Payments as a business enabler

Having been in the industry more than 40 years, I continue to be impressed with how payments growth shows no sign of slowing.  The number of non-traditional players who now offer payments as a core offering is really amazing.  To both grow and evolve simultaneously is no small feat, and speaks to the extreme value of payments to consumers around the world.  The success that we at GPS are happy to fuel is based on consumer reliance and reliable services.  Successful firms—be they traditional financial institutions or newcomers—will continue their growth trajectory because they understand these fundamental truths.  Consumer trust is paramount and must be at the centre of everything these firms offer.

Sustainable business growth

Against a backdrop of challenging economic headwinds and high inflation, I think the over-arching focus for 2023 is likely to be sustainable growth, powered by digital payments technology. And any company with a focus on cloud services stands to do well in 2023 too. To move fintech forward, there are a few key issues which spring to mind. These cover the domains of business fundamentals, policymaking and trust.  As an industry, we’ve got to stay focused on solving real-life problems for ordinary people. And we must get back to basics and focus on how much services cost and how they can achieve profitability. Faster, leaner research and development processes are the name of the game there.

Funding

2022 saw the era of cheap money come to an end, and that has had and will continue to have implications for all of us in the fintech ecosystem. Thanks to greater scarcity of capital investment and the continued challenging economic landscape, I expect we will see fewer new organizations emerging with bold payments or fintech offerings in 2023. Higher interest rates shorten investor time horizons, so start-ups simply have less runway than they had in the past. Proven entities, on the other hand, become more attractive to investors in this macroeconomic climate.

Comment about cyber-security

Payment systems worldwide are under increased pressure to mitigate risks of fraud and to defend against persistent attacks from criminals who continue to grow in sophistication. As businesses continue on their digital transformation journey’s, cyber risk becomes an ever-prevalent concern. It certainly keeps me awake at night, as I am sure it does every senior leader in our industry. Minimising payment fraud is a strategic priority for both GPS and our customers worldwide who put the protection of their cardholders’ accounts first and in 2023, I expect we will see companies investing more in their risk management capabilities.

Regulation/policy

As always in the payments space, every player must remain keenly aware of the regulatory landscape in all the markets in which they and their customers operate. This climate can produce both growth tailwinds and debilitating headwinds, depending on the issue. In particular, we can expect data privacy, the stability of the crypto market and BNPL to continue to command the attention of legislators. The smartest players will not just track the regulatory landscape, but get ahead of it and shape it too. Companies like Zilch, which take a proactive approach to guidance and compliance, will be rewarded for that behaviour.

Kevin Schultz has a wealth of executive leadership experience in the payments and digital banking industry to his role as CEO. Most recently, Kevin served as Fiserv’s Group President of Digital Banking. Prior to Fiserv, Kevin served as President, Global Financial Services at First Data, following nearly 16 years at Visa, where he built out the debit processing business, Visa DPS.