Supermarket giant Woolworths is creating its own fintech startup by spinning out its payments business, Wpay, as a stand-alone venture offering end-to-end payment solutions to merchants outside the group.
Woolworths is the nation’s fifth largest processor of card payments, worth more than $50 billion annually across more than 1.3 billion transactions. The move pushes Wpay into services traditionally offered by major banks.
The retailer has been busy in recent years hiving off different parts of the business while also building up its tech capabilities. Yesterday, the company confirmed that it had completed a $223 million deal to up its stake in data science and analytics venture Quantium from 47% to 75%.
The business is also splitting off its hotels and drinks arm, Endeavour Group, which includes Dan Murphy’s and BWS. Both retail liquor brands will be Wpay customers, along with the fuel business EG Group.
Woolworths general manager of fintech Paul Monnington will become MD of Wpay, having helmed the company’s financial services team for several years and led the development of the Scan&Go app.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said that after investing heavily in its payments platform, the company saw value in offering it to other merchants that may not have the scale to build it themselves.
“Payments are an increasingly important part of the shopping experience both in-store and online and we bring unique expertise to this space as retailers,” he said.
“We’ll continue to invest in our platform to unlock the best possible experience for our stores and merchant partners.”
The Wpay platform will offer a range of retail services from integrated in-store and digital payments, including digital wallets and alternative payment methods, rapid funds settlement and simple reconciliation, fraud management, detailed reporting and merchant analytics; and gift card program management.
Paul Monnington said new technology was driving better experiences for consumers.
“Wpay enters the sector with a strong Australian pedigree serving high volume retail brands across food and grocery, fuel, liquor, hospitality and e-commerce,” he said.
“Aside from payments, we know merchants are also looking for simpler ways to integrate gifting, loyalty and direct marketing platforms to engage customers while maintaining direct relationships. We look forward to partnering with merchants to help bring this to life.”
He said the Wpay team will also look to trial new ways to help customers pay digitally in-store in the months ahead.