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NextGen Nordics: Cross border payments are a political weapon

NextGen Nordics: Cross border payments are a political weapon

At NextGen Nordics in Stockholm this week, Finextra’s senior reporter Paige McNamee was joined by Patrik Havander, head of B2B connect/cross border money movement Europe, Visa; Daragh Kirby, head of sales & marketing, Intercope; Katja Lehr, managing director, EMEA payments and commerce solutions, JP Morgan Chase; and Dr Hubertus von Poser, member of the management board, PPI.

McNamee posed the first question to Havander regarding how customer expectations are changing the growth of and demand for international payments. Havander stated: “The last two years of developments have been tremendous in this space, especially on the customer side. That is really, at the end of the day, what is driving the change. You see different types of business models going from analogue to digital, you see platform based companies expanding and growing rapidly across the globe, but all these developments are putting new demands on the payment system.”

Adding to this sentiment, Dr von Poser commented: “There's a need for instant cross border payments, but I think the urgency has increased for that because that kind of business is growing.”

Dr von Poser turned the discussion towards the political component of cross border payments and stated that: “It’s back on the political agenda. We have learned again that payments is a political weapon, through sanctions, but also in what the G20 is saying for migration and inclusion.”

Regarding these political expectations, Lehr commented: “I wish we would have been more forthcoming from an industry perspective in developing it and showing that it's possible. I guess it needs collaboration. It needs a lot of people coming together and agreeing on topics rather than now having the government coming in and pushing for itself. I think that's the only regret I have that you will see this from a political and government level.”

McNamee moved the conversation onto some of the challenges banks are still facing. Kirby kicked off this discussion by praising the progress that has been made in the space, but noted that there are many pressures placed on banks: “First we had SEPA now we have [Swift] GPI. You have G20 pushing this enhanced roadmap to say that the costs have to be driven down and the speeds have to be increased, this has to be more accessible and this has to be more transparent. But in the end, who has to take that on board? It’s the banks.”

He further argued: “I think the challenges today are still there, the speed, cost, transparency, and accessibility. And I think it's a little bit hard for the banks at times because it's always on them to try and make that difference.”

In responding to the argument that technology is one of the problems facing cross border payments, Lehr stated: “I think there are quite a lot of things which you cannot solve technically. You need agreement between governments, you need collaboration, and we all have to agree on it.”

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