As coronavirus drives more consumers to cashless, cardless payment options, one of the biggest players in the fintech industry is turning to public markets for expansion. 
Paya ($PAYA), a popular payment processor service, started trading on the Nasdaq Monday following a merger with special acquisition vehicle FinTech Acquisition Corp III, which is backed by private equity firm GTCR. The stock opened at $12.49 and was up slightly in midday trading.
"Long-term public investors understand the growth trajectory of well-run fintech and payments companies, and being public provides Paya the flexibility for more accretive acquisitions in a space where we expect consolidation to continue," Paya CEO Jeff Hack told Cheddar. 
The company reported processing $30 billion worth of transactions per year for more than 100,000 customers, with municipalities, nonprofits, and businesses making up the lion's share.
So far it has three successful deals under its belt, including acquisitions of Stewardship Technology in 2018, First Billing Services in 2019, and The Payment Group this September.  
The most recent deal with The Payment Group added 600 new clients, largely in public utilities and municipal courts.
Hack said Paya went the SPAC route because it offered speed and "certainty of proceeds." 
"SPAC deals aren't the right choice for every company, but in our case it gave us valuable time to focus on growing our business and serving our clients," he said. 
The business has nearly doubled its topline growth rate during the pandemic, which Hack said has clarified the case for integrated payment technology.  
"Simply said, when you have buyers and suppliers working from home, when you're utilizing integrated electronic payments, those payments continue to flow regardless of where the workers are placed," he said. 
Charitable and faith-based organizations specifically, he added, stand to benefit, because the pandemic has shut down their physical locations right at the time of greatest need. 
"Online donation management is critical to keeping those businesses going," he said. "The adoption that people have experienced during COVID will by all rights continue even stronger post the pandemic."