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Norwegian app lays groundwork for carefree online shopping

By adopting new technology, Tollit has managed to fully digitize the Norwegian customs clearance process, simplifying each step of the process including enabling a wide range of payment methods at your choice, all in collaboration with fintech challenger, Optin Bank. Have you noticed a high number of returns from your Norwegian customers? Many Norwegians are tired of being surprised by sky-high and unpredictable customs fees when ordering goods from abroad, and simply decide to not pick up their goods on arrival. End of uncollected and returned packages In Norway parcels from abroad must be cleared through customs from the first NOK, and the rule has created major challenges for the Norwegian postal service, among others, which has a small mountain of uncollected parcels that no one picks up. The reason is often that the consumer has experienced a price shock, and therefore opts not to pick up the package that has been ordered. Often the total price has doubled, or worse, by the time Norwegian customs fees and VAT is added. Customs clearance in a few minutes A simpler, more predictable and not least reasonably priced and understandable customs clearance process has been long awaited. And what about the elaborated payment process and lack of payment options at your customer's choice? The Norwegian app Tollit has it all figured out and is ready to launch this autumn. Tollit is a smart app that will make it easier and cheaper for Norwegian consumers to keep track of their customs clearance of shipments from abroad. Customs clearance is an expensive service today, where the consumer pays a hefty surcharge for the job the freight forwarder does. In addition, the consumers rarely know what they actually end up paying for - and hence ends up leaving the package uncollected at the post office. The mobile phone is the heart of the transaction This is where Tollit comes in. The app is responsible for digitizing the customs clearance and payment process, making it easier, faster and cheaper than with current methods. As a bonus, Tollit continues their work to enable a service completely independent of the freight forwarding agent, and with Optin Bank as a partner, the consumers can pay when it suits them - whether it is now or later.  The mobile phone itself is the heart of the transaction. Customers get a full overview of all costs of import, and freight forwarders will easily be able to integrate with the app and use this as a front-end when communicating payment orders and customs documentation to consumers. Pilot project underway Tollit is scheduled to launch during this autumn and is currently doing a pilot with a UK based online shop. The idea for the app came when the founder of Tollit, Kim Trengereid, was to pick up a package he had bought from abroad. Due to currency changes, it ended up just above the NOK 350 limit for VAT-free online shopping. As a result, the package became twice as expensive, and although his wallet became slimmer, Trengereid was an experience richer. - My immediate thoughts at that time was: There has to be a better solution than this! Trengereid believed that this could be solved without the frustrations he and many others in the same situation have experienced. The road from idea to reality could be reasonably short. He took the idea with him to co-founder and fellow Norwegian, Peter Skarbøvig, and together they have now developed an app where the goods are declared in a simple and straightforward way, customs cleared - and not least paid for - via mobile. Which in turn saves both the end-consumer and the freight forwarder time and cost. Enhanced customer experience For Tollit, Optin's white label payment solution was an obvious choice. Optin Bank is a technology driven bank that offers agile and flexible financial solutions. Optin Bank's goal is to always be at the forefront of technology development to ensure the customer the very best products in relation to financing and payment solutions. - Our focus is to increase the value of existing value chains with our flexible and easily integrated platform, and to enhance the consumer experience. The Tollit app is a great example of integrating an all-in-one solution, contributing to a disruptive, transparent and easy new solution, simplifying the entire shopping experience and solving customer problems. We are very thrilled and excited by partnering up with Tollit, says CEO Harald Dahl-Pedersen at Optin Bank.   Transparent and flexible for the customer Another advantage of the Tollit app is that the consumer pays for the entire process in one place - everything from the purchase of the item, to customs and VAT, the actual customs clearance and shipping - without any surprises. The customers can choose whether they want to pay by invoice, installment, account, Vipps or card.  - It is a very flexible solution for the customers, which we know will be appreciated. We are the only company that offers exactly this solution in today's market, where everything is included. And we believe this will be safe, secure, easy and not least transparent for the consumer, say the two founders. An app to save time, money and frustrations Tollit 's focus has been to develop a technical platform providing a solid foundation for building a stable and flexible user experience. - When the customer buys the item, they simply press the Tollit icon to clear the item. Then we will digitally obtain all information required to clear the item for the customer. Everything is adapted to the Norwegian customs tariff, so we have simplified the whole process - and everything is done in a few minutes. The package is ready for customs clearance when it arrives in Norway, as opposed to having a manual customs clearance. Since the entire process is digitized, it reduces the cost significantly. Our estimations indicate that we can save the consumer up to 70 percent of the cost, says Trengereid, who has initially chosen to focus on the popular nutrients segment. - Part of the reason is that nutrients, including foodstuffs, is exempted from the Norway VOEC scheme, and transitional arrangement. When you purchase such goods, they still have to be cleared in the ordinary manner, and you must pay ordinary import duty, regardless of the value of the shipment.

