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Neobank startup Mercury takes on Brex and Rampa with new bill payment and spending management software

Digital banking startup Mercury is lby putting the software into its bank accounts, giving its business users the ability to pay bills, invoice customers and reimburse employees, the company told TechCrunch exclusively. The additional features put the company in even more direct competition with Brex and Rampa, two rival fintech companies that have been battling for market share for years. ever denser space.

The fintech, which has offered banking services to startups and other businesses since 2019, is first expanding by offering accounting automation and more sophisticated bill payment features with new software that will be integrated with its bank accounts, executives told TechCrunch exclusively. It will also begin offering invoicing and employee benefits this summer.

Mercury says it has more than 200,000 customers sending $4 billion in outgoing payments each month through its platform.

«As companies become a little more sophisticated, they want to have more control over those payments in terms of approvals and they want those payments to better integrate with their accounting system,» CEO and co-founder Immad Akhund said in an interview with TechCrunch. «Our plan is to continue adding more components like this to the bank and the financial pool (of users).

Speaking of competition, the moves pit Mercury against fintech companies other than Brex and Ramp such as Navan, Airbase and Mesh Payments, as well as leading manufacturers such as Bill.com, which also offers an invoicing solution.

In particular, it positions Mercury in even more direct competition with Brex, which also offers bank accounts, corporate cards, bill payments and expense reimbursement. Two companies were among the fintech companies that benefited the most when Bank of Silicon Valley failed in 2023 — although Brex’s growth spurt is reported stopped last year.

While Mercury is well-known in the startup world, and that’s the group it started out serving, Akhund says startups today make up less than 40% of its user base as the company has diversified over the years. Other segments it serves include e-commerce, life sciences and investors, among others. That’s what Ramp CEO and co-founder Eric Glyman recently told TechCrunch venture-backed startups they represent a «minority» of the customer base. Brex, meanwhile, initially focused more on pre-announcement startups pushing into the company and own penetration into the software, then a de-emphasis on smaller businessesand then later renewed commitment to startups.

New workflow

With advanced bill payment software, users will be able to pay bills directly from their bank accounts with features such as AI populating account information, duplicate bill detection, and the ability to approve payments on mobile and through Slack.

Previously, Mercury’s business users could pay suppliers and for a time it had parts of the bill payment feature, including optical character recognition (OCR) of invoices, «but it didn’t address the more complete bill payment workflow in a way that would completely replace third-party bill payment tools for larger customers,» said the company.

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On top of that, the company also now offers accounting automations, including a new NetSuite integration, which will enable things like categorization and syncing of invoices and expenses when they’re triggered.

This summer, Mercury will also offer businesses the ability to create professional invoices, allow customers to pay by credit card or directly from their bank (via ACH), and the ability to send automatic invoice reminders. They will also be able to set a fee policy and track spending.

The new software «includes the ability to establish finer-grained approval controls and accounting integrations so that all invoice activity is automatically recorded correctly,» the company told TechCrunch. «So we’re launching with more enterprise resource planning (ERP)-type features built on top of the bill payment cash flow aspects that we already had.»

Access to the new workflows is free until August 1st. After that, the company will offer a range of paid plans depending on the size of the company and its needs — ranging from $35 to $350 per month.

Like other digital banks, Mercury is not a bank per se. Banking services are provided through partners Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust. It started offering corporate credit cards about 18 months ago.

Square alum Dan Kang, who serves as Mercury’s vice president of finance, said the types of customers Mercury has make the company ripe for additional product offerings.

«It’s not just about people parking money in Mercury after SVB,» he told TechCrunch, noting that the finance team at Mercury beta-tested all the new products themselves. «They actually really use this to run their business.»

Expanding into software isn’t the only branching out Mercury has done recently. A startup too recently expanded to personal banking. In addition to earning from interchange fees and interest rate spreads, Mercury will make money from this new offering by charging users an annual fee of $240 after their first deposit.

All of these moves come at an interesting time for Mercury, which made headlines earlier this year for being the target of federal scrutiny over its practice of allowing foreign companies to open accounts through one of its partners, Choice Bank, according to a report Information.

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