“We find it absolutely crazy that, in 2022 … you can tap your watch to make a payment, but you still get handed this big, long piece of paper,” says Paul Weingarth, CEO and Co-founder of Slyp. He says around 20,000 km worth of paper receipts are printed each day in Australia – almost 500 marathons, or from Sydney to Perth and back twice – “it’s just complete madness”.
Slyp allows customers to pay with their bank card and automatically receive an itemised tax receipt inside their mobile banking app or via SMS. Although paper receipts have been around for years, 95% of them are non-recyclable because they’re printed on thermal paper, which also contains BPA toxins. It’s a big cost and a lot of “mindless waste”. Not only that, but Weingarth[HP1] believes there’s a lot of missed opportunity “to bring banks and retailers closer together with their customer”.
Paul Weingarth, Spiro Rokos, and Mike Boyd started Slyp in 2017 after working at PayPal’s sales and technology teams and ANZ, respectively. They created it on a core foundation: ‘if you delight your customers, they don’t just buy from you, they will rely on you’. Since then, the Company was one of Australia’s first fintechs to be backed by all four major banks and has recently gone live with the first of the “Big Four” banks, NAB. Weingarth says the backing and collaboration puts Slyp in a “unique position”.
“I don’t believe there are other fintechs that have the blessing and the backing of the four major [banks], and I suppose the reason we find ourselves in such a unique position is [because] … the product and the solution that we’re building around standardising Smart Receipts – not just digitising paper receipts but bringing them into the smart world – requires standardisation and collaboration across the major banks and beyond.”
Weingarth also says that’s the reason this has never been done before: “for this new technology to take place … it requires that collaboration across the industry to become a standard, to have that consistent experience”.
“The utility of the receipt as we know it today is used for claims, whether that be a return claim, a warranty claim, an expense claim, a tax claim and so on. So, it’s a legal document, and for example if a customer wants to come back into a store to return an item, the merchant themselves needs to have a consistent receipt experience, as the customer does, for that return process. So, it requires standardisation … and for that standardisation to occur, we need the collaboration across the banks and really one provider to deliver the standard across all these different banking apps to their customers.
“It’s a unique proposition in itself [that] hasn’t been done before in this market, and we’re pretty well placed I think in Australia to really lead the world when it comes to Smart Receipts.”
Let’s take a step back – what are Smart Receipts? According to Slyp, “a Smart Receipt is a tax compliant, easily accessible proof of purchase that lives directly in your mobile banking app, or via SMS”. The Slyp Smart Receipt provides consumers with immediate access to, for example, an itemised tax receipt, return barcodes and reminders, warranty reminders, product information, and store opening hours and social media links.
“The way the platform works effectively is [a] customer pays, we receive the receipt from the merchant’s POS (point of sale) system, we then match that receipt to the customer’s bank card – so we’re built our own plumbing between the merchant’s POS system and the bank’s transaction platform – and then … the customer will receive the update inside their existing banking app.
“Effectively, from inside the banking app user experience perspective, the customer will click on a transaction and then they can go one step further to view the receipt itself. It’s not just a better view of their transaction history, it’s a fully functional receipt, so it replaces the need for paper receipts all together.
“They don’t fade, they don’t get lost, they live where you’d expect them to live, which is linked to the payment itself.”
In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of email or text receipts, but these have limitations too, which Slyp aims to overcome. “There’s a couple of challenges with those stop-gap solutions: One is it takes a lot of time and friction at the point of payment, which is not what retailers want and not what customers want. Customers have to hand over their personal information in [an] exposed environment to a stranger. And then, the customer gets a receipt sent to them inside their email inbox, which probably ends up in spam a lot of the time, and it’s a static PDF of a receipt and it’s not in a contextual environment.”
The ease of use and data connectivity is what sets Smart Receipts apart from these methods.
“You’ve probably been there like me, no doubt, where you’re looking at your banking app and you’re going ‘what the hell was that charge?’ and trying to reconcile your spend through your transaction list.
“Having that added level of transparency and detail with a Smart Receipt is of value, and banks obviously really like that because it means less people calling up the bank and disputing transactions, [it] obviously drives better engagement for the bank inside their banking app, and just creates a better all round cardholder experience.”
However, Weingarth also says that “receipts are very much just the start to solving this problem” and that, “the vision for Slyp is to power the world’s most convenient transaction experience”.
“In the early part of next year, we’ll be augmenting the Smart Receipt to include what we call ‘Smart Loyalty’. As part of the receipt payload we get from the merchant POS, if you’ve tapped your loyalty club card for that particular retailer, and then you tap your bank card, we’ll be able to then link those two together.
“One of our merchants that we’re working with at the moment, the tag rate on their loyalty program is around about 5% - so only 1 in 20 customers is actually tagging their loyalty ID at the point of checkout.
“I have probably 6-10 cards, and the average customer has around about 5. So, it’s very fragmented and it’s clunky for customers, and that ultimately ends in a low take-up rate in programs or a low engagement rate in programs.
“[Slyp] will help turbo-charge their existing programs. We’re not coming in and creating a new loyalty program ourselves; we’re simply augmenting the merchant’s own program by delivering a much more frictionless and engaging experience, by linking it to the payment.
“If you think about what that can enable - for retailers, we really want to help them turn the end of a transaction into the start of a customer relationship, using their receipt as a way to deliver a utility to customer but also to help merchants reconnect with that customer post-sale.”
Weingarth also says that he’s happy they started in Australia, with the intention to expand to international markets soon.
“Australians have very much built the muscle memory of ‘tap and go’ technology. We were one of the world leaders when it comes to contactless payments and digital payments, and we’re slowly seeing the end of cash, which is good for our business and good for the broader ecosystem.
“Australia is just a really great breeding ground for this type of technology: for one, [we can] build a network through that industry collaboration, but also, Aussies love adopting new tech. We’re definitely fortunate that this is our home ground.”
When he’s not at work, Weingarth’s an avid sports fan. He’s also not the only entrepreneur in the family, and not the only one looking to reduce waste; his wife Charlotte Hick is the founder of ESSE Studios, a contemporary, ready-to-wear lifestyle brand that focusses on sustainability.