“You don’t say, ‘Oh, I love Amazon, because I’m logged in and they have my payment information'”: Fast’s Allison Barr Allen

  • Fast brings one click checkout functionality to merchants across the internet.
  • Co-founder and COO Allison Barr Allen joins us on the podcast to discuss the intersection of ecommerce and payments.

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“You don’t say, ‘Oh, I love Amazon, because I’m logged in and they have my payment information'”: Fast’s Allison Barr Allen

Retail is enjoying a fintech Renaissance of sorts — from BNPL and other new forms of payments to a maturation of the ecommerce checkout experience.

Fast is building one-click checkout on merchant sites across the internet. Much like Uber made payments invisible, Fast is doing something similar for shopper identities. Creating accounts on sellers’ sites has always been an impediment to the payment flow. Fast takes away that friction with an elegant solution that shares user information with merchants and also integrates to include SKU-level data.

Allison Barr Allen is co-founder and COO of Fast. She joined Fast from Uber, where she was head of global product operations for the Money Team. As my guest on the podcast, Allison describes some of the challenges inherent in ecommerce payments. We chat about the opportunity to go both global in scale as well as niche down into specific industry solutions. 

Allison Barr Allen is my guest today on the Tearsheet Podcast.


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The following excerpts were edited for clarity.


Fast solves an identity problem: It’s still relatively difficult to buy things online. Fast solves an identity problem. Consumers have a one to one relationship with almost every business we interact with online. Whether it’s a small business or a large business, users are required to create an account in the name of paying for something. Fast is scaling a product like Amazon’s one click checkout to the rest of the internet.

“People love Amazon. And when you ask them why they do, they say it’s fast, it’s really easy. It’s super convenient. But what you don’t really say about Amazon, but is right underneath the entire infrastructure, is that Amazon knows who you are. They have all your info stored: your order history and your payment information,” said Allison Barr Allen, co-founder and COO of Fast.

“But you’re not going to say, ‘Oh, I love Amazon, because I’m already logged in, and they have my payment information.’ But our goal really is to see how we can make it as easy as possible to interact with all other businesses online as it is to buy things on something like Amazon. So it’s a mix of an identity and payment problem that we’re doing at the same time.”

Why Fast and why now: There are a lot of different payment options online, including wallets and PayPal. Where Fast differs is that it isn’t just a payment method, it also combines identity and order management. “When you use Fast, you don’t even think about logging in or creating an account — we’re still doing identity on the back end. We’re basically making identity so seamless that you don’t even have to think about it, which is pretty magical,” Bar Allen said.

On the order management side, Fast integrates with order management systems, pulling in SKU-level data about what people order. “Really no other payment method has this,” she said. “No other payment method knows what you actually ordered, which can become really helpful for us and for the consumers over time, because we can create a more personalized shopping experience,” she said.

Going international from the start: Going global was something on Fast’s radar from the beginning. To build a really big company, it’s something that eventually comes up. And better sooner than later. “Domm, my co-founder, is from Australia. He obviously thought about globalization from the beginning. And another thing that was really beneficial from my time at Uber is just the ability to learn about different countries and their business models. Uber was really large in Latin America, for example, and I think not a lot of US companies really tackle these markets super early on,” she said.

Headless Checkout: “One thing we’re very focused on right now is Headless Checkout, which is something that other payment providers can’t really offer because of the order management and SKU-level data we capture. We’re building ways for stores to be able to put their checkout button on all sorts of different assets on the internet, just with a little bit of CSS code,” Barr Allen said.

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