What a Dream: PF Dream Payments Chooses Flexibility

For Toronto-based fintech provider and payment facilitator Dream Payments, being a PF is about having the flexibility to serve its customers and partners.

Dream enables card-present payments for business customers directly, and also powers solutions for other merchant providers. The company’s solution accepts mobile wallets as well as Interac debit and chip-and-PIN credit cards.

Dream sells its mobile POS terminal online and through retailers – most notably stores operated by Telus, a Canadian wireless and internet service provider. Users can buy the Dream Payments device and subsequently register with the company for an account to begin accepting payments.

In August, it expanded the retail sales concept by launching its National Dealer Program, which enables additional retailers such as mobile and electronics stores to sell its mobile POS services to their business clients.

For Dream, selling its hardware through retailers like Telus is a logical way to leverage an existing network.

“Mobile dealers have an outbound sales force that have long-term relationships with small businesses and customers, and they want to sell more value-added services,” said Christian Ali, chief marketing officer for Dream. When a business owner comes to the store to buy phones for their business, the ability to also purchase a mobile solution to accept payments is a natural fit.

Many of the company’s clients are retailers or professional or personal service providers, Ali said. And while small and micromerchants might find that company’s solution a cost-effective way to enter the market, expanding businesses might use it as a companion to their existing solution – providing the Dream devices to field employees or using them in pop-up locations, for example.

The company operates as registered payment facilitator, a decision that Ali said gives it more flexibility to define the terms under which it does business.

“We had this really great technology. We didn’t want to just be a reseller,” Ali said.

The payment facilitator designation helps Dream Payments provide the elements of its service that it sees as differentiating it, such as rapid onboarding and its ability to “bring more than payments to the table,” Ali said.

As part of its effort to go beyond payments acceptance to improve workflow for its customers, the company has formed a relationship with QuickBooks that Ali said has enabled deep and detailed integration with the accounting software.

“Once you connect dream to QuickBooks online, every transaction, all the sales details, the inventory, everything is updated instantly, with checks and balances all visible on the dashboard,” he said. This positions Dream favorably compared to other payments providers who may simply enable batch updates from the software.

While it does sell devices, Ali said that Dream Payments sees itself first and foremost as a platform provider. In addition to reaching out directly to users, Dream also makes its platform available to financial institutions and other merchant providers.

“We can help financial institutions get to market faster by licensing our product. By the time banks can develop these types of products and launch, the market has typically moved on,” Ali said. “We can get them to market much more quickly.”

In March, the company announced a deal through which it would power Chase Paymentech’s mobile payments solution in Canada.

Ali said that Dream sees partnerships – through its dealers or through financial institutions – as a way to reach users.

A large percentage of the existing business is already owned by incumbents, he said, so it’s worth finding a way to work with them and to make their jobs easier.

“As long as you’re focused on improving the consumer experience and raising the bar, you’re unlikely to fail,” Ali said. “It’s when you start losing focus on the consumer that things start to derail.”

Dream announced a funding round in March that will support an upcoming entry into the U.S. While Ali wasn’t ready to share details yet, he confirmed that a U.S. expansion is still in the works.