With the price of Bitcoin on the rise, and its popularity sky rocketing recently, quite a bit of merchants are looking into accepting the crypto-currency. With the rising popularity, the need for third party solutions to help in processing these transactions for merchants who are interested in supporting Bitcoin is also on the rise.
Following the interview of Paige Freeman, VP Sales at Bitpay, we interviewed European Bitcoin Processor BIPS’ CEO and Founder, Kris Henriksen to discuss Bitcoin processing, adding Bitcoin to your supported currencies, and what makes BIPS stand out in the Bitcoin landscape.
Payment Magnates: Can you tell us a little bit about BIPS?
Kris Henriksen: BIPS is a way to elevate Bitcoin to a higher level for merchants and consumers alike.
We have developed a product that is optimized for Ecommerce, m-commerce and in-store Bitcoin transactions; from shopping cart modules, mobile checkout to point of sale solutions. And now integration with two of the biggest hosted Ecommerce solutions, Bigcommerce and Shopify.
What we have accomplished with our product is building a business that has rapidly become The European Leader in Bitcoin Payment Solutions, thus helping the expansion of Bitcoin in Europe.
A merchant on BIPS can choose to have their entire sales in Bitcoin converted and sent to their bank account automatically, they can set a percentage to be transferred, or simply keep Bitcoins in their BIPS Bitcoin Wallet.
On the consumer side BIPS facilitates the possibility of buying and selling Bitcoin via a wide range of banking options, including direct deposits and international bank transfers.
Also we will begin offering US merchants domestic bank transfers via ACH Direct Deposit. This is just one of the new features, which we are very happy to be able to offer to all of our merchants.
PM: Speaking of your recent partnership with Shopify, could you please expand on that and on what the partnership means for your customers and Shopify’s customers as well?
KH: Getting the benefits of powerful Bitcoin integration for a Shopify store is as simple as following a few steps — no coding required. Using BIPS Bitcoin Payment Gateway API on top of Shopify APIs and libraries makes it easy. With the addition of BIPS opening up for Bitcoin payments for 70,000+ stores, merchants can choose a payment network with a worldwide reach, with lower fees, and no risk of chargebacks.
PM: With other companies also providing Bitcoin processing, what makes BIPS stand out?
KH: To the best of our knowledge, we know of two other companies that do Bitcoin processing. They are both based in the US, so what makes our business stand out is being based and having our headquarters in Europe. From here we are able to accommodate merchants from all of over the euro zone while still being able to provide merchant processing with our Bitcoin Gateway to those merchants wanting to accept Bitcoins as payment while being located in the US.
We would also like to think that we are more engaged in meeting customer needs, even if it requires an outside of the box approach.
PM: What are the types of merchants that BIPS supports?
KH: Providing the features mentioned above enables BIPS to support pretty much any type of merchant. Our mission is to enable every business to accept Bitcoin as payment for goods and services – as long as the goods and services are legal in both the provider and recipient’s respective countries.
We believe that even the smallest of merchants needs to be able to accept payments other than cash or credit cards, without going through hoops and having to pay astronomical fees.
We have recently added merchants who have been victims of credit card fraud and chargebacks, and they are using Bitcoins as a method to accept payment from those customers their system deems unsafe or high risk.
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PM: Do you have any suggestions or advice for merchants who are interested in accepting Bitcoin as one of their currencies, and how should they go about it?
KH: By accepting Bitcoin, be it an online or brick and mortar store, you do not pay any fees to uphold a BIPS account or monthly fees for having it. You don’t even pay merchant processing fees; and can have the Bitcoin from sales converted instantly and have it wired to your bank account in more than 160 currencies to any part of the world.
By jumping on the bandwagon, not only will you get free press, the Bitcoin community will love you for it, even though not many will purchase with Bitcoin, Yet!
This is one of the reasons our new tagline is: “This is the future – We’re working in a market that doesn’t even exist yet”.
PM: We know that one of the highlights of receiving payments in Bitcoin is that transactions cannot be disputed or charged back. With that being said, how do you handle a complaint of fraudulent use, if there are any such complaints?
KH: There will always be the option for a consumer to dispute the payment made to a merchant, however BIPS will not mediate this dispute. What we are working on in regards to this limitation on the customers side when using Bitcoin is that we have assigned this as a case to solve for a class of 10 business school students. Our expectation is a solution that will benefit the customer as much as Bitcoin,
with providing benefits for the merchants in terms of no chargebacks, low to zero fees and the access to a global network of customers across borders.
Our current solution to this limitation for customers is a form of escrow in between the merchant. However this is on the drawing board as of now.
PM: What exactly are the compliance regulations when it comes to Bitcoin processing?
KH: Compliance varies in different regions of the world and from country to country even. At BIPS we believe we have adopted a system that covers most ends. We perform KYC (know your customer) on our clients wishing to use our buy/sell feature, including merchants who wish to receive payments to their bank account. Our KYC is an EU standard verification process of identity to limit fraud and illegal activities.
We have had close communication with the Danish financial regulatory body “Finanstilsynet” and they have confirmed that as of now, there are no compliance regulations for Bitcoin.
At BIPS we proactively strive to comply with the current regulations for a financial services business, such as when, or if the time comes, we are already prepared to deal with the requirements.
PM: When we spoke to BlueSnap CEO Ralph Dangelmier, he stated that digital currencies like Bitcoin will only be successful in countries with an unstable economy. Do you agree, or do you think that Bitcoin can be successful worldwide?
KH: As much as I would love to agree to this statement, I just cannot, maybe a year or two ago. What we at BIPS see in Bitcoin goes far beyond what anyone could have imagined. Bitcoin has truly become the number one choice for merchants wanting to expand their business across borders.
PM: Lastly, we have noticed a steady increase in the price of Bitcoin that just recently surpassed the high pricing back in April after Cyprus’ “incident”, although it seems to have decreased a bit over the weekend. Could you tell us a bit about where you think Bitcoin will be in the near future, price wise and its place in the economic marketplace?
KH: This is probably one of the things when talking about Bitcoin that I will not be able to provide a decent answer to. It is nearly impossible to predict the market rate of Bitcoin as it is a currency backed by the people. Perhaps it will just continue to go up until one Satoshi (0.00000001 BTC) is worth $1 dollar, which is a market rate of $100,000,000 for one Bitcoin…