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nexo standards: simplifying payments one transaction at a time

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In the constantly evolving payments landscape, technological developments move fast, and stakeholders need to keep up with changing consumer demands. But the reality of payment acceptance can be much slower. Many stakeholders work with proprietary messages to enable acceptance. These can be costly to maintain, complex to update and differ by country and or use case. Therefore, a lack of interoperability remains across the industry.

nexo standards exists to solve these challenges. The not-for-profit industry association brings together different payments stakeholders to develop technical specifications which remove complexity from payment acceptance. These specifications offer a harmonized approach to transferring payment data, enabling the payments community to speak the same language.

Its ISO 20022-based global specifications streamline payment transactions anywhere in the world. As a result, its specifications are being adopted globally to save costs and power innovation.

Evolving with the payments landscape

nexo standards was established almost 10 years ago in 2014, and the first transactions based on these principles took place even earlier. Over the years, its vision has remained the same: to create a unified global card payments acceptance ecosystem. But since its inception, the organization has had to adapt in line with new technologies, consumer preferences, stakeholder requirements and regulations.

For example, nexo’s remit has expanded beyond card-based payments in recent years to cover different ways to pay. These include mobile wallets, instant payments, request-to-pay and QR codes; and new payment scenarios such as open-loop transport payments. Recently, nexo has collaborated with the Berlin Group to support the implementation of a CBDC payments ecosystem. By supporting emerging technologies, nexo is helping payment stakeholders to meet evolving consumer demands. This also allows the significant operational and benefits of nexo to be realized across multiple transaction types, payment methods and technologies.

We’ve come a long way since the first nexo standards pilot in France and Portugal in 2013, which demonstrated the feasibility of deploying European solutions. Since then, an increasing number of players have recognized the importance of utilizing universal industry standards. For example, some merchants specify that any prospective payments partners must provide solutions that adhere to the nexo protocols to ensure a harmonized, cross-border payment acceptance solution.

Enabling flexibility for all stakeholders

For many stakeholders, there’s no alternative that can meet the requirements of different players, geographies and regulations in the same way. For example, payments and banking heavyweights Ingenico, Credit Mutuel, Castles Technology, Fiserv and Groupe BPCE base all their software solutions on the nexo specifications. After recognizing the challenges that merchants face when setting up and maintaining a multi-country payments acceptance infrastructure, these companies are now dramatically reducing the costs and simplifying the process of accepting payments for their customers.

What’s more, players can simply implement the protocols and specific elements that are most relevant for them. It’s not necessary to take an all-or-nothing approach. As all nexo-compliant systems speak the same language and interoperate seamlessly, new elements can be added over time as needed in an easy and cost-effective manner.

Payment fragmentation is a challenge on a global scale, across the entire value chain. To ensure that the specifications are flexible enough to meet the needs of the whole ecosystem, nexo is committed to involving all stakeholders in the process. It has evolved from an industry initiative composed primarily of European stakeholders, to a community of over 100 members across six continents. By welcoming acquirers, issuers, merchants, payment processors and card schemes, the protocols are created by the industry, for the industry.

Debunking common misconceptions

While some organizations have embraced nexo standards with open arms, there are still some misunderstandings within the payments community on who nexo is for, and why migration should be a priority. These include assumptions such as:

1. “nexo standards is only needed by international merchants, not domestic merchants”

In fact, while some merchants do not yet operate on an international scale, domestic merchants can nonetheless benefit from implementing nexo standards. Globalization has meant we’re all operating, transacting, and trading on a broadening international stage, whether that’s by moving into new geographies or working with international partners. Domestic solutions are therefore costly to maintain.

2. “Only big retailers can benefit from nexo standards”

Small merchants are less likely to have in-house payment expertise than their larger counterparts. However, they are still accepting payments every day and therefore need to have secure and cost-efficient payment management systems. Implementing specifications that have been developed with their needs in mind can ensure operational excellence across all retailers, from major international players to the small business next door.