Integrated payment solutions for the SMB sector

Optus AS is a digital agency specialized in social media, web development, search engine optimization, content production, and sales. With Optin Bank onboard, Optus now launches Optus Finance adding a much-needed capability to its portfolio. Abtin Rahmanian, CEO of Optus says; “A core strength of ours is the digitalization of the sales process and we have many clients who need help in areas outside online marketing. The partnership with Optin Bank strengthens our position as an end-to-end digital marketing agency as it significantly improves and simplifies the customer journey. With our motto “Together we develop winning businesses” we can now help our clients in an area where the largest payment providers show them little or no interest. Our clients are often too small to have any bargaining power, and with Optin Bank at the core of Optus Finance we have managed to develop a payment solution that is simple, efficient and capable of competing with the largest on price”. For Optin Bank the partnership ticks off another milestone. Head of Sales, Freddy Mahler says; “Optus is an important step forward to us and a re-enforcement of our commitment to partnerships. With Optus embedding our payment solution in their offering, we take our first step towards a distribution model that allows us to efficiently address the SMB market – a market that is constantly struggling to compete with the big players. With Optus we also strengthen our total offering as we now have a partner that can help SMBs coming to us, with their online platforms and presence. This is a win-win-win solution for us, Optus and the end-clients”.

Vertically integrated payment solutions for the dental health sector

The dentist is done with your teeth. You had a root canal, and while you were seated, the dentist also removed the plaques you had gathered up over years of too much sugar and starches. You are a bit set off and words stumble out of your mouth as you get out of the chair. You take your coat and leave the clinic without the urge to flex your mouth and vocal cords talk to anyone. Once you get out of the clinic your phone beeps and you receive a text message saying: “Dear Kim! Thank for your visit to Tannlegen AS. Please click the link below to choose how to settle your account. You can choose to pay by invoice, credit card or VIPPs. You can also choose to postpone the invoice for 45 days, or do partial payments through a credit account. The link is active for three days, and if you have not chosen your preferred method of payment by then, you will receive an invoice through mail. Again, thank you for your visit”. The situation above is about to become a reality. Whilst not only maintaining all the operational needs of the clinic the solution is also estimated to improve operations of the clinic with approximate savings of up to 100MNOK for the dental health sector in Norway. For the patient, settling a dental bill can sometimes be a concern and dealing with how to settle larger bills in front of staff and other patients can be awkward. This situation is of no benefit to the patient nor the clinic. Maybe you don’t have money to pay immediately, or you don’t have the credit limit required on your bank account or credit card, and dealing with this in front of people you do not know can at worst feel like a violation of privacy. Harald Dahl Pedersen, CEO of OptinBank says: “With OptinPay Dental we are launching our first sector-specific payment solution, delivering best in class functionality for the clinic as well as the patient. Optin Pay Dental integrates with Opus Dental and requires no additional investments or training of staff to operate. The patient can settle the invoice in private, choosing what makes the most sense for him or her at the time. With experts from the dental sector onboard, the three partners have developed a flexible and secure payment solution that covers all the needs of the clinic for day to day operations. Besides being simple to use for the staff, the solution supports vital functions such as EHF invoices, OCR files, supports legislation of management of sensitive patient data, reporting requirements, export functionality, and integrates fully with accounting." Harald continues: “Understanding the clinic, the dentist and the dentist/patient relationship is key. We have experts on the team with a long history from systems and dental