How Ben Weiner Transformed the Payment Landscape with His Cutting-Edge Solutions

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The term “fintech” has become a common way to describe any business that provides technology to improve and automate financial services. What began with the inauguration of the first ATM back in 1967 has now transformed into payments made from your mobile phone and real-time B2B money movement. The truth is that today’s global economies, backed by the might of digitalization, are expanding at an unprecedented rate, pushing the boundaries of global commerce to a whole new level.

Traditionally relying on banks for the simplest of transactions, today’s commerce happens anytime and anywhere. Thus, organizations need a trusted partner that helps them deliver seamless end-to-end payment solutions to stay relevant. Headquartered in Atlanta, Paya is a leading provider of integrated payment and frictionless commerce solutions, offering card, ACH, and check payment processing solutions to middle-market businesses.

Ben Weiner, Chief Strategy Officer at Paya, believes that “integrated payments, once a nice perk, is now a must-have for businesses.” To this effect, the experts at Paya pride themselves on offering solutions that integrate with their customers’ core business software, enabling payments acceptance, reconciling invoice detail, delivering post-payment information, and more, all accessible at the click of a button.

Ben Weiner

“As part of our commitment to diversity, we also proactively offer professional development and workforce training opportunities, including a partnership with the Technology Association of Georgia”

Your Payments Partner

Paya has been serving software partners with integrated payment solutions for over a decade, well ahead of the recent wave of adoption. As an industry leader, Paya continued to reinvent itself in 2018, with the launch of its next-generation platform, Paya Connect. “Paya Connect is a proprietary, API-driven, and service-oriented payments platform that integrates seamlessly into front-end CRMs and back-end accounting software, offering a full commerce module for businesses,” explains Ben. “The platform was architected with scale and flexibility in mind, offering the latest in payment technology across boarding, reporting, and funding.”

The teams at Paya pride themselves on their deep-rooted partnerships, and are known throughout the payment space for their ability to create tailored solutions, tackling the complex commerce needs of their clients and partners. “We pride ourselves on being subject matter experts across a number of vertical end markets. That knowledge differentiates us and uniquely positions us to serve the specific needs of our partners, giving us a sustainable competitive advantage,” says Ben.

Staying Ahead of the Strategy Curve   

For Ben, business strategy has been an interest since he was a teen. Driven by an ambitious and entrepreneurial mindset, Ben started his first business when he was just 17, addressing the complex logistical needs of law firms. He even launched a second business focused on improving the supply chain for high-end clothing designers who target young adults entering the workforce.

A few years down the line after graduating from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors in Business Administration, Ben soon found himself working as an investor in financial technology with private equity firm GTCR, before deciding to return to his entrepreneurial roots with an operating role at Paya.

I first became familiar with Paya as part of GTCR’s acquisition of the company. The business was feeding on multiple tailwinds in the space – including an established software partner distribution network and a focus on attractive end markets where most payments were still cash or check – and it also owned a proprietary ACH capability. One of my first actions at Paya was leveraging existing core competencies and building out our offerings to new, promising verticals like non-profit and local governments, which also had traditionally been underserved by payments providers,” shares Ben. To accomplish this, Ben led a series of organic and inorganic efforts, focusing on building out modern, user-friendly interfaces and robust capabilities specific to these end markets such as recurring payments and text-to-pay, acquiring industry-leading brands already serving these communities, and building out an experienced salesforce to corner the market.

Outside the Office

During his free time, Ben can be frequently spotted driving down interstate highways to sample famous regional cuisines. A self-trained ping pong player, he has won several tournaments and is a revered name in the local ping pong scene. Ben also happens to be a dedicated M. Night Shyamalan fan due to the writer’s ability to create the biggest and most unexpected “plot twists.” Talking about Shyamalan, Ben says “Looking at his career, he went through a remarkable journey of achieving stardom and success early in his career, followed by a period defined by losing much of his fan base and seeing his films be widely panned as flops. Now, he’s revived his career once again by staying true to the formula that made him so successful. That’s a quality I very much admire.”

Uplifting the Community

“We’re very proud of the culture of community service that we’ve created. We encourage our employees to get involved in the community through a number of initiatives, including offering formal PTO for employees to use as a Day of Service,” shares Ben. Paya employees are known to go the extra mile to help uplift their community in any way possible, including but not limited to packing meals and care packages for shelters and supportive housing developments, donating COVID convalescent plasma to help improve outcomes for COVID patients, cooking meals for neighbors in need, and donating and volunteering with Toys for Tots.

Additionally, the company is always looking to forge partnerships with local professional societies and networks, to educate and uplift the Atlanta community with regards to new fintech initiatives. “We have a partnership with Atlanta Tech Village which entails providing mentorship to up-and-coming startups in the Atlanta area. We also work with Wnet (Women’s Network in Electronic Transactions) and Women in Technology to support the career growth and development of women throughout the tech industry and in STEAM fields,” states Ben.

Furthermore, within the organization, Paya strives to attract and retain a diverse and inclusive team of employees through several targeted initiatives, including generous employee benefits, tuition reimbursement, ongoing professional education reimbursement, performance, and tenure-based employee recognition events and town halls, a referral bonus program for new hires, as well as various internship programs. “As part of our commitment to diversity, we also proactively offer professional development and workforce training opportunities, including a partnership with the Technology Association of Georgia,” says Ben.

The Covid-19 Response

During the recent pandemic, Paya’s services once again stood out, allowing businesses, non-profits, and local governments to be able to maintain smooth operations during an unprecedented crisis. “When the world went remote overnight in March 2020, our non-profit clients were suddenly presented with tremendous uncertainty around how to continue collecting donations,” shares Ben. “Paya’s donation management platform was well-positioned to allow non-profits without an existing solution or strategy to begin accepting electronic payments immediately and engage with their constituents in real-time.”

With organizations’ demand for electronic payment avenues dramatically increasing as a result of the pandemic, team Paya upped their game even further. Paya’s advanced, yet easy-to-use platform allowed its clients to continue operating as usual and maintain both their current revenue streams and future growth trajectory, acting as the make-or-break factor for a lot of businesses during this challenging time. 

From an employee perspective, Paya remains committed to maintaining its company code and culture with a sharp focus on keeping employees motivated and engaged in this new era of remote working. For Ben, that is “just as much of a priority in my work as capitalizing on the rise in contactless payments. We’ve put together several initiatives to continue to engage and reward our employees in a way that will continue to pay dividends in a post-pandemic world.”

Final Reflections

Reflecting on his time so far at Paya, Ben is grateful to have had such a rewarding experience: “Finding success as an operator here and getting to work with so many talented colleagues has made a huge impact on me as a professional. Given our strategy, execution, and investments, Paya is very well positioned for our next chapter of growth and innovation and I very much look forward to seeing what this team can accomplish in the years ahead.”