London-based marketplace Bubble connects 25,000 parents with 15,000 trusted babysitters across the UK via its smartphone app. Launched in 2016, the digital marketplace set out to eliminate the pain of traditional cash payments or deferred payment via babysitting agencies.
Digital marketplaces, which make up more than half of online retail business-to-consumer spend, according to research firm Forrester, not only invest a lot of time and money in making sure goods and services can be easily transacted on their platforms, they also want to make it as simple and seamless as possible for customers to pay for their purchases.
Bubble needed a payment provider that was flexible enough to handle varying volumes as the business scaled, while also cutting the three-day delay of its original payment system.
Authorised e-money institution, Modulr, stepped in to replace Bubble's outdated manual payment processes with a REST (REpresentational State Transfer) API (Application Programming Interface). Modulr's API enabled Bubble to fully automate the payment to the babysitter's bank account, reducing the time it takes for money to reach their account from three days to just a matter of hours.
"Cashless payments are a massive incentive for parents and sitters," Adrian Murdock, co-founder of Bubble explains. "They don't like having to deal with cash at the end of a night. This way the payment hits the sitter's bank account directly. That gives us a commercial advantage over other solutions. For example, if sitters are getting paid through an agency, they would probably get paid weekly."
Modulr's API also gives Bubble real-time visibility of money coming into its account from parents that have paid, which means it can pay sitters before the money has cleared. "Modulr's API is a really scalable, automated way of paying people, which allows us to be cost-efficient, otherwise we'd need a much larger finance team," explains Murdock. "We didn't want to employ a team of three to five people to do this." Murdock estimates that Modulr's API has saved Bubble approximately 20 pence to 30 pence per payment.
Digital marketplaces that handle confidential client information (bank account details) also have to think about increased regulatory oversight. With the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in May this year, Bubble wanted a payments solution that was robust and secure. "We needed to be sure that the customer's data and personal information was not accessible," says Murdock. Modulr is authorised and regulated by the FCA and uses different levels of security at the API and transport-layer levels to keep communications between sender and receiver secure.
Currently, Bubble pays out more than £60,000 a month to babysitters using Modulr's payment API and it hopes to triple volumes this year.