health and with this understanding, we have tailored the solution to fit the operational needs of the clinics and developed an end-to-end value chain for payment and communications specifically catering to the needs of the dental sector. In addition, we do this with best in class terms for patients and clinics, offering the best total value for all parties. With Fair Group onboard we are able to offer a complete invoice and collections solution where the patient is the most important player." For Opus Dental, the agreement is a much sought for a breath of fresh air. Lasse Moe, CEO of Opus Systemer says;   “We are a leading provider of Dental Health Record Systems in the Nordic region, and as such our ambition to constantly advance our offering to our customer base is high. This agreement is a major push for innovation and should be seen as a signal to the market that we are not satisfied with the pace of innovation from the payment industry”.  Fair Group is a new player on the invoice and collections scene. As the name implies, they wish to be different. More importantly, the wish to be fairer. Rune Heimstad of Fair Group says; “Having a flexible solution like this to settle your payment changes the game quite substantially. As we (the three partners) are involved in the entire chain of events, we can tailor communications at every instance through the customer journey, providing a unique customer experience. At Fair Group the basic idea is to make extensive use of technology in order to be able to offer the best commercial terms in the market for the clinic as well as the patient. Combining the use of technology with our expertise and extensive experience in customer communication means that we can secure that the dentist/patient relationship is maintained and even strengthened. This secures that the patient gets the feeling that he is taken care of every step of the way”. Lasse Moe continues: “Optin Bank and Fair Group are interesting partners to us for a number of reasons. First of all, they believe, like us, that technology can be used to improve the situation for the dentist as well as the patient. Secondly, they are in the scale-up phase as companies. This means that they are agile, flexible and fast in their response to us and the needs of our partners. That they are both Norwegian makes it even more appealing as it means that Norway is finally starting to flex some muscles against players such as Swedbank and Klarna”.  Harald Dahl Pedersen sums it up: "The payment industry is definitely changing, and we believe that the partnership is significant as it marks a shift in how the payment customer journey is evolving from something of a bare necessity to something that can actually strengthen the bond between seller and buyer – in this case between dentist and patient. A competitor of ours said to me; payments are just payments. Well, I believe this to be wrong. The end-to-end approach of the partnership with Opus Systemer and Fair Group offers so many benefits for the clinic and the patient that I believe we will lead the area of payment solutions in the dental health sector for years to come”.

Optin Bank and Fair Group signs agreement on payment services

Optin Bank and Fair Group have signed an agreement that will redefine how payments are managed through the entire value-chain. Media coverage – read more about the partnership in this piece at Shifter.no.  Harald Dahl-Pedersen, CEO at Optin, says; “Optin provides financing for partners and their customers, allowing immediate payment to partners whilst offering flexible payment options to the partners’ customers. Our partnership with Fair Group will mean that we are jointly responsible for handling more than 50 000 daily transactions, representing a significant number of new potential customers for Optin” Rune Heimstad, CEO at Fair Group; “Optin Bank is an important partner for us. Through Optin we have a financial partner that enables us to deliver an even broader set of payment services to our clients.” The increased volumes from both Fair Group and other partners will require additional funding. Optin Bank is therefore considering a share capital increase. A potential share capital increase will be conditional upon inter alia necessary corporate decisions. From left: Herman Sjøberg (CCO, Optin Bank), Christian Aandalen (CCO, Fair Group) og Harald Dahl-Pedersen (CEO, Optin Bank). Photo: Vilde Mebust Erichsen, Shifter.no  

