The popularity of Estonia’s e-Residency increases. Not only is it becoming more popular, especially with Brexit fearful Brits, but new banking and payments services attach themselves to extend the attractions. In May Holvi, a fintech company from Finland, launched borderless digital banking. Now international payments company Paymentwall has launched a service called ‘Passport’ in collaboration with Estonia’s e-Residency programme to offer entrepreneurs a global payment solution.
According to Kaspar Korjus, Managing Director of e-Residency: “We are delighted to be part of this groundbreaking initiative from Paymentwall. The business world does not have any shortage of ideas or talent, but financial barriers are still holding people back from their entrepreneurial potential – often just because of their location.
“E-Residency is aiming to democratise entrepreneurship globally by offering location independent company management, and Paymentwall Passport will help contribute to our shared goal of digital and financial inclusion worldwide.”
Passport and e-Residency
By using Passport, entrepreneurs and businesses will have access to a global network of companies. These offer a range of support services to help them build an international company. The underlying platform enables users to:
- find workspace
- obtain localization services
- access business banking
- register a company in Estonia
- accept payments.
All this occurs courtesy of Passport. The Paymentwall network now consists of over 100 companies and institutions, including:
- Estonia’s e-Residency programme
- the Estonian Centre of Registers and Information Systems
“We are incredibly excited about the launch of Passport. Estonia’s e-Residency program was established to enable entrepreneurs from around the world to open and run a global EU company fully online. Now with Passport, the process of setting up an EU company and connecting the payment processing solutions becomes even easier. Passport is especially useful for entrepreneurs in countries like Ukraine, Turkey, India and others, where we already see strong growth, primarily because the global payment solutions are not as readily available.” said Oleg Gutsol, Head of Global Growth at e-Residency.
“Starting a business should be a simple and streamlined process anywhere in the world,” said Honor Gunday, CEO of Paymentwall. “We built Paymentwall Passport to remove the barriers that prevented entrepreneurs in emerging markets to pursue the most innovative ideas and to help them incorporate in the European Union.”
Paymentwall is a global payments platform enabling participants to make payments using credit cards and 150 local payment options around the world. It has over 200,000 merchants using its solution. Among them are SEGA, LG Electronics, Bandai Namco, Shopify, Kakao Games and Tencent.
As a ‘merchant of record’, it offers a range of services for digital commerce. This includes features such as:
- global payment coverage
- fraud and risk management
- 24/7 international customer and merchant support
- delivery confirmation and risk management APIs
- sales and pricing optimization
- UI/UX customization
- skinnable checkout widgets and flows
- VAT and sales sax management.
The international and Brexit dimension of e-Residency
To start an EU-based company using Estonia’s e-Residency, an individual must become an e-resident of Estonia. Once that individual has obtained e-Residency, which can happen in Estonia or at selected Estonia Embassies around the world, he or she can:
- obtain a business address from a number of service providers
- choose your business name
- register an Estonian company online with the e-Business Register (or with the help of a business service provider)
- open bank accounts
- pay taxes on profits made.
In essence, once you have successfully registered your business (individual or corporate) the e-resident can gain access to a merchant account, receive payments for invoices and pay bills – from around the world.
For Britons concerned by the myriad uncertainties of Brexit and wanting a straightforward toehold in the EU, becoming an e-Resident is an attractive option. Before Brexit only 3 UK people per week applied: immediately this rose to 50 per week.
What does it mean
Estonia startled many when it created the e-Resident program. At first many dismissed it as irrelevant. Yet it has attracted some 22,000 approved e-Residents to date. The program even has its own dashboard to monitor progress.
The contribution of e-Residency to the Estonian economy has yet to become clear. But, as services like those from Paymentwall and Holvi complement the basic programme, the attractions grow. To be able to operate and manage a modern business via digital means, with full legal and fiscal compliance, is a modern marvel.
It is also an option for all those wishing to have an EU ‘business presence’. While the attractions post-Brexit for UK businesses are obvious they apply to others outside the EU (as the UK will become) just as much.
[Full disclosure: the author is an e-Resident.]