Speaking to Evie Rusman, payments experts explain the importance of security in ensuring customer confidence and providing a reliable end-to-end product

Marcus Hughes, Bottomline Technologies 

Marcus Hughes bottomline - 2020 payments security: Ensuring customer confidence

Open banking to play significant part in payments

Though borders are becoming more opaque, the payments sector is working hard to ensure that both businesses and consumers have the tools to navigate the landscape with efficiency, transparency and security. Open Banking will play a significant part in this, as will the advance of new technology and processes providing cross-border payments. Overall, I expect we’ll see a continued level of healthy disruption across the industry.

It’s safe to anticipate that Open Banking will have a larger impact on the business payments space than in the consumer space, and will soon reach a tipping point where the benefits of Open Banking to businesses will become too large to ignore.

Under the new model, mid-corporates will gain easy access to the benefits of multi-bank payments and cash management, which historically have only been available to large and multi-national corporates.

Alongside business buy-in, -collaboration and co-operation between providers will create hybrid solutions combining APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and more traditional connectivity such as SWIFT and EBICS, making the long transition to an API economy easier. Once this shift takes place, business and consumers will begin to see the effects; such as vastly reduced costs pay per transaction and, potentially, bypassing card payments altogether.

New payment instruments

We are also likely to see the payments landscape being affected by the introduction of new payment instruments such as Request to Pay. This effectively combines an electronic invoice with flexible payment options, and will complement Direct Debits. The process will make it easier and less expensive for utilities and big businesses to get paid by their customers, simultaneously providing flexibility and increased options to consumers.

Political influence

We also anticipate the continued interplay between regulation, technology and industry confidence, with shifts such as Brexit and increased scrutiny over sanctioned payments playing a key role.

Over the next few years, cross-border real-time payments will become a reality, thanks to domestic real-time payments systems becoming more integrated with each other and a progressive modernisation of the underlying technology that powers payments between banks and market infrastructures.

With Brexit, U.K. small and medium sized businesses will find one-stop, multi-country payment and collection services to support their exciting new import and export markets beyond the European Union.

“Security will remain paramount”

Payment security will remain paramount to boosting business and consumer confidence in making the shift towards openness and transparency. Above implementing transaction and behaviour monitoring tools, we are likely to see a growing number of large corporates taking steps to protect themselves from reputational risk by taking responsibility for sanction screening their payments before submitting instructions to their banks.

On the regulatory front, the growing international adoption of a standard ISO20022 payment file format and SWIFT gpi for the tracking of cross-border payments will offer the global payments industry greater protection against financial crime.

Innovation in the payments landscape is dynamically moving towards a paradigm where businesses and consumers are provided with greater options for transparency, collaboration and convenience. Confidence, through stringent security measures and proven wins for early adopters, is sure to drive the transition even further.


Eric Horgan, Elavon

Eric Horgan Elavon 1 - 2020 payments security: Ensuring customer confidence

More convenient payments

The focus in 2020 will be on making payments as easy, convenient and secure as possible for businesses and consumers. Increasingly, consumers expect a frictionless checkout experience – face to face, online and via mobile. Merchants are looking for a centralised data on payments so they optimise operations and footprints to attract and retain customers in the year ahead.


In terms of predictions, I think we will see more and more SMEs set up e-commerce to complement their physical operations. Our research found that as many as 25% of UK SMEs still have not developed an online presence. It is an untapped opportunity for many SMEs to capture new sources of revenue and potentially grow into other markets.


Additionally, we are seeing certain sectors, specifically in luxury, retail, restaurants and hotels, where customers are more likely to be tourists or foreign travellers requesting to pay with less familiar payments types that are common in other parts of the world. Businesses want to accept these payment types so as not to lose the sale.


Security and fraud prevention remains high on the priority list as PSD2 regulations are stepped up. Open Banking is encouraging payments providers to work with merchants and issuers to develop new technology to boost security and reduce fraud. Strong customer identification plays a crucial role in reducing fraud in payments. We will see more use of AI and machine learning, and staggered roll-out of 3DS 2.0 as the UK moves
to full compliance with PSD2 in March 2021.


Mark Gazit, Thetaray

Mark Gazit ThetaRay - 2020 payments security: Ensuring customer confidence

Trade-based money laundering fuels financial cybercrime

We are now experiencing a resurgence of trade-based money laundering. It is an avenue that people have not focused on recently because they have been concentrating on financial cybercrime, but it is easy to implement and simple to keep shielded from financial detection.

Because we live in a connected world, trade is increasingly moving online, so trade-based money laundering will likely become an even larger part of financial cybercrime in 2020.

We might see the first sign of IoT-based financial crime as well, due to advancements like Google’s plan to offer checking accounts, Apple Pay, and possibly Facebook’s Libra. These technologies will provide opportunities for a new type of cybercriminal who utilises nextgeneration payment providers to hack into accounts and not only access customer data, but steal money as well.

Regulatory enforcement

In 2019, regulatory enforcement increased – not only for financial institutions but for their executives. We have seen firings, arrests, and even the suicide of Danske Bank Estonia’s former CEO. This trend will continue in 2020, with governments finding executives liable for human trafficking, terror funding and other crimes whose proceeds are laundered through the financial system.

Institutions will become more cautious about potential money laundering, not just
because of regulation and compliance, but because they will be under public scrutiny for their perceived role in these crimes.

To protect themselves, they will likely invest in AI-based solutions such as ThetaRay’s Artificial Intuition. Regulators will become more open to banks using advanced AI systems to identify unknown and unexpected threats; however, explainability
and transparency will be crucial.