Global online payment processor Payza has announced it is now offering customers in 190 countries the ability to buy bitcoin via bank transfer.
Payza took to its official blog to reveal the news, though this formal announcement followed preliminary tweets from both Payza business development consultant Charlie Shrem and the London and Montreal-based company itself.
In its formal remarks, Payza hinted that the bitcoin buying option will allow it to pursue larger goals in the bitcoin and digital currency space, stating:
"This is our first step into the exciting space of cryptocurrency, currency that exists solely in the digital world. At Payza, we're very interested in bitcoin and cryptocurrency, and we have big plans to expand the way bitcoin can be used on our platform."
Payza first detailed its plans in the digital currency space in a May blog post that discussed bitcoin's potential as a payments tool. This interest was further made evident in July, when Payza confirmed rumors to the The Wall Street Journal that Shrem was serving the company in an advisory role.
-- Payza News (@Payzaofficial) August 11, 2014
Speaking to CoinDesk, Shrem elaborated on Payza's goals, suggesting that the company's biggest opportunities may be in catering to bitcoin's merchant space.
He explained that, unlike popular alternatives such as BitPay and Coinbase, Payza could become a one-stop solution for new merchants that want to capitalize on bitcoin but offer multiple payment methods.
"[Payza will] be the only company where if a merchant actually wants to accept both credit card and bitcoin, they only need to work with one company," he said.
Shrem indicated that Payza does not charge users to deposit funds into their accounts, but that a 2% charge for users who buy bitcoin via the platform applies. Buyers lock in the price of bitcoin upon purchase, however, the withdrawal process can be expected to take up to three days.
Given that users are not charged to send funds through Payza, Shrem also remarked that the offering could position the company to become a player in the remittance space, adding:
"[We're] drastically bringing down the price of remittances - 2% total end-to-end. We're going to be adding the ability to send deposit in bitcoin as well, so you can move bitcoin between accounts and it won't cost anything."
Refining the product
As for why the product took some time to reach market, Shrem attributed the somewhat lengthy process to Payza's desire to ensure its first offering was ready for bitcoin consumers.
Shrem pointed out that Payza decided on five phases for the rollout, and that in addition to the development work, phases included training customer service and securing support from banking partners.
He said many of these considerations were the product of Payza's near-decade of experience in the payment industry, working with both regulators and its banking partners.
"Payza has very good relationships with regulators already [...] With bitcoin companies [...] they don't have compliance officers, they're kind of new to the scene, they don't know what's going on. With Payza, it's kind of refreshing for me because I'm used to working with startups, working with a company like them is very organic and it's a lot easier to get things done."
Creating an account
Larger goals aside, Payza has also given consumers a first look at how its new offering will look, and what it will require from bitcoin buyers.
To create an account, users first select the country in which they reside before then electing to open a personal or business account.
Both accounts allow users to collect payments, exchange currencies and make payments via the platform.
Users then provide their first and last name, email address and create a password before validating their email.
To transact, Payza users need to then complete their profile with the service, providing information such as their job title, industry of work and Social Security number.
Then, users input their address, phone number and create security questions to ensure the safety of their account.
How it works
Called the 'Withdraw Funds by Bitcoin' feature, Payza boasts that verified users can buy bitcoin in three steps: withdrawing funds, verifying the currency and confirming the transaction.
To start this process, users click on the 'Withdraw Funds' button on the top corner of their account screen. Next they select 'Bitcoin' from a list of available options that includes bank transfer, bank wire and credit card.
Finally, Payza customers enter the amount of funds they want to withdraw. Users must withdraw a minimum of $20 to complete their order.
Business man image via Shutterstock