If online payments were once confined to just your banking account, today we see lightspeed electronic payments being performed across apps and digital wallets, and the possibility of transferring money is oftentimes embedded in non-financial software. And as traditional ways of sending and receiving transactions became problematic with the advent of COVID-19, millions of users around the world have joined the digital payments revolution.
But what does the future hold for the payments industry? This is the central question of the “Powering the Potential of Payments” panel discussion at the virtual Fintech Inn conference, held on October 21-22. The panel will see top payments experts and fintech entrepreneurs address the pandemic-driven changes and their continuous impact on the sector, as well as emerging trends that will shape the payments industry long-term.
Lockdowns that went into effect in cities across the globe as a result of COVID-19 brought significant limitations to the traditional forms of sending money, highlighting the importance of digitalization. According to Daumantas Dvilinskas, co-founder and CEO of TransferGo, a fast-growing international money transfers provider, the shift to digitalization in cross-border payments is now proceeding faster than ever before.
“In Europe, we had three distinct lockdowns. During the first lockdown we saw an unprecedented shift from cash to digital remittances. People simply couldn’t physically go to a Western Union kiosk. At TransferGo, we saw a 156% increase in traffic to our website, for example,” Mr. Dvilinskas says. “Countries like the UK, Germany, Scandinavia, and Poland, while having strongly digitized local payments, still made around 50-60% of cross-border payments in cash. Today, we see a strong leap towards digitized payments – once people try digital, they don’t want to go back to cash.”
As the payments world is transitioning to digital-first, customer expectations are rising along with the increasing demand for digital payment services. For Airidas Puodžiūnas, General Manager of Banking-as-a-Service platform Contis, the key activity in the post-pandemic payments landscape is not creating new products, but building better customer experiences.
“Users now expect seamless, frictionless experiences. That’s why embedded finance is emerging as a new trend in the market, as it allows to integrate payment solutions into a wider product or service proposition,” he explains. “Another trend we are witnessing is digital payments becoming a tool to achieve a different kind of customer loyalty. Businesses – like insurance companies – that offer accounts, payment services, or payment cards, avoid their customers’ funds leaving their financial ecosystem, which can give such companies an advantage against competitors.”
While real-time payments are undoubtedly a critical piece of the customer experience puzzle, end-user experience is only part of the picture. To set themselves apart from augmenting competition, instant payment solution providers need to think about how easy it is for their partners to connect to their infrastructure, says Marcilio Oliveira, co-founder and CGO at Sensedia, an API management platform.
“Everyone is looking to launch instant payments, so providers need to use their IT infrastructure as an innovative differentiator. The key concern here is what developer experience is like, and how pluggable, scalable, and secure your IT infrastructure is,” Mr. Oliveira believes.
Deep, fluid payment integrations result from a lot of engineering heavy-lifting, and according to the panel’s moderator Hugo Rousseau, Financial Services and Payments Programme Manager at techUK, this less exciting side to building a payments solution is the also most important one.
“We can talk about the fancy buzzwords of growth and innovation, but at the end of the day, you need the technology to work. What payments eventually come down to are people in place with the right capabilities and skills to run the show,” concludes Mr. Rousseau.
Join this and other discussions on the hottest fintech trends and challenges during the virtual Fintech Inn 2021 conference. Held on 21-22 October, Fintech Inn 2021 will bring together 250+ enterprises and start-ups, as well as 1000+ investors, policymakers, entrepreneurs and technology leaders from all over the world to exchange knowledge and discuss topics from green finance to startup media. You can get your free ticket to one of the largest industry events now on myOnvent platform.