What will shape the future of payments?

By Martin Hartley, Group CCO of emagine Consulting


Thanks to innovation and evolving technology, payments have come a long way in recent years in terms of security, efficiency and customer experience. With the competitive nature of banking and finance, the future of payments will not stand still and is likely to be shaped by several emerging trends and technologies.

Martin Hartley, Group CCO of emagine Consulting, and member of the Bank of England’s decision maker panel, said: “There is a lot of change on the horizon, with developments to digital payments and the industry-wide transition to ISO 20022 to name a few. Evolution in the sector is inevitable, but traditional methods are still relevant.

“The demand for ATMs has certainly reduced since technology in the banking industry has surged over recent years. Many are happy to use mobile banking apps to check their finances, but ATMs still have a role and are important for a significant proportion of the population.

“What I predict is the implementation of advanced technology to keep ATMs ahead of the times. Think of biometric authentication and facial recognition to facilitate digital payments – I think the process will become more efficient and seamless in the future.”

Mobile banking apps continue to be convenient for users as digital wallets make payments easy, however, the fintech industry expert stated the platforms “still look like something from the dark ages and organisations have a lot to learn about modernising them for greater and more effective use.

“Online banking portals just look tired and old when you are making payments and the sign-in process and navigation flow in most online business banking systems could be much more streamlined. It’s the same with many credit card apps – for example, the API connection from credit cards to making a payment with your bank is very cumbersome and not attractive to use.

“If you compare it with what we have at our fingertips now with Google, Facebook, Twitter – everything is so easy to use, looks good and the experience is seamless and enjoyable. That’s what customers expect – and should get – across the board. The incredible strides forward in automation in retail and other industries need to filter down into banking over the coming years.”

Enhanced technology always comes with the threat of cybercrime, and any advances will likely come with a call for further security measures, to minimise risks.

In the UK, the high-end management and technology consulting firm emagine specialises in the financial services sector, supporting clients such as HSBC and Bank of America. Globally, it supports clients across all industries and sectors including the insurance market and is in a period of hypergrowth.

Reflecting on global payment markets, Hartley says: “There is still work to be done when it comes to global payments, but the ISO 20022 standardisation will drive innovation and exciting new opportunities for payment services within the banking and finance industry. Plans for migration need to be on the roadmap of all financial institutions to be confident in moving towards a more efficient financial world.”

And in a digitised world, what is the role of cash? “Cash   still holds a place in society as a means of payment,” says Hartley. “Although there is significant dependence on digital wallets in technically-advanced countries, cash is still the only means of payment in the countries that naturally fall behind. A cashless world seems unrealistic right now, as so many parts of the world do not have the means to harness Western technology.”


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