Kōrero with Adrian Smith, co-founder of Māori fintech, BlinkPay

Matt Pryor
October 26, 2023
Kia ora Adrian, thank you for taking the time to kōrero with us. Ko wai koe nō hea koe? Can you tell us a little about who you are and where you’re from?

Ko Putahi te māunga

Ko Wairoro te awa

He uri o nō te uri o hua

Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi

I tipu ake au ki Kirikiriroa, 

Kei Te Teko au e noho ana e enei ra

Ko au te Chief Product Officer o te pakihi o BlinkPay

Ko Adrian tōku ingoa 

Kia ora koutou

I was born and raised in Hamilton and attended the University of Waikato where I graduated with a Bachelor and Master of Management Studies. Around 1995 the internet found its way into the computer labs, and it struck me that the internet might change the world around us. I became fascinated with the possibility of the internet and have devoted my entire professional career to developing and launching digital products and services that worked in this space, primarily in the financial services industry. Along the way, I have built things that have made people’s lives easier, and I am very proud of that.

You’re the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Māori fintech startup, BlinkPay. Can you tell us about the organisation?

Sure thing. BlinkPay is a Māori-owned and led tech company, founded on Māori values, and our kaupapa is all about building modern payment services for Aotearoa in collaboration with the banks. The problem we are trying to solve is ‘How can we enable digital payments that are faster, more secure, and less expensive when compared to the other options available in Aotearoa today?’

So far, we have developed two solutions, namely:

  1. Blink PayNow - this service makes online shopping easy by enabling secure account to account payments within New Zealand with only a couple of clicks, eliminating the need for a credit or debit card, while reducing transaction fees for merchants.
  2. Blink Bills - this service makes paying your bills quick and easy by presenting them in your mobile banking app, saving you the hassle of typing in the payment details, or having to search for where you’ve filed the bill.

Open banking is set to arrive in Aotearoa by mid-next year. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, can you give us an overview of what open banking is? What does its implementation mean for businesses?

Open Banking is a secure way for your trusted apps to interact with your bank. With your permission, these apps can access your financial information, like account balances and transactions, through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). Think of APIs as a secure digital handshake between your bank and the third-party application.

But why would anyone share access to their bank account? Surely that’s a bad thing?

The reality is that many are doing it already, every time they use an online payment service that requires them to give over their banking login details (like POLi or account-to-account). What open banking offers is a way to access innovative products and services, but in a secure and bank supported way. It also offers a cost-effective alternative to existing methods and can eliminate the need for credit or debit cards.

BlinkPay recently announced an API (Application Programing Interface) agreement with the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) - congratulations! How will a payment method partnership of this kind benefit our pakihi Māori?

Thank you. We feel very fortunate to be teaming up with BNZ, who are trailblazers in the open banking space in Aotearoa. And the recent announcement of our API agreement with BNZ means that, if you are pakihi Māori, are banked by BNZ, and take online payments, then our Blink PayNow service may be right for you. Equally, if you are sending Xero invoices and are hōhā with reconciliation, then our Blink PayNow app in the Xero store might be for you. Either way, we are pakihi Māori too, and understand some of the challenges that pakihi Māori face.

As a special introductory offer for BNZ-merchants, we will waive any integration fees, as well as half-price transaction fees, until 31 December 2023. Merchants can get this offer if they sign-up on the BlinkPay website by the 30th of September.

And even if pakihi Māori aren’t banked by BNZ, we would still love to hear from you to see if we can help in any way.

For more information, visit BlinkPay's official website.

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