Plaid today announces the appointment of Facebook veteran John Anderson as its new head of payments. The company posted a blog written by Anderson on the news as below:
I joined Plaid because we are building a durable company, products, and a mission that my grandkids will be proud of. My first months here have reaffirmed that view, and we wanted to share a bit more about what we’re working on to accelerate the future of bank payments.
Together with a network of more than 50 leading payment partners, Plaid is making account-to-account money movement smarter, faster, and safer by innovating on both existing and emerging bank payment rails. Our APIs help power nearly a billion ACH-based transfers every year across thousands of apps, making it easier for people to fund new accounts and digital wallets, make investments, and send and receive payments.
Bank payments future starts now
On first principles alone, the future of bank payments is clear: richer connectivity will allow payments to become safer, faster, and more efficient. I’ve seen this transformation firsthand during my career in countries like India, where UPI’s accessibility opened up new economic opportunities for its people. Similar transformations are currently happening in Brazil (Pix) and in Europe (PIS). We also see a similar trend happening in the United States.
Bank payments in the US have grown steadily, but are still relatively nascent across the digital economy. According to Nacha, volume on the ACH network has increased for seven straight years and, in 2021, reached 29 billion payments valued at $72 trillion. Same day ACH also grew by nearly 75% in 2021, illustrating how consumers and businesses now expect faster bank payments. However, we are about to enter a new phase where bank payments will become a seamless part of more payment experiences, whether you are funding a newly opened account, paying bills or buying goods and services online.
Consumer demand for digital bank payments is increasing
The combination of rising debit card payments, the use of digital wallets and the growth in ACH payments shows an increasing consumer preference to pay using funds from their bank accounts instead of credit-based payment methods. According to Plaid’s own user research of debit and credit card users, consumers have used, or are interested in using bank payments in several key areas: 85% said recurring payments (rent, bills, loan payments), 51% said large transactions (cars, furniture, bikes), and 68% said digital wallet funding (Venmo, PayPal, Starbucks). As fintech becomes the primary way people manage their finances using multiple apps, the need for digitally native bank payment experiences continues to increase.
The next phase will be driven by innovation in several areas:
Better user experiences making bank payments fast and convenient
Plaid is continuously improving our best-in-class Link experience. In 2022, we meaningfully increased link conversion, translating to millions more users connecting to the thousands of apps and services that rely on our open banking platform. As the consumer experience improves, the application of bank payments on new use cases increases, creating an ever evolving consumer demand curve. Already bank payments are becoming more seamlessly embedded into payment and money-movement workflows, whether that is recurring payments, receiving loan disbursements or even buying a car online like with Carvana.
At Plaid, we are making major investments in supporting this consumer trend. The next wave includes collaborating with our financial institution partners on increased adoption of biometrics, consumer Privacy Controls, and expanding API connectivity throughout the industry.
Smarter networks are making digital banking payments safer
Another crucial trend is technologies that allow bank payments to move faster and more safely by mitigating risk and fraud. While ACH use has increased, the scope of use cases has been limited by slow settlement time, which creates risk of return and potential fraud. Through products like Signal, we are working to safely expand the use of ACH for applications that require faster access to funds.
Launched today, Signal is a machine learning risk engine that helps companies unlock faster, safer payment experiences by improving their payment risk models to better assess the return and fraud risk for ACH transactions. Similar to how card networks and financial institutions use network insights to mitigate risk and fraud, Signal brings unique insights from the consumer-permissioned Plaid network to protect consumers and companies across the digital finance ecosystem.
Signal now protects nearly $1.5 billion in transactions each month among early customers, which have seen
significant reductions in return-related losses and improved the precision of their payment risk models. For example, Signal helped a popular investment platform give up to 96% of their new users accelerated access to funds (vs. 0% previously), with nearly no increase to its ACH return rate. This means their new users were able to start investing almost immediately, instead of waiting up to five days for funds to settle, which improves conversion rates and user engagement.
Real-time rails will make bank payments more attractive for merchants and customers
RTP and FedNow will help drive further adoption of bank payments, not only because of the speed and certainty of settlement, but also through further innovation across the financial and payment ecosystem. Plaid is actively partnering and building to unlock the next phase of bank payments with a focus on a great consumer experience, adapting Signal for emerging risk and fraud vectors, and other activities that will accelerate the adoption of real-time payments in the US through our payment partners and customers.
Come develop and build with us for this journey
Plaid is investing in all these areas to pull the future in faster. This is the next step in our mission to unlock financial freedom for everyone. Reach out if you have ideas and want to join us for this journey.