Leon: Creating impact through digital transformation
In 2005, Ding’s founder and CEO Mark Roden went to Dubai and got to talking with his waiter. He learned that, in order to talk to his family back in Bangalore, the waiter would buy an Indian top-up card from a store in his labour camp, scratch off the pin, and text it to his wife. It dawned on Mark that the 250 million migrant workers around the world had a real, unmet need: To top-up their family's phones easily so they could connect with them.
“I thought: Wouldn't it be incredible if we connect all these mobile operators under one platform? And that was how we started Ding,” Mark explained.
Since then, Ding has grown to include over 550 mobile operators across 140 countries, serving the world’s 6 billion prepaid phones. It also sells B2B via retail partners and white-labels its service to telecom partners. To learn more about Ding’s global growth journey we spoke to Head of Payments, Micheál Egan.
"Adyen lets its customers connect to hundreds of local payment methods around the world in a single platform."
When asked what he thought the biggest challenge was for global expansion, Micheál was clear: “The challenge every global merchant faces is knowing how people around the world want to pay,” he said. “It’s difficult for somebody like myself based in a sitting room in the West of Ireland to understand the preferred payment methods of customers in, let's say, India or Indonesia. I've always maintained that we should let customers pay how they want. In that way, we have a better chance of retaining them.”
Similar to Ding’s approach to local mobile operators, Adyen lets its customers connect to hundreds of local payment methods around the world in a single platform. This makes supporting customers’ preferred payment methods much easier, which not only improves efficiency but helps close sales as Micheál explained: “It’s saved us having to build out multiple connections to multiple payment methods globally and has also improved our conversion rates. We’re now able to support mobile wallets, which has helped to drive our growth.”
Another important factor when processing international payments is card acquiring. Local card acquirers tend to have higher success rates and lower fees. But it can become unwieldy to manage local acquirers in every market, especially if you’re present in over 140 countries. Adyen’s global acquiring network gives Ding the benefit of local processing while still only having to deal with one partner. Recently, the company has gone live in UAE with Adyen’s local acquiring license:
“Adyen helped facilitate our expansion in the Middle East thanks to its local entity over there and we're noting an uplift in authorisation in the region.”
“Adyen helped facilitate our expansion in the Middle East thanks to its local entity over there,” said Micheál. “Since we were already connected via its single platform, we didn't have to build out another connection. And we're noting an uplift in authorisation in the region.”
As well as cutting operational costs, Ding has also been able to pass savings to its customers. Micheál explained: “One of the problems that we wanted to solve by going local was the foreign transaction (FX) fees that our customers face. With Adyen’s local acquiring solution, we’ve reduced these fees. We’ve also seen a 4% uplift in card authorisation rates.”
"I love Adyen’s principle of ‘launch fast and iterate’ I think it's an important lesson we’ve learned.”
Ding has big plans. It recently launched a subscription service to make it even more seamless for its customers and ensure it retains its top spot as the global leader in a competitive market. To achieve this, it needs strong technology partners. Micheál values the relationship he has with Adyen: “The people are very knowledgeable and I’m really impressed by the innovation that we constantly see,” he said. “I love Adyen’s principle of ‘launch fast and iterate’. When Adyen brings something new to market, you don't spend a lot of time playing around with it. You launch it, and you learn from it. I think that’s an important lesson we’ve learned.”