Exclusive Q&A with Geoswift’s Dana Nino, General Manager, US
Geoswift, the international money mover from China to the rest of the world is aiming to break ground in the US, and it’s doing so by opening up a new office in San Francisco. We speak with Dana Nino about her new opportunity at Geoswift and the company’s plans to embed itself into some very notable companies.
Kevin Xu: Dana, please tell us about your history in the payments industry.
Dana Nino: I have over 13 years of global management experience in the payments industry with organizations like PayPal, E4X, eBillme and Mastercard and particular expertise in launching new products and services into the US and to global markets. I have extensive experience developing strategic partnerships with global payments partners and technology providers, and working with top multi-channel retailers in the US and globally to enhance their payment offerings and help them expand their brand.
I also have particular experience with domestic and global payments, foreign exchange, international markets, and alternative payment providers.
How will the move to San Francisco help facilitate deeper ties between the US and China?
The San Francisco office is very strategic for us as it puts us in the heart of Silicon Valley, close to leading innovators in the payment industry as well as high growth companies that need payment solutions in China. Geoswift bridges both culture and policy to create bi-directional opportunities between great companies in China and US.
There are many operational considerations when US companies begin to expand into international markets, and we can share best practices from our global network. In particular, there are a variety of misconceptions about commerce and consumer habits in China, where we help to provide clarity.
As major tech firms look to expand towards China, how can Geoswift become the bridge for international payments?
China’s payment industry is somewhat of a black box. Geoswift is here to help navigate the policies and provide clarity to complex issues involved in expansion to new markets. We are a one-stop China payment solutions provider.
We have a strong team in China, the UK and now US to bridge any cultural gaps, policy know-how and regulated flows, as well as cross-border compliance for cross border payments. Often we find there is a gap in compliance and governance practices between most Chinese companies and what is required and practiced in the international payment industry, outside China. Geoswift bridges that gap.
What are some of the services that you provide to make global payments easier?
At our core, Geoswift helps navigate the regulatory requirements that come along with being a foreign company that needs to do business with China.
A key expansion barrier for US merchants is the perceived (and sometimes real) difficulty in working with the highly regulated complexities of the Chinese economic market. We provide bi-directional cross border clearing of CNY, either receiving CNY and settling the payment into other major currencies outside China or receiving major currencies and settling the payment in CNY into China. Our Chinese settlements are deposited directly to a recipient’s bank account, in CNY.
Specifically, we classify our services into two areas, payment collections and payment settlement.
In payment collections we help overseas merchants collect from Chinese consumers and clear those payments back to them in local currency. We also help Chinese merchants collect from overseas consumer and clear those payments back to China. Since RMB is a regulated currency, our value is in clearing that payment legally, efficiently and cost effectively.
For payment settlements we help global merchants legally clear and settle payouts in RMB into Chinese bank accounts. We also help Chinese merchants legally clear payouts in foreign currencies to overseas bank accounts.
What are some of the strategies for the US as opposed to China/other markets?
US strategy is very simple; we have a very strong, experienced team here and we leverage our relationships and industry knowledge to evangelize the China market as well as create awareness about our one-stop solution, converting mindshare to marketshare.
We aim leverage our global team to better service our partners and clients and build their businesses through interaction with China. Our prospective partners need a global team to integrate operations, compliance, treasury and marketing to generate work and time zone efficiency.
What does your ideal business partner look like here in the US?
Ideal partners for Geoswift (and typical of our current client base) are global payment service providers that have many large merchants requiring payments solutions into and out of China. Or global payment networks requiring card and payment solutions in China.
Additionally, global online retailers that want to collect payments from Chinese consumers are a great fit for Geoswift.
Our gateway solution provides a single API integration, which enables all of the main payment types in China, ie Alipay, Tenpay, CUP, bank transfer and others (which represent 99% of the online payments made in China). Funds are paid by the Chinese consumer in CNY and settled to the US retailer in USD.
What changes in the mobile market have helped you?
The rise of mobile wallets in mobile payments industry created opportunities for us to bridge the clearing of RMB within the wallet and opened up demands for a need to support RMB as an additional, viable currency to facilitate within mobile wallets.
We are working on a variety of solutions and new partnerships for 2015 that will deepen our mobile payment services allowing clients to utilize and promote the convenience of mobile purchases for education, retail and travel services, to provide some examples.
From a compliance standpoint, how challenging is what you do?
The complexities and constant changes in the Chinese payment regulatory landscape actually gives us an edge to display our value.
Geoswift has a team that consults with local regulatory bodies to adapt our compliance flow and requirements to maintain domestic compliance as well as work with our compliance team outside China to update our process. Our relationships with various banking partners, sponsor banks and regulatory authorities help us to establish an end-to-end regulated cross border network for clearing and flowing funds.
What are Geoswift’s goals for 2015?
Our goal for 2015 is to further solidify ourselves within the US market, highlighting our local presence and global expertise. There are many US clients that have been searching for simplified payments solutions into and out of China and we are excited to introduce Geoswift to this market, as the demand in US and the market size in China are tremendous.
Dana Nino, General Manager, US
A recognized veteran in the payment and technology sectors with global management experience at organizations like Paypal, E4X, eBillme, MasterCard, and AT&T. Dana’s expertise is in launching new products and services to both the US and emerging markets. She is also a strategist at aligning partnership alliances and technology advances to create leading edge business propositions. She is a thought leader in the digital commerce and payment arena, having developed, customized and executed strategic partnerships with many of the top global payment companies.