Making it Work

CleverCards hopes to become ‘Netflix of payments’

The digital payments platform allows firms to e-mail digital Mastercards to their employees, which they can use online or anywhere in the world

Kealan Lennon: ‘We have built an incredibly talented team’. Picture: Fergal Phillips

CleverCards, a digital payments platform with more than 200,000 users, has ambitions of becoming the ‘Netflix of payments’.

The platform enables businesses to e-mail digital Mastercards to their employees which they can use online or anywhere in the world, or in-store using Apple or Google Pay. They are the only Irish company providing tax-free digital Mastercards.

“Years ago, there were circular pieces of plastic we used to call DVDs and CDs which were distributed by a network of physical stores until Netflix launched a digital platform for movies and Apple’s Steve Jobs launched a digital platform for music, with Spotify following,” Kealan Lennon, CleverCards founder and chief executive, told the Business Post.

“Today there are still rectangular pieces of plastic we call gift cards and debit cards. CleverCards’ vision is that these will also disappear, because CleverCards launched a digital platform for payments.”

CleverCards doesn’t disclose its turnover. Len

Company details CleverCards

Founded by: Kealan Lennon in 2019

Staff: 40

non said, however, that the company planned to raise €20 million next year and was even considering doing so earlier.

CleverCards currently employs 40 staff and has plans to add a further 30 to its ranks.

“We have built an incredibly talented team with leadership from Meta, Amex, Visa, SumUp, Bank of Ireland, McKinsey and others – some from home-grown, highly successful businesses like Ding,” Lennon said.

The company was created after Lennon went on a trade mission to China in 2019 and was inspired by the payments he saw used there.

“Everyone in China uses their mobile to pay. It didn’t take that much vision to see what way the market in Europe and the US will evolve, but it needed someone to take the lead – and that’s what I did.

“There were neobanks in Europe starting like Revolut, N26, Starling and Bunq, focusing on the consumer, but CleverCards took the lead on enabling businesses to e-mail digital Mastercards to their employees,” Lennon said.

There are currently 10,000 businesses and 200,000 card account holders in the UK and Europe using CleverCards, and the company’s mission is for every employee in Ireland to have a CleverCard.

“Our growth plans see us launching a very exciting new product for businesses in the new year,” Lennon said.

Last year, CleverCards announced a deal with Mastercard that enables company administrators to set credit limits, expiry dates and location restrictions.