FinTech Interview with CEO, Dwolla – Brady Harris

FTB News DeskJanuary 20, 202116 min

Brady Harris, CEO, Dwolla discusses the ways technological transformation has enhanced the payments industry & is now catering to customer security in its entirety.
Brady Harris CEO, Dwolla

Brady Harris is the Chief Executive Officer of Dwolla. With over 20 years of experience in the payments industry, he’s making programmable payments the standard for any industry. Prior to Dwolla, Harris was the President of Payscape, a nationwide FinTech/SaaS provider that offers dynamic payment solutions. At Payscape, he was a member of the senior executive team, overseeing more than 1,000 employees between 13 global offices. He played a key role in the merger between Payscape and Payroc.

1) Can you tell us about your role at Dwolla?
As the CEO of Dwolla my focus is on making electronic, programmable payments the standard for any industry. We are working on fortifying our business processes to scale effectively, while also keeping organizational culture top-of-mind. As we execute on those initiatives, we are working to increase Dwolla’s brand power and build out a razor-sharp team.

2) Can you tell us about your journey into this industry?
I have over 20 years of experience in the payments industry, starting as an Account Executive at Eliot Management Group and eventually working my way up to President. In 2017, I joined Payscape as its President and member of the senior executive team overseeing more than 1,000 employees between 13 global offices. I played a role in the merger between Payscape and Payroc to create a full-service payment powerhouse that today operates in 46 countries, with 60,000 businesses and over $25 billion in annual payment volume. In March of 2020 I joined Dwolla as CEO.

3) How do you think technology is upgrading the payments sector?

Technology has made it easier for organizations to connect with their customers and transfer money in a secure, scalable and simple way. Traditionally moving money has come with a hefty price tag, lengthy transfer times and a high risk of fraud.

But with the advances in technology, specifically what we’re doing at Dwolla, moving money is more affordable, transfer times are shorter and we’re able to mitigate risk with some really cutting edge security practices. Businesses have realized that credit cards and checks aren’t the only ways of moving money and our payment volume data supports that.

4) How has the increase in digital transformation empowered programmable payments?
Companies are embracing the move to digital, both with their office space and payments. Instead of mailing paper checks, companies are beginning to move money in a more automated, electronic way. Asking customers to input their banking information saves on traditional fees and processing costs, while still moving money from point A to point B. And that transaction can occur at a much lower cost. With more business being done virtually, we’re really seeing a shift in payments are moving online as well.

5) Can you lead us onto the roadmap to navigating Dwolla’s ACH API?
By plugging into a payment API, organizations are able to move money without having to send their customers to a third-party for verification or surprise them with additional fees during the checkout process. Dwolla’s API can be embedded to match the user experience of an application so it appears as if that business is offering the payment experience, when in reality it’s Dwolla behind the scenes. We take pride in being a solution that keeps our customers in the spotlight.

6) How does Dwolla take care of Mass Payments and Security?
Dwolla offers a mass payment option that allows up to 5,000 payments to be initiated at once all from what we call the “Dwolla Dashboard.” Each customer can organize their dashboard however they find best and program these payments to automatically recur or just send a batch of payments one time only. We’re finding insurance companies use this feature for their reimbursements and marketplaces for paying their merchants.
Security wise, making sure sensitive data stays protected is at the forefront of everything we do. Our information security team is outstanding, constantly testing and auditing our controls. And they work in tandem with our engineering team to make sure our processes compliment each other. We have a company value that says “We are never done.” And while that may seem exhausting, when it comes to security, we really are never done. I’m proud of the work our information security team is doing, it really gives us a competitive advantage.

7) What advice would you like to give to the technology Startups?

Focus on creating a product or a service that makes peoples’ lives easier. Try to solve a problem using technology, don’t create a product and then find a problem for it.

Consumers are looking for a more organic and intuitive relationship with the products they use. If you can solve for simplifying and adding value to peoples’ lives, that’s a winning formula.

8) What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
We want to continue providing our customers with a reliable platform for moving money. Our main focus is adding more features to make our solution for holistic and faster transfer times. Lately, we’ve been working to make money transfers via debit cards almost immediate. We have some exciting developments planned for Q3 and into Q4 around instant payments and different account types.

9) Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
Dwolla has always been about changing the status quo and we couldn’t do it without a team that believes inclusion fuels success. The team is what has made Dwolla successful in the past and will guide us in moving our solution forward.

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