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article imageQ&A with Plooto CEO Hamed Abbasi Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Aug 29, 2017 in Business
Small and medium business (SMBs) are driving real change across North America. But financial institutions can appear rigid in their behaviour to these creators of change.
Toronto startup Plooto seeks to remedy the constricting relationship between SMBs and financial platforms.
I asked CEO Hamed Abbasi a few questions about the platform and its goals.
A burgeoning business needs to act responsibly and efficiently. Time management is one of the keys to success, and Abassi hopes to address this with his platform. "We reduce friction when it comes to those processes. For instance, bank account collection from your vendors has typically been time consuming and manual. "However, said Abbasi, Plooto has automated that part of the process for business owners. By being able to provide this, it frees them to focus their efforts on sales, services, or customer relationship building."
Abbasi believes that by using Plooto, "businesses no longer need to spend their own time or pay their bookkeeper for hours of work reconciling books. Their payments and invoices are matched and automatically synced with their accounting software. This gives business owners time and dollars back to invest in their products, services, and relationships. "
READ MORE: Plooto is here to make life easier for small businesses
I wanted to know more about how Plooto differs from traditional financial institutions. Some years ago American Express and others were offering small business packages, such as dedicated departments for small business outreach and specialized lines of credit to help the small business owner.
How is your service different or better than what the credit card companies/banks like American Express and others have been offering?
"We believe that banks don’t have a great product offering for the Small and Medium business segment," he said. "Most banks mainly focus on two main product areas. Retail, which is for the consumer market, and commercial, which is for large enterprise clients."
He pointed out that small and medium businesses are left with products that are either too complex and expensive or products that lack the needed functionality they need to run their businesses.
Usually for the average small business that is one reason they avoid using credit companies like American Express, fees are high. Other small businesses point out that American Express and others take longer to process/payout a transaction. Plus the accuracy of transactions and statements are not always in a timely manner. This can be frustrating when a business is growing and a bank or credit card is not able to provide the consistency needed.
Abbasi said, "Plooto has built a platform that works with all of the tools small-to-medium businesses are already using in their business. The experience on the Plooto platform is also much more intuitive than the complicated experience on platforms other providers and banks offer. Plooto has really reduced the complexity to make the entire payments process easier and more streamlined."
He reiterated. "Another big differentiator for us is the cost. Plooto is different from credit card providers in several ways, but one of the most evident differences is that we don’t charge an interchange fee on any of our payments. Interchange fees cost businesses two to three percent per transaction. That cuts into a business’ margin significantly."
In terms of helping a company with its own particular flow of business, Abbasi said: "Plooto’s payment options are significantly cheaper than credit cards. Our platform is free, and we charge only for transactions. Domestic transactions are only 50 cents, and international payments are only $9.99, which is drastically lower than the fees most businesses are paying for their international wire transfers."
I asked him how, as technology has been making banking more accessible and dynamic, is Plooto able to keep up with the current flow of technical and technological advancements in online banking?
"When a business signs up to use Plooto," he said, "that business can trust that they are using the best-in-class platform. We are constantly looking for new and better ways to build technology that benefits the small-to-medium business market. We listen to our customers," Abbasi said. "We engage with the fintech industry, and evaluate emerging services and technologies. And as a result, we are building technology that far surpasses what other providers are offering."
Abbasi was eager to emphasize. "Plooto is a technology company first, that means financial technology innovation is of upmost importance to us. We are replacing antiquated methods of running a business. It is our duty to provide customers with the best solution for their business, and therefore we are always ahead of the technology curve."
Another question I had was the importance of customer relationships. How does your product-service help a business owner build and keep an important business relationship with customers and vendors?
"Entrepreneurs and business owners’ purpose is to provide an amazing product or service to their customers. They didn’t start their businesses to manage invoices, manually enter data, gather payment information, or reconcile bank statements. However," he said, "a significant part of running a company depends on effectively managing these responsibilities. Plooto has built tools and features that make the process of collecting vendor information and managing relationships much easier.
"Lastly," he said, "Plooto gives businesses visibility into their cash flow by providing real-time information on the status of their payments. As a business owner, you are able to understand which of your vendors are paying you on time, and your vendors will also know when to expect their payments from you, which creates more trust between businesses, allowing you to focus your efforts on growing your business."
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I brought up the topic again about banks, since they can be an obstacle or a help to a business. How does Plooto work with banks? Especially with a bank's online banking system? I ask this because I know of CPA's and accountants who mention how difficult it is to work with some banks more than others due to their web site and their online features/tools.
"Plooto spends a lot of time with small-to-medium businesses and we understand their pain points well. By understanding the difficulties enables us to offer an enhanced payment experience. Plooto payment technology integrates with every bank and credit union in North America," he said. That’s over 6000 Financial Institutions in North America. (The U.S. and Canada).
"Plooto securely links with the business’ bank account, which enables users to make payments using the Plooto platform instead of the complex and time-consuming bank systems. Plus, reconciliation with accounting software is done automatically through Plooto, removing the manual data entry that must be done when making payments through the bank. At Plooto, we get immediate feedback from Small-to Medium Business customers... Which, we then use to enhance the product on a daily basis. Banks, comparatively, update their product in cycles that can take years."
With mobile and wireless technology becoming a major part of life in the 21st Century, I asked, how does Plooto work with Square and other mobile payment platforms?
Abbasi clarified that "Square is a POS (Point of Sale) system. Whereas Plooto, is a payment platform. Square is used for in-person purchases; comparatively, Plooto is for businesses trying to expand their footprint domestically and internationally."
Product reviews on sites like Capterra and GetApp are four to five star ratings. Abassi, Ryan and their entire staff and team are confident Plooto will keep growing. And, with that growth and commitment to excellence Plooto will not only 'raise the bar' so to speak it will set a standard.
Abassi pointed out. "Because we are a Business to Business payment platform, most customers use Plooto on their desktop computers. But," he said, "Plooto’s mobile payment solution is in the pipeline."
To learn more about Plooto, visit their web site.
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