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Rob Darby of Tuxedo Money Solutions

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For today’s profile we are joined by Rob Darby, Head of Partnerships (Travel) of Tuxedo Money Solutions.

Tuxedo is one of the UK’s leading payment solution providers, delivering a broad range of innovative products for businesses operating in the UK and abroad. It offers a comprehensive range of award-winning payment products and services, tailored to meet clients’ requirements from general spend to travel and payout cards for consumer‐focused brands.

Our questions are in bold.

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Who are you and what’s your background?
I am Head of Partnerships (Travel) for Tuxedo Money Solutions, one of Europe’s leading payment technology companies, where I am responsible for managing an array of global clients focusing on travel, airlines, foreign exchange and loyalty developing agreed commercial goals through current product enhancement and new product development.

I joined Tuxedo in June 2014 from Access Prepaid Worldwide (MasterCard Programme Management) where I had worked up from regional manager, when the business was owned by Travelex, to Head of Business Development (Europe) over an 11 year period.

Rob Darby of Tuxedo Money Solutions
Rob Darby of Tuxedo Money Solutions

Prior to this, I spent 11 years at Airtours / MyTravel starting as a holiday rep and finishing my career with them as Regional Operations Manager, responsible for the stand-alone regional operations function in the Balearic Islands serving over 400,000 customers annually and managing a team of over 600 staff.

I have a long term partner who shares my passion for travel and we spend nearly all of our free time travelling to different parts of the world – from skiing holidays, sightseeing or relaxing on a cruise. One of the highlights of this year was a trip to Reykjavik and seeing the northern lights and next month we have a trip planned to China, South Korea and Japan.

What are your general responsibilities?
I am responsible for driving additional revenue and brand loyalty through innovative payment solutions for both existing partnerships and new business across a variety of international markets.

Since I joined the company, we have successfully launched a new global hub in the USA and delivered new programmes in Germany and Australia. As well as managing the ongoing relationship with existing partners I am also responsible for new business development within the travel sector working in the main with Travel Agents, Airlines, Foreign Exchange Houses and Loyalty programmes.

As a business, Tuxedo Money Solutions has proved the business model in the UK, so we are now turning our attention to more aggressive business growth through global expansion, with further significant investment being made into the people and the systems we now have in place. Whilst expanding our range of payment solutions into new sector payments, we constantly strive to innovate and benefit from a proprietary platform that allows us to integrate easily and seamlessly with customer back end systems.

We have also further developed our ‘off the shelf’ solutions, such as the Escape Travel Money Prepaid MasterCard© Card, which is a currency card designed with both the customer and reseller in mind. We developed the card to provide partner travel organisations with a prepaid upsell product that provides an ancillary revenue stream, while integrating with existing business systems, with minimal hassle. We are working with a number of clients who are successfully utilising the card within their marketing / sales promotions – offering preloaded cards to customers instead of discounting holidays or adding free packages.

Can you give us an overview of your business?
Tuxedo is one of the UK’s leading payment solution providers delivering a broad range of innovative solutions for businesses operating in the UK and abroad. It offers a comprehensive range of award-winning payment products and services, tailored to meet clients’ requirements from general spend, to travel and payout cards for consumer‐focused brands.

Tuxedo is passionate about delivering cost savings and driving additional revenue for its clients. Partnerships are the cornerstone of the business, working closely with clients to provide payment technology and card solutions to match their individual requirements, offering bespoke packages whether it be for improving brand recognition, customer loyalty, maximising revenue, driving cost savings or reaching new market segments.

Tuxedo has continued to invest substantially in its market leading technology, the eccount® platform, which has facilitated our plans to expand into global regions. Developed in-house, it is Tuxedo’s central solution, which manages a full range of prepaid products and services across multiple form factors and allows the delivery of flexible and innovative payment solutions.

We attribute our overall success to our growing reputation for a high level of service and ability to deliver cost effective payment technology and card solutions, tailored to meet clients’ individual needs.

Who are your target customers?
Our target customers operate across the following key sectors:
• Travel

• SMEs / Business expenses management

• Charities

• Financial services

• Retail

• Payroll

• Reward and Employee Incentives

The Tuxedo Money Solutions website
The Tuxedo Money Solutions website

If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
Thinking about barriers within my own sector; the biggest barrier to take up and usage of Prepaid Cards is the need to prepay. Many prospective and existing Prepaid Card holders simply can’t be bothered to preload a card. Those that can be bothered often find traditional load methods slow, onerous and inconvenient. Then once the card is loaded and being used there is the issue with knowing how much is left on the card available to spend. Tuxedo’s new, proprietary LiveLoad® platform fixes these fundamental issues as our technology negates the need for prepaid card holders to prepay or check their balance. And by linking all their cards to one card they can leave all of their other cards at home – it’s a little like Apple Pay with a Prepaid Card.

What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
I’ve learnt that you absolutely have to test your system / offering / products etc. first and prove it works – check your business model and validate it. It’s the same with our international expansion, we had to test the UK market, fine tune our proposition and get it 100% right before taking on the rest of the world.

I’d also say that your business is only as good as the people you employ.

What phone are you carrying and why?
Both my personal and business phones are iPhones and I also regularly carry my iPad. They are easy to use and have a wide variety of apps. I am also a big advocate of Apple Pay, which is a great example of payment innovation based on convenience.

Where do you get your industry news from?
– Travel Trade Gazette

– Finextra

Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?

I am not sure I could narrow it down to 3! I follow a wide number of people in the FinTech industry on Twitter – the most challenging part is keeping up as there is no shortage of tweets in this space. The FinTech power list published by City AM in July contains a great list of names to follow for anyone interested.

http://www.cityam.com/212199/fintech-powerlist-these-are-most-influential-people-fintech

What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
Probably the most exciting payment phenomena in recent times has been the growth of mobile payments in countries like Africa where even places like Sudan now have 52% of adults using a mobile phone for money transactions. They have leapfrogged ahead of traditional banking and have found a creative way to overcome issues such as transportation and infrastructure. You could argue that they are now the ones ahead of the curve and bank branches and traditional banking in the UK will only continue to decline.

Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
The whole payment industry is changing rapidly across all sectors. Traditionally, payment platforms came in a box and did one thing and one thing only. The emerging payments market is really starting to flourish and some of the new platforms and the level of inter-connectivity they offer will be game changing for the industry.

There is likely to be a continuing convergence of banking and FinTech over the next few years. Smaller agile companies will innovate and develop new technology challenging traditional banks to either leverage this new technology or invest in their own and replace old legacy systems.

Also, while there is undoubtedly increasing noise around crypto currencies such as BitCoin, we don’t believe that this will become a mainstream payment vehicle in the near future. At Tuxedo, we believe that rather than looking to new payment channels, the most significant short-term opportunity for the travel industry is to use technology to consolidate the existing channels and processes to drive efficiency and cost savings.

Undeniably API based financial services are also on the rise. At Tuxedo, we have built technology around our suite of API which enables us to connect to customer systems with the ease of integration that most banks will envy. There are a number of banks that have already acknowledged that they could benefit from API integration with third party developers, which makes it an exciting time for companies like Tuxedo and other challenger banks to grow.

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Thanks to Rob for his answers today. You can find out more about Tuxedo Money Solutions on their website, twitter and linkedin.

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Ewan
Ewan
Ewan is Founder and Editor of FinTech Profile and Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of mobile and FinTech industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.
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