newly-signed-up merchants. “It’s about speed. People can just log in, swipe the card and be done. We also liked the charitable aspect to it,” noting that when customers pay an nTrust Merchant, nTrust donates 25 percent of the merchant’s fees to a local charity of the customer’s choice.
The attraction for Joe Fallon, owner of Gastown Grooming, was a “low fee and that I didn’t want to get locked into a multi-year contract. Besides, people aren’t using cash anymore – and we wanted to get in ahead of the bandwagon.”