Stay Connected

Our News Centre and Blog is your link to a dynamic network of information, people, and ideas curated by our FX and payments experts.

Cambridge + Fintech = Innovation

and Don Curren November 29, 2016

“Fintech” is a word that evokes the cutting edge of financial-service technology.

For many of us, it’s a word that we’ve only recently come across.

It’s also a word that’s associated with disruption in the financial services sector as well-established incumbents are challenged by swiftly moving startups.

Cambridge Global Payments has been providing fully integrated cross-border payment services and risk management solutions that mitigate foreign exchange exposure for its clients since 1992, and is one of the largest bank-independent providers serving small-to-medium enterprises globally.

That description sounds like it applies to a well-established incumbent in global payment rather than a fast-moving fintech play. After all, is it really possible for a 25-year-old company to be in the business of fintech?

For Cambridge, the answer is an emphatic “Yes.”

Cambridge’s innovative online payments platform was recently recognized by financial research and advisory firm PayStream Advisors as Innovative Payments Technology of the Year for 2016.

This annual award recognizes automation software providers that deliver standout solutions designed to streamline costly, time-consuming back-office finance processes.

It’s Cambridge’s embrace of cutting-edge software development techniques that enables it to create award-winning products.

The status-quo approach for new projects has always been “waterfall” methodology, which suffers from a long life cycle, dogmatic approach and little visibility. The essence of the waterfall approach is that a project moves through the planning, designing, developing and testing phases in its entirety, completing each stage before cascading to the next.

Waterfall Methodology 




With customer experience and efficiency in mind, Cambridge set itself to change from the long development cycles associated with waterfall methodology and create a more nimble environment. To achieve that, it embraced “agile” methodology. The essence of this approach is that it breaks a project down into smaller components which progress through the four stages independently.

Agile Methodology 



The shift from waterfall to agile methodology is no easy shift. It is manageable in a small company or a startup, but for a global company with its established procedures, it is no trivial task.

It goes against the common adage “don’t fix what ain’t broken” that plagues many organizations.

By implementing scrums on all development teams’ projects, Cambridge was able to deliver features and react to customer requests at much more rapidly than ever before. By involving Quality Assurance Teams and stakeholders throughout the process, many user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) fixes got resolved early on.

There were numerous times when stakeholders pointed out UI items that just didn’t sit well with them. And since all the right people were in the room, the fix was suggested or the issue was identified as non-material within minutes.

Cambridge’s online platform has experienced wide success in the market. But to keep up with the ever-evolving industry, Cambridge decided to re-engineer its online platform.

To accomplish that, React JS, a program library for building user interfaces, was selected to overhaul the front end. At the end of 2016, React is nothing new to most front end developers, but Cambridge was among the early adopters when it decided go with it in 2014. This illustrates the paradigm shift in Cambridge toward innovative technology solutions – and being a market leader rather than a technological laggard.

One of the ideas behind the re-engineering of our online system was a strong emphasis on web services. It involved a move from an older working protocol called SOAP toward application program interfaces (APIs) that are compliant with the newer, less-rigid and easier-to-use REST format. More REST-ful, so to speak.

Cambridge thought it was important to use the same APIs for our own products as well as partners.

This allows our partners to get the latest features as we release them, rather than wait for features to be released separately for partners. It also improves trust, as we have to use same APIs and have skin in the game with the release of features, as that would directly affect our own platform in addition to partner platforms.

The move from SOAP to REST also showed an immediate benefit in speed of development. REST is much more familiar for developers, requiring less time to get things up and running in the sandbox environment.

This resulted in a drastic improvement in reaching milestones in development, improving go-to-market dates, and reinforcing the idea of quick and agile product development.

Cambridge realizes it can’t rest on its laurels. The world of Fintech is a world of constant innovation, and Cambridge is committed to achieving that.

We’ll also keep the lines of communication open with regards to innovation. Keep reading this blog to find out about new developments in Cambridge’s journey through a world of relentless technological change.

Daniil Saiko and Don Curren.