Hair salons may not seem like a huge market, but the country has around 130,000 of them, and 20,000 use a hair salon management system called Squire. It handles online bookings, sends reminders to customers when it’s time to book appointments and pays barbers even if they don’t have a bank account, and also provides them with an easy way to use the debit payments to pay for their chair rent.
Many barbers lack bank accounts and convenient access to basic financial services. As a result, they often have mismatched cash flow and lump sum income that can lead to financial hardship, according to a case study by Obligationthe banking-as-a-service (BaaS) company that provides the financial technology behind Squire.
“We’re partnering with them to offer a Squire Card that allows barbers to get paid in real time, with their salary and tip going directly to the barber’s card,” said Roy Ng, CEO of Bond. In the past, many barbers had to take out payday loans to get by between paychecks. During the pandemic, many customers paid for their haircuts with cards or contactless phones, and tips often went to the hair salon rather than the hairdresser.
“For barbershops, this ability gives them a competitive edge to hire more barbers,” Ng said, “and Squire gets interchange fees for the store owner.
Squire co-founders Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant, who owned a hair salon, chose Bond to handle the financial operations, rather than taking 18 to 24 months to build their own. Bond delivered a fully compliant payment module integrated into the store’s management software within a few months.
“We chose Bond as our partner because we were confident they could launch the Squire Card quickly and successfully,” Salvant said. Squire then considers a credit card and will turn to Bond for that as well. Bond is a BaaS platform that enables organizations to integrate next-generation financial products into their existing customer experiences using i2c.
“We are an agnostic integrated financial platform,” said Roy Ng. “We partner with different technology providers, several different banks, and we work with a variety of KYC providers.”
But the only payment processor they use is i2c, which provides both credit and debit payments.
“We are the only consumer BaaS whose customers live on both credit and debit,” Ng said. “Throughput is very important, really fundamental. And on the credit side, we’re happy to have trade credit customers. And we provide a credit builder card for a fintech that has over 600,000 customers.
“We currently only work with i2c. We wanted to partner with someone who can act quickly and has a strong tech stack. we selected them several years ago and are satisfied so far.”
Major banking platforms offer payments, but many have different technology for distinct products they’ve developed over the years, while i2c has a unique technology stack, explained Jim McCarthy, president. of i2c inc.
“We don’t replace the client system, we work with software companies, the software company could be a neo-bank that wants to address a certain segment, like the creative economy, for example, where their customers derive revenue from YouTube or Instagram,” McCarthy says. “And if that software company wants to build a digital bank to serve that segment, we provide a platform. We don’t replace legacy, but provide infrastructure that didn’t exist. We provide an abstraction layer that facilitate the launch of the product, and then we work with a number of banks to provide the actual regulated banking services.
The company is global, he added, with operations in Japan, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean.
“We can support, debit, prepay as well as consumer credit, trade credit, installment and billing capabilities,” he said. “The big two have too many unconnected and Cobol-based platforms. If you can’t adapt quickly to changing market conditions, you’re in trouble. You need a modern cloud-based and simple infrastructure. We have one platform and one codebase for all the features I’ve described. »