YC-Backed Slidepay Tries To Be The “Android” Of Payments Against Square’s Apple-Like Tack

Back in February, I wrote about a startup called Cube that was trying to build a point-of-sale system for small and medium-sized businesses that would eventually give analytics about inventory.

Cube has since pivoted, and now they’re going after a completely different market under a new name, Slidepay. They’re trying to offer a payments API for third-party developers that want the ability to accept credit card payments through a reader.

For example, Joist, an app for contractors who might do repair work on homes, now has a way to accept payments through a Square-like reader without kicking their customers out to another payments flow.

Slidepay is essentially a white-label version of Square. Square doesn’t currently offer an API for third-party developers, but hasn’t ruled out the possibility of building one. There are some strategic reasons for this beyond preserving a high-quality customer experience. The more of a direct relationship that Square can have with its customers, the more opportunities it has down the line to earn a cut of revenue through future services and products without being crowded out by more powerful players in the payments ecosystem.

But that also leaves room for a white-label service like Slidepay to exist.

“We take a very Android-like approach to what Square does. They want to own the end-to-end experience where everyone has to go through their experience and everything has to be processed through their brand,” said Charlie Pinto, the company’s CEO. “We want people to provide their own applications.”

Under this approach, Slidepay takes 2.5 percent of each transaction plus 10 cents, or 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction if a card isn’t present. There aren’t any other set-up or monthly fees. They have other deals for businesses that are processing more than $10 million per month.

They own the merchant account and handle underwriting and identity verification, which increases Slidepay’s risks and liabilities. But Pinto feels they have a good internal system for dealing with fraud without going into specifics.

“We feel we built a really good risk platform and we verify every person who processes payments,” Pinto said.