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Key takeaways

  • WePay is a prime example of our acquisition strategy as we build an innovative payments business.
  • The integration of WePay’s capabilities into the J.P. Morgan Payments platform enhances the way we serve SMBs.
  • The WePay integration continues to drive the evolution of our payments technology infrastructure and our path forward.

As J.P. Morgan Payments continues to build a modern payments business that empowers organizations to grow, diversify and thrive, the technology we’ve built and acquired throughout the journey is accelerating our innovation trajectory.

WePay is a prime example of our acquisition strategy. Over the past several years, we have integrated WePay’s capabilities into the broader J.P. Morgan Payments suite of products and solutions.

This effort has enabled more clients, particularly small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), to take advantage of our offerings at a greater scale. Prominent examples include digital onboarding, where we are replicating WePay's approach across the business, and progressive underwriting, which allows J.P. Morgan Payments to re-underwrite relationship risk with each incremental transaction in real-time and at scale.

How J.P. Morgan Payments serves SMBs

“J.P. Morgan Payments has a long history of serving SMBs. Hundreds of thousands of SMB merchants trust Chase Payment Solutions, a part of J.P. Morgan Payments, to manage their payments because of our track record of innovation, security and reliability,” said John Frerichs, Head of SMB Payments at J.P. Morgan Payments and former Chief Product Officer for SMBs at WePay.

“We were the first bank to launch Tap to Pay on iPhone, and we recently launched a new Chase Point of Sale (POS)℠ Terminal. We also provide SMBs with a mobile Chase Card Reader™, which accepts payments from credit cards and digital wallets and connects directly to the Chase POS app,” Frerichs said.

Tap to Pay on iPhone, the new Chase POS Terminal and the mobile Chase Card Reader all grant SMBs the flexibility to accept payments on the go. For example, Lysée, a fast-growing NYC bakery, used Tap to Pay on iPhone to process payments at a food festival.

But let’s go back to the beginning to illustrate what we’re building and how we are accelerating our efforts through acquisition.

The story behind our acquisition of WePay

J.P. Morgan Payments is the nation’s largest merchant acquirer1, a term referring to the financial institution that enables merchants to accept credit card payments—either in-store or online.  We have maintained our leading position for the last 20 years.

Around 2015, two market trends began accelerating growth in small business merchant acquiring space: integrated payments through third-party partners and direct distribution through “frictionless” digital onboarding to small — even micro — merchants that were previously too costly to serve. Since J.P. Morgan Payments did not have the capabilities to support these two emerging trends, we evaluated several strategic options, including building, buying or partnering to fill the gap.

Ultimately, we acquired WePay, the Silicon Valley-based payment service provider, due to its modern tech stack and infrastructure in a deal that closed in December 2017. WePay offered a robust application programming interface (API) connectivity layer and certification capabilities for integrated software vendors (ISVs)/marketplaces, as well as an advanced machine learning-based risk management platform to facilitate what we needed to deliver: online account opening and progressive underwriting. WePay’s Bay Area location provided a solid foothold to attract payments engineering talent and expertise.

By 2020, we began deploying WePay capabilities across the firm to enhance the way we serve SMBs.  Use cases of new capabilities leveraging WePay’s technology for our SMB Direct merchants include integrated payment processing as a feature of Business Bank Demand Deposit Accounts — DDAs — (QuickAccept®), expanding digital onboarding internationally in Canada, and implementing the use of automated Know Your Customer (KYC) capabilities to serve third-party payment providers (TP3s), such as Toast.

With the success of these and other efforts, we decided to fully integrate the WePay platform into our modern commerce platform to leverage these capabilities more broadly across our stack.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are at the heart of any vibrant economy, and we’re proud to support these companies with innovative solutions and payments processing. We continue to invest in our SMB franchise, and the WePay integration is an important step on that journey,” said Max Neukirchen, Global Head of Payments & Commerce Solutions, J.P. Morgan Payments. “We want to leverage the power and scale of J.P. Morgan Payments as a single global platform to deliver best-in-class payments capabilities for SMBs. It is a testament to our full commitment to SMB market segments.”

Bill Clerico, Co-Founder and former CEO of WePay, said, “Deciding to sell your company, choosing a partner and integrating into a larger company are not easy undertakings. I’m proud of our acquisition by J.P. Morgan and of the impact our technology and team have had.”

In addition to these increased capabilities for our SMB Direct merchants, we continue to have a long-term commitment to serving other market segments as well—particularly ISVs2, which partner with our team to white-label our payment processing services to their SMB customers. This model is part of J.P. Morgan Payments’ embedded banking solutions.

The continuing evolution of our strategy and business

Overall, despite the inherent challenges of integrating a fintech startup within a global financial firm, both technologically and culturally, the acquisition of WePay has contributed to our momentum and continues to push the evolution of our payments technology infrastructure.

In addition, we’ve taken lessons from each acquisition to craft new integration strategies for any company or technology we invest in or acquire. A recent example of that strategy is our acquisition of India-based fintech Renovite Technologies, Inc., a leading cloud-native payments technology company. J.P. Morgan Payments recognized alignment with this software company and swiftly integrated the engineering organization and software product into the same technology platform we are now incorporating the WePay software solutions into over the next 12 months.

We integrated the Renovite team into the organization in less than 18 months. Today, they are actively contributing to building our next-generation merchant acquiring platform, bolstering the firm’s payments modernization strategy and expediting J.P. Morgan Payments’ journey to the cloud. As a firm, we believe the fintech companies we acquire bring a robust software and product culture that accelerates the speed and innovation of all the teams when integrated into our business.

WePay is part of our DNA. By combining its best attributes with the strength and scale of the broader J.P. Morgan Payments franchise, we are setting an ambitious path forward.

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Editor’s Note: As part of the WePay integration, we recently evaluated all ISV relationships and ended certain agreements as we focus on integrating WePay’s capabilities into our offerings for both SMBs and larger merchants.