Optin Bank strengthens the team

A reinforced team is in place at Optin Bank ASA. Now the team is ready to launch next generation banking – eCommerce 4.0.In total, the new bank challenger has got 10 new employees in their team this fall. In addition to the new CFO and and Head of Sales wich both were announced before summer, the Optin team has been strengthened with Head of Customer Center, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer and Chief Credit Officer. The team has also been strengthened in important areas such as project management, strategy and business development, financial accounting and customer service.   Fully Operational CEO Harald Dahl-Pedersen says: “We now have a fully operational, proprietary eCommerce finance platform ready to be integrated with partners and customers. Combined with a highly dedicated and professional team, we are well equipped to not only fight, but also win the big battle”. Read more about profile on CEO Harald Dahl Pedersen and the Optin Bank-strategy here.   The new members of the Optin Bank team: Torben Stausholm, Chief Financial Officer Adrian Henanger, Chief Credit Officer Mahboubeh Laura Pejam, Financial Controller Helge Benum, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer Freddy Mahler Frimann, Head of Sales Marikken Kalseth, Manager Customer Centre Marianne Isene, Customer Centre Sjur Mostveit Lindholm, Customer Centre Simen Bakken, Project Manager Michael Engström, Strategy and Business Development Read more about how Optin Bank is challenging Klarna here. 

Optin Bank – eCommerce 4.0

After many years of banking and finance, it was time. For years Harald Dahl-Pedersen had been working on the idea of ​​building a completely new type of bank. In March 2017 he finally got the opportunity: This would be the starting point for a partner-focused, technology driven bank – Optin Bank, a serious challenger to the established players in eCommerce financing. Harald is the CEO of Optin Bank and knows the finance and banking industry by heart after almost three decades in companies such as American Express, Citibank and Santander Consumer Bank. In Santander he was deeply involved in a 10-year growth process including the acquisition and integration of GE Money Bank, where he held the position as Nordic Director of Business Development, Organization & Cost. “Changing and creating sustainable companies, organizations, products or partnerships is what really inspires me – and for the same reason also where my experience lies”, he says. “With Optin Bank, we aim to redefine how eCommerce financing is delivered and perceived by merchants and end-customers alike. We are creating a better solution for the customer and stronger financials for our partners. These two goals are both realistic through the use of new technology”.   Huge potential in new technology Having worked in executive positions with large banking structures, he has seen tremendous potential in using technology to develop a sustainable competitive advantage for a new player in the eCommerce segment. “Platforms without legacy, supporting a new level of agility that enables technology to act as a catalyst for commercial growth for our partners is definitely the future of eCommerce. And for Optin Bank, I might add”. When Harald Dahl-Pedersen met with two of the founders and investors of Optin Bank almost two and a half years ago – it was a perfect match: “We had the same strategic vision and partner focus. The founders bring extensive international background from retail and e-commerce, coupled with the experience of being on the receiving end with the partner in e-commerce, and myself bringing in banking, operational and strategic expertise. Our ideas aligned and we both saw that this was a very good match. Since then we have worked hard, long days to get to where we are now, with great rewards for all involved”. he says.   A unique proposition for partnership in the eCommerce space “Our ambition is to become a leading contender to the established players within eCommerce financing. Optin Bank will provide financing for eCommerce partners and their customers, allowing for immediate payments to the merchant and partners, while also offering flexible payment options to the partners’ customers in a simple and more client friendly way,” he says. “We live and breathe for the success of our partners and the buying experience of their customers. Our products put the partner needs first and are aligned with their product offering, process and customer strategy”. “We now have a fully operational, proprietary eCommerce finance platform ready to be integrated with partners and customers. Combined with a highly dedicated and professional team, we are well equipped to not only fight, but also win the big battle”, he says. “Through the summer we have strengthened our management and staff with highly competent and skilled people from both the client side, sales, finance, and business development”. Harald points out the Optin API as key to expanding its product offering to other structures in the payment segment. “The Optin API allows for fast and easy integration with eCommerce retailers online and in-store, payment platforms & payment providers. We can also partner with non-Fintech companies, offering our platforms under white label agreement.”   Targeting the attractive and underserved SME eCommerce market Harald explains that Optin’s initial focus has been on Norway, but emphasizes that expanding throughout Europe with their partners is an obvious next step: “Many of our partners are international, and we will support them with our product offerings in both existing and new markets,” he says.  “So far we have access to more than 3 million customers through our 12 eCommerce partners. And our access to customers through our partner network provides us with a wide variety of unique cross-sales opportunities,” he says. “Our focus is on our partners and their customers, and we offer a unique white label solution combined with a long-term commission model. We want to incentivize our partners and it should be revenue- generating in multiple ways to partner with Optin as their preferred eCommerce financing partner.”   A scalable Platform to support business growth for Optin and partners To conclude, Harald says, “We have invested heavily in our technical platform from the very beginning, and built a dynamic, scalable, multicurrency platform capable of supporting our aggressive growth targets. In the short-term we aim to build a highly profitable bank with very interesting longer-term returns for our shareholders”. “The result so far is a strong and capable growth platform for our partners, with unique capabilities to address end-user needs for financing, and a strong strategic platform providing interesting   financial returns for our investors. Optin Bank will definitely redefine eCommerce”.    

