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Chris Farmer

We offer beautiful, end-to-end payment processing software, hardware, and services to merchants, tech companies, and other organizations. We offer credit card, debit, gift card, and other types of payment processing – the full solution.

We help medium to large merchants run their payments smoothly. We help software vendors integrate payments into their applications (SaaS, mobile apps, platforms, eCommerce, and more), and we help organizations generate payment revenue streams by bringing payments in-house.

Our mission is to drive down the cost for merchants to accept payments. Period.

Clearly Payments is the friendliest payment processor on Earth. That’s the goal. We’re getting there by racing prices to the bottom and offering complete transparency on how we operate. Both of these things make traditional credit card processors nervous: change.

We are the first payment processor to adopt a model of radical transparency, something the industry desperately needs. We believe nobody should be paying 2.9 per cent in merchant fees or waiting days to get their funds.

Tell us about yourself?

Over the past 15 years, I have helped to develop, expand, and lead a variety of national and international businesses, including Clearly Payments – an award-winning leader in the Canadian Fintech industry, and Flight Centre Travel Group – one of the world’s top five travel management companies.

I am passionate about the technology industry and look for ways to help grow the industry in Canada. In addition to my full-time roles, I’ve worked with the BC Tech Association’s HyperGrowth program as a Session Lead. The program is designed for CEOs, founders, and executive teams of technology companies wanting to grow annual revenues from $1M plus to $10M plus. I’ve also contributed to the Business Development Bank of Canada, building out their Sales and Marketing tactical services program.

My experience in fintech has allowed me to collaborate and build amazing partnerships with some of Canada’s largest Financial Institutions, such as CIBC and Canadian Western Bank.

In my current role as CEO of Clearly Payments, I am thrilled to be leading the next generation of disruption in the payments space. Clearly Payments’ mission is to drive the cost of accepting payments down for merchants in North America. We are among the first to offer subscription-style membership pricing and the first payments company to adopt a model of radical transparency.

I love working with people to build and grow sustainable businesses. As a consultative leader, I take a lot of pride in ensuring return on investment for all stakeholders – including employees, customers, partners, and shareholders (in that order)!

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I’d tell myself, “It’s going to be okay. In fact, it will be better than okay. It’s going to be great.” I joined Clearly Payments in January 2020, right before the pandemic hit. Once COVID-19 came, we were in uncharted territory (as we all were). Not knowing how those uncertain times would impact our ability to bring a new way for our customers to manage their payment processing, my team and I had a lot of sleepless nights. We stayed focused, though, on our mission to drive the cost of accepting payments down. To be the friendliest payment processor on earth (laser-focused on service), to introduce radical transparency in a space often known for its hidden fees and broken promises. By being true to ourselves and our mission, we’ve succeeded in so many unexpected ways. We’re profitable, growing, and becoming a truly trusted brand. I wish I could tell my past self not to worry so much. It’s going to be great! I would have appreciated more sleep!

What problem does your business solve?

Clearly Payments

We know first-hand the struggles that merchants, software companies, and organizations have with payments. At its core, the big problems in payments are: 1) the prices and fees are too high, and 2) there is a big black box on how payments work. We started Clearly Payments to solve these and become the friendliest payment processor on Earth.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The payments industry, certainly in North America, is unfortunately well known to merchants as a very opaque industry. There’s a real lack of transparency, lots of hidden fees, and not great customer service.

There are some fantastic (non-payments businesses) that we’ve always looked to as our “North Star”. Businesses like Patagonia or Basecamp. They are so laser-focused on customer service and quality products and services, genuinely caring about being contributing members of their communities. They are friendly, fair, and transparent. We want to be like those companies. Something that hasn’t really existed in the payments space until now.

The payments space is also rapidly transforming through technology. It can be very confusing for merchants. It’s a complex industry with a lot of different solutions and players. We want to help our merchants navigate that complexity (for instance, we don’t have traditional sales teams. We have Payments Educators).

We are always looking for ways to help our customers save money on their payment processing. For example, we were the first payments company in Canada (our home base) to offer membership payments. By becoming a member of Clearly Payments, our customers don’t pay additional markups or commissions – we simply pass through wholesale costs with no additional markups. Our pricing models are what is recommended by the Canadian Code of Conduct as the most transparent. By not paying hidden markups – our customers save a lot of money on their processing costs.

We are constantly looking for ways to help our customers save money. Another great example of this is our Portfolio Reviews. Unfortunately, in our industry, it is common practice for our competitors to review their portfolios once or twice per year and look for ways to increase their customer’s pricing. What is known as “uplifts”. We’re the opposite. Twice per year, we review our portfolio, and if we see opportunities to reduce our customer’s costs, we do so – proactively. Our commitment to our customers is that we will NEVER increase our markups.

What is your magic sauce?

I think our magic sauce all boils down to our people and “our attitude”. We are really driven by our mission to drive the cost of accepting payments down and to be the friendliest payment processor on earth. All of our company values (being super friendly, being straight up, having a bias for action, being humble, being independent thinkers, and having radical honesty) are the lenses through which we make all decisions. Within this context, we are truly delivering on our mission. I think our customers would agree. Our churn rate (customers who leave us to go to other providers) is almost non-existent. All of our growth comes mainly from customer referrals and organically (we haven’t spent a dime on paid advertising). The only other way we earn customers is through our fantastic partners – folks like Provincial Credit Union (Atlantic Canada’s largest Credit Union). As our Partners work with us and get to know us better, they know that we are truly driven by our values and mission. They see the difference in working with us versus other providers in the space, which only grows their confidence in referring their precious customers to us. It’s a validation for our team that we are moving in the right direction. Of course, our work will never end. We are continuing to innovate not only from a service delivery perspective but also from a technology perspective to ensure our customers always have access to the best and most efficient ways to manage their payments.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

The vision is really to be recognized as the friendliest payment processor in the world. We’d like to see a world where payments are ultimately free, immediate, global, and frictionless.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

I think the biggest challenge was COVID-19. The demand for digital payments skyrocketed as a result of the need for contactless payments. Keeping up with the shifting demand from existing and new customers caught us a bit flat-footed initially. In the end, the increased adoption of digital payment channels turned out to be a boon for our business. Even traditional brick-and-mortar businesses adopted an e-commerce channel. We were able to pivot quickly and offer a better, more robust suite of e-commerce products for our customers. We invested heavily in partnerships with the point of sale platforms and integrations with other third-party software providers. Our product suite offering expanded, and we were able to ensure our customers were well prepared to manage all of their payments needs and to help grow their businesses.

How can people get involved?

Our Payments Educators would love to discuss or answer any questions any business has. We offer a complimentary rate analysis to see if we can save any business money on their payment processing, or we are happy to have just a casual chat about payments in general. You can reach us by calling 1-800-818-1402, emailing us at, or check out our Website at