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PaymentViews #8 — Gediminas Griška, Head of Payments at Hostinger

by Matthieu Couet on

Born in 2004, Hostinger has grown significantly over the years and now has over 29 million customers in 178 countries. As a result of this impressive growth, Hostinger faced the challenge of building a payment infrastructure that addresses the world and partnered with us to do so in an optimized and flexible way. Hostinger offers easy-to-use and scalable hosting solutions, allowing users to build and grow their websites. The Lithuanian company is customer-obsessed, keeping its users at the forefront when developing products.

head of payments hostinger

Today, Gediminas, Head of Payments at Hostinger, tells us how he and his team approach payments.

Hi Gediminas. You joined Hostinger in 2018 in a customer success role and you are now Head of Payments. Could you tell us about your journey at Hostinger, and your background before that?

For a big part of my life I lived, studied and worked in the UK. The majority of my professional background is in B2C and B2B sales. When I moved back home to Lithuania in 2018, I wanted to work at an IT company that has an amazing culture, that’s evolving and growing incredibly fast and that’s changing the world in some way.

When I discovered Hostinger I thought “I got to get a job here”. I joined Hostinger in a customer success role. That was perfect for me to learn and progress. Back then, everyone that joined had to do its training in customer success to understand one of our most important values: customer obsession.

It taught me a lot and provided a good layer of foundation for me to grow. In about six months I was offered to progress to a customer retention role, which was an exciting challenge. Three months later, the CEO asked me to look after payments. I was thrilled and a bit scared at the same time, but since I like challenges, I was up for it.

At the beginning of that role, I was just learning and focusing more on customer retention than payments. But I was slowly building a few plans on how to reduce the payment providers and save on fees. After three months my plans really took off and a brand new payment team was born. I started to dig more into payments, learning about how it works at Hostinger, how it works for other merchants, researching the terminology, and developing new strategies for the Hostinger payment system.

“Learn and Be Curious” and “Dive Deep” are two of Hostinger’s values that played a huge part in my career path of becoming a Head of Payments.

Hostinger team trade show

Could you tell us about how Hostinger approaches payment? What’s your role as Head of Payments and how do your teams work to drive payments projects?

There are quite a few things I am responsible for. When I first began working with payments I was solely working with payment service providers, negotiating, finding new ones, or even retiring some of them. Later on, I started to look after payment fraud, chargebacks, disputes making sure we are compliant and within the frames of Mastercard and Visa Dispute and Chargebacks monitoring programs.

The payment team at Hostinger is a build-out of two teams. Both teams work closely together. We are all part of the same product team, but because of different aspects of work and different technical skills required, they are split into two parts. One team takes care of all the technical parts: integration maintenance, bug fixes, and so on. They take care of our payment technical infrastructure, which we call ‘hPayments’. The other part of the payment team looks after new and existing payment services providers, handles negotiations, payment strategies, optimization launches, and tests of new payment services. This is basically what I do. In my team, I also have five people who look after payment fraud. My teammates look after disputes, chargebacks, fraud analysis, and patterns.

We work with the majority of teams across the business. At the end of the day, payments is one of the most important aspects as this is how the company collects funds. All teams have an interest in it. The teams that we work most closely with are the finance team and the product team. The payment team is actually part of the product team (previously part of the finance team.) We sometimes work with the marketing team as well, as there are marketing strategies you can develop using payments.

From a payment perspective, are there any markets that require a specific focus, or are there any payment methods that are particularly strategic for Hostinger?

We focus quite a lot on emerging markets and payments can sometimes be difficult in those regions. There are different regulations you have to keep in mind. People tend to use payment methods that are not possible to tokenize, such as cash payments. It can affect recurring revenue. Lack of 3DS coverage in Latin America, for example, makes fighting chargebacks challenging. I don’t think I ever met a single person that works in payments and fraud and didn’t complain about chargebacks in Latin America.

Nonetheless, local payment methods are important for us because we have to adapt to the way people are used to buying online. For example, Boleto and Instalment payment options are very important to have in Brazil, as people are used to paying for purchases online with Boleto or splitting the payment with installments. In India, it’s quite important to have alternative payment methods available such as UPI, or PayTM along with local card schemes such as RuPay. Every market has its own popular ways to pay online. We want to be as local as we can for our customers.

You’ve learned about payments from scratch. What would be your advice to a junior payment manager?

Be customer-obsessed, learn, and be curious. These are a few of Hostinger’s values. If you are just starting out in this role you should never settle to learn new things and dive deep into the different aspects of payments. This field is constantly changing and evolving, new laws and regulations in different regions are coming out. It’s important to stay at the top of your game so that you can excel in your role.