From Google to entrepreneurship and e-commerce innovation

He jumped off an international Google career. Then he became the founder of Epicenter, Oslo’s new digital innovation house – and the Chairman of the Board of the technology company Optin Bank ASA. Meet Peter Jetzel, Chairman of The Board of Optin Bank ASA: Now he wants to challenge Klarna and build a completely new e-commerce culture from Norway. In addition, he believes that rapid technology development requires brand new forms of collaboration and new ways of developing more innovative organizations. After nine years with international management positions in one of the world’s largest and most innovative companies, Peter Jetzel wanted to use his expertise on completely new challenges. He has held both the positions as Nordic and Northern European marketing director in Google. And during the past year, he was responsible for establishing Google’s strategic digitization programs – in collaboration with both private and public partners in Northern Europe.   Loves entrepreneurship Jetzel received many requests to take Board positions and participate in other companies. But it was only when two completely different startups knocked on the door that he was tempted to leave the acknowledged Google culture. “I love startups! The whole Google culture was characterized by that kind of thinking. Creating an innovation culture that challenges inefficient and established products or services. Building better, faster and more efficient solutions – it’s both important and motivating. This was what I fell for at both Epicenter and Optin Bank,” says Peter Jetzel.   Challenges the Swedish success Klarna It is not a small thing he has given himself to. As the Chairman of the startup Optin Bank, it quickly became clear that they would really challenge the established eCommerce Financing. “We will challenge Klarna and become the best friend of our eCommerce partners,” smiles Jetzel. The Swede speaks “Scandinavian” after an entire professional life in Norway. He believes that Norwegian innovators can enjoy being inspired by several of the large and rapidly growing Swedish technology companies, such as Skype, Spotify, Mojang (Minecraft) and King (Candy Crush). These companies have never been happy to only be big in Sweden – but have always had the goal of becoming a major global player. “Klarna is another good example, but in my opinion, Optin Bank has the potential to become a much better partner for those who deliver goods and services over the net,” he says.   Our partners best friend In Google, Peter learned everything about understanding the customer perspective. This is where the big battle is, he says: “Now that we are going to roll out a whole new model – an eCommerce finance platform for our partners. Then we really must be humble and do what is best for our customers. Optin provides financing for eCommerce partners and their customers, allowing immediate payment to partners whilst offering flexible payment options to the partners’ customers. This enables our partners to increase their sales.” “All too many customers decides to leave the transaction before completed – and just before payment, due to complicated and slow checkout processes. Optin Bank will solve this – so that this can be perceived as something positive for both our partners and the end customer.”   Make Costs of Revenue One of Optin Bank’s visions is to remove payment solutions that both drive up costs and results in far too low sales. Instead, the company offers a financing and payment platform that allows online stores to reduce costs, increase sales – and not least increase revenue from implementing the Optin model: “We who are challengers must think differently, disruptively and do what changes the rules of the game”, says Jetzel. He has spent a lot of time with Harald Dahl-Pedersen, who is the Optin Bank CEO and has the daily responsibility for the bank.” Dahl-Pedersen commented that: “We are incredibly fortunate to have a Chairman with Peter’s eyes and visions; we need a challenger and technology-oriented leader to lift our heads and look outside our own pond. Peter Jetzel has operated at a level that few are able to gain an insight into, which is invaluable for a company in our phase of development. He has helped us set an ambitious course. And not having national or technological barriers gives Optin Bank a strategic advantage,” says Dahl-Pedersen.   