3. “Merchants don’t think nexo standards is necessary”

As mentioned previously, many merchants specifically include a requirement in their request for proposals (RFP) that any potential payments partner must adhere to the nexo protocols.

However, for those merchants that don’t, it doesn’t mean that nexo standards wouldn’t be a gamechanger for their payments acceptance infrastructure. Merchants might not make specific requests for these technical protocols, but will be in favor of anything which saves time, reduces costs and improves the customer experience.

While some stakeholders are still yet to realize the value of nexo standards, the good news is that the tides are turning. More companies are implementing the standards, understanding that there is no need to be constrained by domestic protocols. The work has already been done to create standards that are flexible enough to meet the needs of all players. For many, realizing the benefits of standardization is a key component of their strategy – and those who do not get on board will be left behind.

As with any migration, it’s hard to know where to start. The nexo specifications are technical, so clearly defining business requirements and the strategic deployment plan to achieve them is essential. Fime has extensive experience of supporting customers at every stage of their nexo journey. We can help you to enhance the customer experience, grow your business, enable harmonization and ensure interoperability.

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Unified ticketing: how can transport stakeholders ensure interoperability?

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Arnaud Depaigne, Product Manager – Smart Mobility, and Taoufik Sakhi, VP Deputy – Technical Advisory at Fime

 

Public Transport Operators and Authorities (PTOs / PTAs) are under constant pressure to deliver a reliable service. And with different passenger groups to consider, each with unique demands, operators must develop smarter and more innovative ticketing experiences to keep up with the rapidly evolving smart mobility landscape.

PTOs and PTAs must work with other stakeholders in the transit ecosystem to create solutions while navigating incumbent systems, funding concerns and ever-changing political challenges. All of this must be considered while ensuring that ticketing systems meet the needs and expectations of passengers. In the second blog in our series on unified and interoperable ticketing, we will explore the factors that transport stakeholders must consider when implementing a unified ticketing approach.

Political and administrative considerations

Public transport is by its very name public. Be it operated by governmental organizations (at either the local or national level) or by private enterprise, it remains at its heart a public service. This means that it is subject to the scrutiny and regulation of local and regional decision makers and is often at the center of legislative discussions.

Political representatives frequently champion policies that directly impact transit networks. A common example of this is promoting free or concessionary fares for youth, students and seniors. Others may endorse large-scale infrastructure projects or network overhauls as part of their campaigning. However, this can also go the other way, with certain candidates advocating defunding or eliminating transit projects entirely.

This creates an even greater challenge when a network extends across two or more administrative boundaries. Two neighboring areas may have administrations which prioritize public transport differently. This can mean a network must deal with discrepancies between investment in modern infrastructure, funding and fare concessions. By adopting a unified ticketing model, transport stakeholders can work together to develop an interoperable regional network while remaining compliant with legislated priorities, as well as encouraging a modal shift away from private vehicle usage.

Funding to cost saving

The budget a network must work within is another major differentiator between networks. As mentioned above, the local government often has a large role in dictating this, but other factors such as ridership and ticket sales can have a significant impact too. Funding can also be obtained through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), which may require the operator to work within a framework dictated by a third party to achieve certain profitability targets.

Another concern is legacy debt and the available cash flow of a network. The timelines for implementing a new ticketing system are typically quite long, as specifications and deployment plans need validation from multiple stakeholders. These can include the national and local authorities, employee unions and passenger unions in addition to PTA, PTOs and suppliers. Engaging these stakeholders at the build stage can be crucial to reducing costs later on. In doing so, a system can be designed to meet user needs without unnecessary complexity, helping reduce potential project expenditures and the technical risks of integration. During the run phase, it enables more flexible equipment procurement and operational efficiency while also improving maintenance and staff skill management between operators.

