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April 19, 2021 / 2021 Tech 25

2021 Tech 25: Payrailz offers smaller banks, credit unions access to advanced fintech platform

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED Payrailz provides white-label payment technology (shown above) to smaller credit unions and banks.
At a Glance Company: Payrailz Industry: Fintech Top Executive: Fran Duggan, CEO HQ: Glastonbury, CT No. of Employees: 52 Company Website: Phone Number: 860-430-5200 See all 2021 Tech 25 honorees
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What rail is your money on?

That bit of fintech jargon forms the basis of business for startup Payrailz.

The Glastonbury firm provides white-label payment technology to credit unions and banks. The idea is that Payrailz technology allows smaller financial institutions to provide customer services that match — or even beat — those offered by the financial giants.

Cash is out; checks are so 20th century. Today, money moves in the cyberspace world, along digital rails designed by firms like Payrailz.

The idea for Payrailz emerged in late 2016, explains Mickey Goldwasser, the firm’s vice president of marketing. A group of banks — including Connecticut-based Webster Bank — started talking about using new technology to design a better payment system.

Work went on in stealth mode for about a year before Payrailz emerged in Nov. 2017.

Funding came from commercial banks — led by Live Oak Bank in Wilmington, Del. — and a consortium representing credit unions. Goldwasser hastens to point out that while Webster Bank is an investor, it is not a client of Payrailz. At least not yet, Goldwasser adds.

The payment system relies heavily on artificial intelligence to mine the massive amount of data accumulated by financial institutions, looking for ways to be helpful.

As Goldwasser explains it, today’s consumers are busy and eager to have their financial institution “do it for me.”

Payrailz has designed several programs to oblige.

One program reminds customers when bills are due and offers to pay them. All it takes is a simple “yes” and everything is taken care of.

Another program, called Reduce My Bills, compares common bills and highlights where a customer appears to be paying more than others in the area. It then offers to negotiate with providers to lower bills. It doesn’t always work, Goldwasser cautions, but most providers are willing to offer some discount.

Payrailz offers a wide range of person-to-person, consumer-to-business, business-to-business payments as well as account-to-account transfers.

The firm has gone to completely remote operations since the pandemic. Of the 53 employees, 13 are based in Connecticut.

Goldwasser says the firm is pleased with having Glastonbury as its headquarters and has declined offers to move to other states. Payrailz relies on local legal and accounting firms.

Its base of about 30 clients spans the country and is growing, Goldwasser says. He declined to discuss revenue figures.

At the end of March, Payrailz was honored by the Business Intelligence Group of Philadelphia with a Business Intelligence Excellence Award. The award program is unique in that it is crowdsourced.

Also last month, Payrailz hired industry sales leaders Charles Rodriguez and Jason Colasante to serve as vice presidents of credit union sales.

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