The one to watch: the French banking proposition innovating for corporates

If you run a business in France and like the idea of operating more efficiently, you ought to know about manager.one. The company is changing the way French businesses control their finances through a refreshing approach to banking that places intuitive customer experiences centre stage.

France’s “first online bank for entrepreneurs”

Dubbed France’s “first online bank for entrepreneurs,” manager.one recently partnered with Marqeta to deliver a new Visa virtual corporate card proposition to its account holders. The process is well underway and customers who have migrated so far are delighted with the new options, such as “the change PIN” and more importantly the release of virtual cards.

The partnership, which also included IDEMIA for new physical cards, enabled manager.one to secure principal membership of the Visa card scheme, and then launch its new offering within six short months.

manager.one’s Visa virtual card gives users greater protection against fraud, better control over company expenses, and a significant reduction in the amount of time they need to spend on administrative tasks, while offering numerous functions to its users.

Here’s one such use case scenario: Your team members regularly wine and dine clients, racking up a sizable annual hospitality expense. With manager.one’s virtual card, payments won’t be authorised until the bill or invoice has been photographed and submitted via the virtual card app. This ensures all purchases are transparent and saves the time required to manually input receipts — real-time fraud identification and bookkeeping all wrapped up in one. 

And although France is served by a range of neobanks and fintechs offering business to business (B2B) banking and accounting products, manager.one, whose payment card was named the most innovative for business by KPMG in 2019, is attempting to do things differently.

The company is the result of former entrepreneurs who yearned for a banking proposition that would bend to their business needs. In a way, this mirrors Marqeta’s formative experience. They built an online banking solution for business; we built a payment processing solution for card programmes.   

Removing pain points from broken business banking experience

Typically in France, as in many other markets, an entrepreneur looking to open a bank account and secure financing would have to create an in-depth business plan — a major distraction for many start-ups. There were also complaints about a lack of transparency on pricing. 

manager.one is challenging this way of working by using data-driven know your customer (KYC) processes that remove pain points from the corporate banking experience, in addition to offering up better value while boasting functionality way beyond anything currently being delivered by a traditional French bank.

Revolutionising business banking with innovative thinking

manager.one co-founder Adrien Touati says there is a huge opportunity to revolutionise banking in the B2B market, which also potentially offers better rewards than its business to consumer (B2C) counterparts.

“Whilst there is a growing number of B2B solutions, the market in France is big enough to accommodate us because we have a unique proposition. We’re going to be innovating aggressively in the next two to three years with our card and payments offering. We absolutely want to see change in business banking in the same way that the consumer banking experience is being transformed. We’re also thinking deeply about how we can help businesses operate more ethically and ecologically —it’s important to us that we get this right and deliver something that is impactful.

Why it’s important to choose a partner with the same DNA

The successful delivery of manager.one’s Visa corporate card is in no small part due to manager.one and Marqeta sharing the “same DNA” and a “certain pace of working,” according to Adrien. This joint approach ensured a smooth onboarding process, which was carefully cradled by a technical team that responded to challenges positively and quickly. Indeed, partnerships work well when synergies are identified and then maximised. 

The relationship with manager.one has also given Marqeta a solid understanding of the French market and the cultural nuances of working in this important European jurisdiction. Country by country, Marqeta’s market-agnostic proposition in Europe is becoming appealing across the Continent.   

Over the coming months, we’ll be watching manager.one closely, as its impressive innovation trajectory is sure to continue delivering learnings for the B2B payments sector in France and beyond.