April 17, 2014

Florida Small Business Profile

SafetyPay in Miami is Cyber Shopping

SafetyPay specializes in facilitating international trade — online.

Mike Vogel | 2/1/2011

Manuel Montero
Manuel Montero, founder of SafetyPay, says his firm targets large groups of potential buyers who are shut out of purchasing U.S. goods online because, for example, they lack credit cards or live overseas. [Photo: Donna Victor]
Manuel Montero, a Wharton-educated native of Spain and longtime U.S. citizen, is on his third startup. When asked why he started his latest venture, he responds with a punch line: “Because I thought it was going to be easier.”

SafetyPay allows merchants, manufacturers and service providers to sell online to customers in Latin America and Europe and get paid by customers’ banks. Montero says it’s a need PayPal and other secure online payment facilitators aren’t meeting. He calculates that the online marketplace would increase 60% if sales were open to three financially able classes of customers now shut out of U.S. buying:

» Those without credit cards. (Only 24% of Germans, for instance, have them.)

» Those with credit cards but who live overseas. (U.S. merchant fraud filters often prevent transactions with overseas addresses.)

» And people who don’t want to give financial information over the internet.

SafetyPay gets a slice of transactions — from 1.5% to 5%, depending on the country and industry. Montero says billings last year — he wouldn’t disclose revenue — hit $50 million. He forecasts $100 million this year. He plans to add eight to 10 employees to the existing 20 in Miami Beach and 20 abroad.

Montero, 65, and his team, mostly former American Express executives like himself, launched the service in 2008 in Peru before expanding in Latin America and Europe. In 2010, he began going after the U.S. merchant market. “We need more merchants. We have the customers. We need more places where our customers can buy,” Montero says. Next up this year: Bringing U.S. banks on board.

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