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Stripe inks e-commerce and payments deal with Ford

  • Ford and Stripe have entered a five-year agreement to modernize the carmaker’s e-commerce and payments experience.
  • This marks another partnership looking to transform cars into e-commerce hubs, as both banks and fintechs have been collaborating in recent years on bringing new technology to vehicles.
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Stripe inks e-commerce and payments deal with Ford

Ford and Stripe have entered a five-year agreement to modernize the carmaker’s e-commerce and payments experience. Stripe will act as a premier payment service provider for Ford and its dealers across North America and Europe.

Ford Motor Credit Company, the carmaker’s financial services arm, will use Stripe’s technology to process digital payments in markets across North America and Europe, the companies said earlier this week. 

For the dealers currently offering digital payment services, Stripe is expected to help with e-commerce payments processing, such as vehicle ordering, reservations and digital and charging services.

Ford also plans to use services like Stripe Connect, which facilitates payments and purchases between third-party buyers and sellers, to serve as its e-commerce backbone and direct customer payments to the right dealership. 

The automaker expects to roll out Stripe’s technology in the second half of 2022, starting in North America.

The partnership makes Ford one of Stripe’s biggest clients, which include Shopify and Salesforce. The fintech’s name has become synonymous with modern payments solutions, and touts one of Silicon Valley’s largest valuations at $95 billion.

Meanwhile, the technology upgrade is part of the Ford+ restructuring plan under CEO Jim Farley, who took over in October 2020. The company’s market cap topped $100 billion for the first time ever last week, fueled by the automaker’s plans to introduce new electric vehicles this year.

The strategy is to use Stripe’s platform for simple payment experiences in any channel customers choose and have faster scale improvements, according to Marion Harris, Ford Motor Credit Company CEO.

“As part of the Ford+ plan for growth and value creation, we are making strategic decisions about where to bring in providers with robust expertise and where to build the differentiated, always-on experiences our customers will value,” Harris said.  “Stripe has developed strong expertise in user experiences that will help provide easy, intuitive and secure payment processes for our customers.”

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Embedding payments in cars

The Ford-Stripe partnership serves not just to improve Ford’s online payment capabilities, but to essentially embed payments inside cars, which has been a growing trend.

Customer expectations of seamless digital payments experiences, reinforced by the pandemic, have taken over nearly every market, and the auto industry is no exception. This has driven increased attention to in-car payments, which are predicted to rise significantly over the next decade. 

in vehicle payments

Source: Grandviewresearch.com

“During the pandemic, people got comfortable paying online for groceries, health care, even home haircut advice from barbers. Now, they expect to be able to buy anything and everything online. Ford is making e-commerce possible, too, and scaling that strategy with Stripe’s help.” said Mike Clayville, chief revenue officer at Stripe.

Most large payment solution providers, including MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal, have partnered with automakers around the world to develop new payment processes in automobiles. Mastercard partnered with GM back in 2017 to develop in-vehicle payments solutions, and Visa struck a deal with SiriusXM in 2019 to transform its vehicles into a transactional ‘hub’.

Meanwhile, many financial institutions have also entered the auto industry to facilitate this technological transition. 

Just last September, JP Morgan became the majority owner of Volkswagen Payments when it bought three quarters of the company with plans to develop a “platform for new markets and industries outside of the automotive sector where mobility-focused payments will become central,” it said.

And back in 2020, as Goldman Sachs and Barclays were eyeing to buy General Motors’ credit card portfolio for $2.5 billion from Capital One, it was reported that both banks pitched the idea of turning cars into e-commerce portals – an idea the automaker embraced as the first major car company to allow drivers to order products and services from a car’s dashboard screens. 

Goldman Sachs ultimately won over its British rival, and announced last week that its consumer-facing business, Marcus, partnered with GM to launch a new co-branded credit card and rewards program. This marks the investment bank’s second big retail partnership after issuing the Apple Card in 2019.

Overall, it seems like the race to start embedding financial products onto a car’s dashboard is speeding up, with banks and payment intermediaries each looking to take a cut in this digital transformation. 

This hype around new generations of cars – the switch to electric, tablets on dashboards, voice control, e-commerce – is bound to continue to produce such partnerships between automakers, fintechs and banks who want to keep up with competition and bring more convenience to their customers.

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