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Interesting times in the world of payments

Interesting times in the world of payments

Tom Nijenhuis

Division Manager Corporate Affairs

18 October 2018

Interesting times in the world of payments

In all fifteen years that I have worked in the world of payments, I have never seen a more interesting period than the past few years. Just think about it: in the past, banks led major developments in the payment industry, which usually lasted for decades. ATMs, for example, have existed for more than half a century.

Nowadays, with tech trends appearing so quickly, it is almost impossible to imagine a technical development that will be embraced and used for half a century. Furthermore, new trends are not always initiated by banks anymore. Fin- and bigtechs have joined the battle for the customer, partly as a result of PSD2 and Open Banking. Besides that, new technological possibilities, changing customer behaviour and globalisation are pushing us into a new payment era.

Future visions and sentiments

It is difficult to predict exactly what that payment era will look like in the future and how this will impact the role of banks. Banks have different opinions about the future, so do other stakeholders. And that is precisely what makes Sibos, the annual banking and financial conference, so interesting this year. I am very curious about the future visions and insights that the industry-leaders will share with us on all the different stages that Sibos 2018 has to offer. I also want to find out more about the different sentiments around developments that we are in the middle of, such as Open Banking and Instant Payments.

There are plenty of interesting stories to collect and that is exactly what I am going to do this year at Sibos in Sydney: I will blog about the ins and outs in the world of payments. I did the same thing during the previous edition, when Sibos took place in Toronto. I remember that blockchain was one of the hot topics at the time but it was very much in its infancy as well. It's interesting to see which steps have been taken since then.

Look beyond local regions

Sibos also offers me a great opportunity to look beyond local regions. At equensWorldline we believe that we are moving towards instant and standardized payments all over the world, but so far, we have seen a fragmented payment industry. Cultural differences and different regulations logically play an important role. Just look at Europe, where cashless payment options are replacing banknotes and coins in the Nordics fast, while other European parts still prefer to pay with physical cash. Also, PSD2 is coming into effect, one European country by another.

On other continents, other trends and sentiments prevail. In China, the political and economic system is organized very differently and what you see there, for example, is the rise of bigtechs like Alipay and Tencent. With other words, can I discover any cohesion between different regions in the area of payments? But also: how do other regions look at the way we organise ourselves in Europe with the arrival of SCT Inst and PSD2? And what can we learn from other payment industries? How can we ultimately overcome differences in cultures and opinions?

Surrounded by visions, trends and challenges

In that context, I’m looking forward to attending the session of Adrian Lovney, CEO NPP Australia Limited, an Australian platform for payments innovation that has been live for a year now. He will talk about what lessons can be drawn by the European banks to position instant payments products and services in a domestic environment. An ideal opportunity to hear about the learned lessons from a different continent and a different perspective.

I am also curious to hear the presentation by Marc Bayle de Jessé, Director General Market Infrastructure and Payments at the European Central Bank. He will enlighten us on the current state of TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS), an instant settlement service that will offer final and irrevocable settlement for instant payments in central bank money on a 24/7/365 basis. The service will go live on 30 November 2018 and was extensively discussed at Sibos last year.

These are just a couple of the interesting presentations on the agenda in Sydney. For four days, I will be surrounded by visions, trends, developments, issues and challenges concerning the world of payments. My findings will be presented on this blog. I look forward to it, because like I said before, these are interesting times.