Epicenter: Digital innovation house at Holbergs Plass in Oslo Peter Jetzel’s daily workplace is on the newly opened digital innovation house “Epicenter” – located in the old Shell building in Edvard Storms gate 2, across the street to Oslo Met at Holbergs Plass in Oslo. “At Epicenter, we are building a digital innovation house where young technology companies that have passed the establishment phase, so-called “Scale ups, cooperate closely with large established companies. This is to grow faster and drive more efficient and profitable innovation,” he says. Epicenter opened cautiously on October 19, 2018, with 6,000 sqm – but has already expanded twice – and now holds 9,000 sqm and 50 companies. These are offered several flexible workplaces, common areas, meeting rooms, educational programs, exciting events & conference rooms, innovation arenas, fitness centers, restaurants, cafés and much more that are necessary for businesses that are engaged in growth and innovation. “Getting the opportunity to work at Epicenter is a great pleasure and a privilege. Every day I get inspiration and professional refills from some of the country’s most enthusiastic and talented entrepreneurs,” says Jetzel. “The environment is dynamic with a wonderful mix of ambitious entrepreneurs, of all ages. The culture is co-operative, and one generously shares knowledge – so that we all learn a lot about new technology and new business models. It is particularly gratifying that we have women and men from over 15 different nationalities represented here. It helps to increase our understanding of the important global market our members will succeed in competing in,” he smiles. Epicenter’s members include for example, Rema 1000, Bertel O. Steen, Google, Danske Bank, Webstep, Spacemaker, Fjong – and several more are about to move in. Here is also created an arena where the larger companies can cooperate, both with each other – and with the smaller, but rapidly growing technology companies.   Optin and Payr When Peter Jetzel entered the board of Optin Bank, CEO Harald Dahl-Pedersen became very curious about the Epicenter concept. Therefore, he decided to have at least one office day a week at the new coworking arena: “You must live as you learn, and we have benefited from that,” says Dahl-Pedersen. And cooperation with forward-looking startups is for true an important part of the Optin strategy. A good example is a new cooperation agreement with the Norwegian fintech company Payr. In an international fintech magazine, Payr was recently voted one of the Nordic’s 10 hottest fintech companies. “The collaboration has already produced very interesting discussions about business development only after a few weeks from the time we notified the market about the agreement,” says Harald Dahl-Pedersen. “This is how we like to work”, concludes chairman Jetzel, “If we want to be the best, we must also associate ourselves with the most innovative and forward-looking partners,” he says.   More about Optin Bank ASA: Optin Bank in cooperation on e-commerce: https://aptic.no/optin-bank-2/ Optin Bank has signed eCommerce agreements: https://optinbank.no/globalassets/public-site/investor-relations/pressemelding-optin-bank-asa—markedsinformasjon.pdf Optin Bank partnered with Payr: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6532188800330846208

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