Headquarters: Soho, London, United Kingdom
Founded: 2013
Category: Start-up
Industry: Financial Technology

Based in London, Fidel is an API platform that makes it easy for developers to link payment cards to loyalty and marketing services. Fidel provides open-source mobile native and web SDKs, high quality open-source documentation and instant developer support. Additionally, the RESTful API allows developers to create card-linked applications that receives real-time payment transaction data through webhooks.


How does your company fit into the card-linking or online-to-offline commerce ecosystems?

Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of card-linking by making the technology more accessible. We believe card-linking is the ultimate technology for linking online and offline commerce.

It can, however, be quite difficult to access the technology. In order to get card-linked, companies need to undergo multiple complex integrations with different payment networks which all require specialised skills. It can take months, if not years.

Since the technology inevitably deals with sensitive payment card data, companies also have to go through the cumbersome and costly process of becoming PCI DSS compliant.

For obvious reasons, each integration also comes with a substantial price tag: you would generally see a mix of different fee structures including set up fees, maintenance fees, annual guarantees etc.

Fidel API’s role in the ecosystem is to remove the above obstacles and make the process easy for everyone. We take care of all the “heavy-lifting” in the background whilst our partners can focus on building cool products that will ultimately drive transaction volumes and contribute towards the growth of the ecosystem.

Fidel API provides a single integration point with fully customisable SDKs, which means that our partners can build fully functional card-linked applications in a matter of days.

Who are you trying to reach?

Any company that has an interest in attributing payment transaction data (in real-time) at any location (whether it’s online or offline) to an actual person. Our current partners range from top tier retailers and loyalty operators to airlines, newspapers, utility providers, insurance companies and various tech startups.

How will your company approach online-to-offline commerce that is new or different?

We are addressing the market purely from a technology enablement perspective. Our purpose is to democratise the technology by making it easy to access.

Today there are many great companies that are utilising card-linking for very specific purposes but we believe there are so many more potential applications of the technology that have not yet been explored. We have built the API for maximum flexibility so that our partners aren’t limited to a particular use case only, such as CLO.

What are some insights or challenges in implementing of your solution? 

The payments processing landscape varies widely from country to country. These different domestic constructs come with inherent challenges that may result in limited visibility.

Much of our effort is directed towards understanding the limitations of each territory and addressing those issues on a case-by-case basis, working strategically towards our long term goal of having 100% transaction visibility globally.

There are also other industry specific challenges that card-linking does not solve on its own, such as pre-tender identification, double discounting, demonstrating incrementality  etc. On these individual subjects we are working in focus groups, in collaboration with well established partners in their respective areas, and stakeholders that have a common interest in addressing these challenges, to come up with joint solutions for the marketplace.

What are some new projects for this year?

There are many exciting projects on the go at the moment. One that I’m particularly excited about is our Merchant Offers Platform and what it brings to our partners in the offers space. Aside from from the technical integration to get card-linked, getting merchants onboard is probably the second most time-consuming job. I think we now have a very neat solution which will enable our partners to populate their consumer proposition with unique content just by clicking a few buttons.

We believe this platform will really facilitate the speed at which new propositions reach the market. This ties in well with our mission of accelerating, supporting and enlarging the card-linking ecosystem.

How will the online-to-offline commerce industry develop over the next five years? 

We think the industry will be radically different in five years’ time. There are so many exciting developments happening in the space right now: AI is reaching new heights, biometric verification is quickly gaining acceptance and digital P2P transactions are extending in to commerce and the list goes on. These developments coupled with the regulatory initiatives such as PSD2/OpenBanking and GDPR (in Europe) will fuel innovation in the space. The power is shifting back to the consumer and consumer’s preference is driven by convenience.

Online and offline commerce is merging into single consumer centric experience. Being able to attribute seemingly disparate purchases across multiple channels to a unique customer will be key in harmonising the consumer experience.

To us, and all other service providers in the space alike, these developments present a huge opportunity and it’s a privilege to take part in shaping whatever the future holds. What is certain is that the future is moving towards automation and card-linking plays a huge part in it.

Is there anything else you would like CardLinx members to know? 

Fidel API is currently live in the UK and Ireland. We are opening up for the US, Australia and Nordics as early as Q1 next year, with many other regions to follow shortly thereafter.

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