Diving into the sessions on day one of EBAday 2020, defining the direction of travel for digital payments was resoundingly clear: mobile-led convenience.
Initially conflicted at the outset of the ‘Growth of digital payment options’ virtual session, panellists who were at odds over what exactly would drive the tipping point toward digital payments were guided into the discussion by moderator Kate Pohl, managing director, Senior Advisory.
Lee McNabb, payments strategic insights lead at NatWest, believes that transformation within the industry is one constant evolution, while Mahadevan Balakrishnan, consultant, World Bank insists that if digital payments in a given country shows 50% uptake, then that should be interpreted as a true tipping point.
Distinguishing the definition once more, Jan Pilbauer, CEO, Bankserv Africa suggests that while he represents an incumbent, not every financial institution nor jurisdiction can be painted with the same brush, the tipping point toward digital payments has already happened.
“This occurred when the digitisation of economy and human interaction intersected with the introduction of the mobile. Since then everyone, especially incumbents, have been trying to play catch up.”
This, he argues, is because convenience remains the heart and soul of payments digitisation and without recognising the voracious appetite of consumers, incumbents will struggle to balance their need to deliver security and reliability, alongside the need to satisfy their customers’ desires.
Raising eyebrows, Pilbauer elaborates: “People say we should never waste a good crisis. We look at the SARS pandemic in China as having created a lot of opportunity for digitalisation of commerce and broad digital payments and we should be thinking about the current pandemic in the same way.”
McNabb agrees, elaborating that what remains globally consistent is that digital payments are evolving in a way that brings payments more seamlessly in line with a customer’s everyday life.
“Mobile has been the trigger, but how can these payments capabilities get closer and more integrated into a customer’s life?”
Adding that almost ‘reading the thoughts’ of the New-Age Generation may be necessary to get this level of proximity, Pilbauer furthers that incumbents simply aren’t delivering the experience of living through these social platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook in the way they expect banks to.
“For instance, when my son is trying to order a cheese pizza it is far less important to him which company or supplier the pizza comes from. We may have our preferences about a particular pizza website or app, but my son just wants cheese pizza, he wants to pay as little as possible and for it to arrive as fast as possible.”
“Imagine that this applies to banking in the future, if you want insurance or a loan, it will be less important what the provider or brand behind the product is (assuming it’s delivered in a secure and reliable way), than the significance the method and ease of service plays for consumers.”
David-Jan Janse, CEO, Surepay, agrees with the argument that where the existing model was loyal to a particular company or bank, the New-Age Generation is loyal only to customer experience and convenience. He furthers that while this new generation wants to carry out transactions over social media platforms, banks should not be trying to re-invent WhatsApp or the like.
"This generation wants their bank to mitigate fraud in order for them to carry out their payments over WhatsApp. This is what will bring new bank loyalty."
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