Q&A with Marc-Alexander Christ at SumUp

SumUp Marc Alexander Christ Between 2016-2022, the share of cash transactions at the point-of-sale has decreased in Europe from 79% to 59%1 and this trend is more even more pronounced in some countries within Europe. Smaller merchants wanting to accept cards is both a cause and effect of this trend. 

Historically small business owners have been neglected by the market and the solutions available did not fit their needs. High cost, complexity and lack of integration with small merchant POS solutions have all prevented them from adopting card-based payments in the past.  

Since 2012, SumUp has made it its mission to enable small businesses to accept digital payments and now counts more than 4 million of them as its customers. SumUp gives access to financial services to the millions of businesses that are considered too small by banks and traditional providers. What started out as one card reader has now turned into a range of readers, multiple remote payment solutions such as Invoices, Gift Cards, Payment Links and much more. 

Payments Consulting Network Director, Dr. Leo Lipis, caught up with Marc-Alexander Christ, Co-Founder of SumUp, to discuss how the company is supporting businesses of all sizes with affordable, simple, and integrated payment solutions. 

You can read the highlights of the conversation below.

LL: Please provide a brief high-level overview of your business.  

MC: SumUp is a leading global financial technology company driven by the purpose of levelling the playing field for small businesses. Founded in 2012, SumUp is the financial partner for more than 4 million small merchants in 36 markets worldwide, helping them start, run and grow their business. 

Through its SuperApp, SumUp can provide merchants with a free business account and card, an online store, and an invoicing solution – as well as in-person and remote payment acceptance seamlessly integrated with SumUp’s card terminals and point-of-sale registers.  

SumUp is committed to leveraging its success to make the world a better place, pledging to donate 1% of its revenue to support environmental causes and advocating for educational and entrepreneurial projects around the world. In 2023 SumUp was recognised as a Top Global Employer for inclusion by the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. 

LL: What payments services do you offer merchants and not-for-profit organisations? 

MC: SumUp started with the idea of bringing card acceptance to Micro and Nano merchants who traditional payment service providers underserved. It was the main pain point to solve and the first step on our journey to make our vision: “A world where everyone can build a thriving business” a reality.  

Since then, we have expanded our offering to the SMEs of this world and offer an entire ecosystem of products and services that can empower anyone to start, run and grow their business.  

Currently, the SumUp product ecosystem includes Card readers for every size of business, online store, loyalty, Tap to Pay, Point of Sale solutions, invoices, payment links and QR codes, business accounts and card, Kiosk, SumUp Pay, and cash advance. 

LL: Are there any industry sectors or client types that you focus on for merchant services? 

MC: Nano merchants (from single-person operators) all the way through to sport stadiums and major event spaces, and everything in between. SumUp supports a multitude of verticals from gastro to taxi drivers, doctors and retail shop owners. 

LL: What do you see as your key strengths with respect to merchant services?

MC: SumUp has an absolute customer-centric approach, which means we are constantly innovating our product suite and offer to the market. We design all our products in-house which allows us to create top-notch solutions at affordable prices while keeping all the needs and challenges of our merchants in mind. 

LL: What do you see as your key differentiators with respect to merchant services? 

MC: Merchants are at the core of everything SumUp does – from the human touch of customer service to our desire to update and modify the product suite to meet merchant demands as the ways of conducting business change. We offer low and transparent transaction fees, which has always been a staple of merchant services, and it’s our fixation on making it as easy as possible to get paid and do business. 

LL: What were your key achievements over the last 12 months in merchant services?

MC: Over the past year, SumUp has achieved significant milestones, solidifying its position as one of the leading players in the global fintech industry. Here are some key achievements from the last 12 months: 

1. Partnership with JCB (Europe)

By collaborating with JCB, SumUp gains access to a wider network of European merchants and customers. 

2. Launch of subscription product SumUp One (IT, SP, UK, FR, DE)

This demonstrates SumUp’s commitment to offering innovative and cost-effective solutions to merchants.

3. Launch of SumUp Kiosk (UK)

SumUp’s Kiosk solution promises to revolutionise order processing for merchants across various industries, ranging from bustling quick-service restaurants to large-scale venues hosting major events. By facilitating swift order turnover, it not only enhances efficiency but also translates into significant time and cost savings for businesses.

4. SumUp launches in Australia, marking its 36th market entry

The move aligns with SumUp’s commitment to empower small businesses worldwide with intuitive hardware and software solutions.

5. Funding of $100 million for merchant cash advance product (UK)

SumUp secures a $100 million credit facility with Victory Park Capital, enabling advance payments to UK merchants and soon, others across Europe. SumUp Cash Advance offers up to £20,000 based on payment history, repaid flexibly through card transactions, with transparent fixed fees and no hidden charges.

6. Launch of Tap to Pay on iPhone (UK, FR, NL)

SumUp introduces Tap to Pay on iPhone, enabling merchants to accept various contactless payments with just their iPhone and the SumUp iOS app. This feature eliminates the need for additional hardware, providing flexibility for merchants of all sizes. It serves as a stepping stone for nano merchants looking to scale, aligning with SumUp’s goal of democratising digital payments.

7. Funding round of €285 million

This substantial investment is earmarked to drive SumUp’s organic growth initiatives and further develop its suite of financial services centred around its innovative card readers and point-of-sale tools. These services encompass a wide array of functionalities, including invoicing, loyalty programs, and dedicated business accounts. 

LL: What industry changes or trends do you see occurring over the next 2-3 years that will have a major impact on your business and/or your clients?

MC:  We are preparing for several key shifts set to impact our business operations:

  • Transactions evolving towards a fee-free model 
  • Emergence of subscription-based payment structures 
  • Increased integration of payment systems across various platforms 
  • Adoption of closed-loop ecosystems for streamlined transactions 
  • Utilisation of AI and Machine Learning for enhanced fraud detection, risk management, and customer experience
  • Heightened focus on sustainability and social responsibility among consumers and businesses alike 
  • Growing recognition of digital payments as a means to bolster financial inclusion efforts 
LL: What key criteria or features should a business consider when evaluating payments service providers? 

MC: It’s about the full package– transaction fees, customer service, subscriptions and the ability to scale up/down according to your needs, time taken to get paid out, whether additional services are offered beyond payments, and whether the provider can help you with other areas of your business to simplify operations. 

Author: Leo Lipis, Director, Berlin, Payments Consulting Network  

Drawing on 25+ years of expertise in payment market analysis and product development, Leo offers invaluable business insights for strategically managing product and service innovation. Internationally recognized as a payment system design authority, Leo possesses comprehensive knowledge of payments and related industries.  


1 https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/blog/date/2023/html/ecb.blog230206~1ea270a762.en.html 


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Published On: 24 April 2024Categories: Blog, ProfilesTags: , ,