Working within a fragmented market

Unlike the telecommunications or payments ecosystems, there is no globally recognized initiative for the standardization of ticketing. Initiatives such as ISO 14443 (contactless proximity cards), ISO 24192 (communication between contactless readers and fare media in public transport), CSN EN 12896 (Reference data model – Transmodel), CEN/TS 16614 (Public transport network topology exchange format- NeTEx), General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) and others, have attempted to create consistency. However, each of these allows for an element of interpretation to account for local needs and requirements.

Furthermore, incumbent ticketing solutions have most likely been developed by market leaders in each region over a number of decades. These solutions each have their own design choices, with decisions driven by industrial optimization. Upgrades to stay in line with contemporary norms are often expensive. Additionally, meeting new operational requirements while keeping incumbent systems up and running can drastically lengthen the migration process.

While migrating to unified ticketing may require a significant effort to begin with, the long-term benefits make it worth it, as PTOs and PTAs are prepared for potentially the next decades of operations and upgrades. It places PTAs and PTOs in a strong position to protect their sovereignty, supported by industry leaders championing open standards. Unified ticketing development can pool the resources of operators and authorities, accompanied by partners that will manage integration and implementation with minimal disruption to the existing ticketing systems.

Finding the right solution

PTOs, PTAs and transit solution providers undoubtedly have a complex task designing and implementing flexible, scalable ticketing solutions. They must meet the evolving demands of customers while navigating numerous legislative and regulatory requirements dictated to them by local authorities. Unified ticketing is a way that resources can be combined and optimized to help provide a quality service and achieve operational efficiencies while keeping on track for their profitability targets.

Fime can work alongside multiple operators to guide them through the process of pooling their resources to create a unified ticketing system that works. This ensures that they meet the technical and quality standards they pride themselves on, while also complying with their transit policy and budget constraints.

Learn more about how Fime can help you accelerate your ticketing offer to create frictionless unified ticketing for passengers.

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Provenir and Trustfull Agree Global Partnership

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Trustfull and Provenir to deliver innovative risk decisioning using digital footprints via new global partnership.

Trustfull, the digital risk decisioning platform and Provenir, a global leader in credit and fraud risk decisioning technology have announced a global partnership that sees Trustfull joining Provenir’s Data Marketplace.

Trustfull enables companies to leverage the power of alternative data and digital footprint analytics to enhance their identity screening, prevent fraud, and improve digital onboarding experiences through advanced trust and risk signals coming from email, phone number, IP address, device, and browser data.

Provenir is a global leader in credit and fraud decisioning solutions that enable financial services organisations to redefine customer decisioning by optimising any decision across the customer journey. With a low-code UI,  dynamic data orchestration, and flexible analytics deployment, Provenir’s AI-powered decisioning platform powers enhanced decisioning accuracy, speed and agility.

Provenir’s Global Data Marketplace brings together offerings from data partners around the globe and creates an ecosystem for organisations that are seeking an easy-to-use cloud solution for data consumption across their decisioning processes. With fully maintained API connections to both traditional and alternative data providers, organisations can easily add and test new data sources in minutes.

The synergy created from this partnership will provide clients access to a vast array of data sources, including new alternatives from social and web apps, telco data, among others — all seamlessly integrated with the Provenir decisioning engine, enabling clients to make smarter risk decisions faster. Most importantly, Trustfull clients will benefit from a data source that is truly global, allowing integration with any international market.

“We’re excited to welcome Trustfull to the Provenir Marketplace as we see increasing demand from clients on new sources of digital signals to further verify identity and prevent fraud,” said Carol Hamilton, Chief Product Officer at Provenir. “Trustfull’s solution brings a unique blend of data sources, accuracy, and risk scoring that is perfectly aligned with the Provenir decisioning technology.”

Alex Tonello, Chief Revenue Officer at Trustfull said about the partnership: “This strategic collaboration with Provenir is perfectly aligned with Trustfull’s ambition to become the preferred destination for enterprise clients seeking technology to support more accurate risk decisions, especially during a pre-KYC screening phase. Most importantly, the partnership offers clients an easier, single point of integration for organisations looking for comprehensive risk orchestration.”

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