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Retailers eye the potential of Open Banking

18 December 2017  |  14703 views  |  9 Woman figure shopping on top of keyboard

Large retailers are eyeing up the potential benefits of the forthcoming introduction of revised payment rules in Europe, with a sizeable proportion planning to tap directly into consumer account data to drive down transaction fees, tailor products, and create innovative loyalty programmes, according to research from Accenture.

Accenture surveyed nearly 80 payments executives at large retail companies and banks across Europe to determine how they will respond to the new regulations, under which banks must grant third parties access to consumer data with the customer's consent.

While the move to Open Banking will help banks reach new customers by enabling them to offer plug-and-play financial products through third parties, it will also give retailers the opportunity to accept payments directly from a consumer’s financial institution without the need for an intermediary, as well as let them access a consumer’s financial data.

Jeremy Light, who leads Accenture’s payments practice in Europe, says: “Open Banking is an opportunity for retailers to provide a better customer experience through flexible payment initiation and faster refunds, and to increase cash flow by bypassing card networks and fees and reducing fraud and chargebacks."

Of the 43 retailers questioned by Accenture, 74% plan to use bank APIs to access customers’ financial information so they can tailor products, while 51% expect to generate relevant point-of-sale offers and discounts based on consumer spending habits. Fifty three percent also expect to bypass payment gateways and acquirers and initiate payments directly with banks to negotiate better transaction fees .

Alan McIntyre, head of Accenture's banking practice says: “If retailers use their loyalty programs to incentivise customers to initiate payments directly through their sales channels, the first place that banks will likely feel the impact is in the decline of debit-card transaction.”

Whether consumers will be willing to open up to retailers is debatable. Research published by Accenture in October showed a clear majority of Brits would be unwilling to share their financial data with large merchants.
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Comments: (9)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 December, 2017, 13:12

Given that the Interchange Fee Regulation hasn't really delivered the reduction in fees for merchants that was expected, largely because any initial savings have been offset by increased fees elsewhere, it's hardly surprising that merchants are seeking to bypass the payment gateways, acquirers and card networks. Good luck to them!  

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David Oram
David Oram - RBS - London 18 December, 2017, 17:48

Whilst I can see the advantages to Retailers the problem remains that where Consumers use Plastic they benefit from consumer protection which is not the case with Faster Payments. Furtermore, credit cards provide a credit line which is not the case for Faster Payments. Until these benefits are offered to Consumers I do not see a huge take up in the Payment capability being offered under the regulations.

And of course SCA/RTS will limit the flexibility that can be offered to customers so the Customer experience may appear a bit clunky which will reduce take up.

I am sure as the legislation matures and these gaps are plugged with offerings from Third Parties, Open Banking usage will accelerate.

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 18 December, 2017, 18:03

@DavidOram + 1. As a consumer, I've preferred credit card over all other methods of payments because it's the only MOP that gives me rewards, deferred payment and fraud protection. Several new MOPs have come and gone during my 30 years of credit card use and not one has matched these benefits of credit card. Unless they can change that, all these retailers and fintechs are just deluding themselves that they can disrupt credit card payments.

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Frank Nolden
Frank Nolden - Ruding Beheer BV - Veenendaal 19 December, 2017, 08:01

@Ketharaman. I agree with your findings. I also use credit cards due to the reasons you have summed up above. However, the playing field will change drastically if merchants are going to charge the consumer (more) for using the card and thus making the credit transfers cheaper. I see the same change in NL where iDEAL payments are much more preferred over credit cards due to advantages that come with the iDEAL payment. Free delivery, no additional %, etc. 

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 19 December, 2017, 08:46

@FrankNolden: It's a well-documented fact that credit card drives overspending. By discouraging credit card payments, retailers are losing out on revenue upsides. If they still opt to do so in certain markets and shoot themselves in the foot in the process, it's probably a reflection of saturation level and limited growth potential available in those markets for reasons regardless of payment methods.

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James Piggot
James Piggot - Finastra - London 19 December, 2017, 10:09

@ketharaman but the iDeal payments in the Netherlands has about 60% of the market, far more than credit cards, in spite of not offering protection, deferred payment or rewards. The retailers reward customers paying with iDeal with lower prices and free delivery as @FrankNolden says above. This very local to the Netherlands and may not apply elsewhere but it does show what is possible given the right conditions.

 

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Jan-Olof Brunila
Jan-Olof Brunila - Swedbank - Stockholm 19 December, 2017, 10:11

Good luck in replacing well-working card payments with e.g. credit transfers. Unless the customer is offered something he/she really wants in return, it is unlikely that the uptake will be large. Frank, please note that the IC fee regulated consumer debit/credit cards are off limits for merchant sur-charges  from Jan 13, 2018 when the PSD 2 goes live so one cannot make account-to account payments seem attractive with a card payment sur-charge...

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Frank Nolden
Frank Nolden - Ruding Beheer BV - Veenendaal 19 December, 2017, 10:39

@James, thanks for nuancing my answer. Much appreciated. 

@Jan-Olof, I am not very familiar with the impact of PSD2 on cards, so this is interesting info. Currently a lot webshops in NL do have a surcharge for credit card payments and "push" customers to the certain credit transfer through iDEAL. According to what you say this will change. Interesting...

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 19 December, 2017, 12:19

@JamesPiggot:

I'm not doubting the overwhelming success of iDEAL in NL. In fact, based on the popularity of iDEAL and a couple of other similar MOPs in USA and India even back in 2011, I'd predicted that EBA Clearing's myBank Will Be A Hit. However, despite being very similar to iDEAL et al, myBank seems to have fizzled out.

Surely, a lot of things are possible given the right conditions. But, then, right conditions don't seem to be happening in too many places. Therein lies the rub.

And, now that I understand from @Jan-Olof Brunila's comment that PSD2 bans surcharge for credit card payments, the prospects for card alternatives don't look any brighter.

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