The payments industry is fast-changing and getting more competitive every year as technological innovations and agile fintechs continue to reshape it. At the same time client requirements are increasing for banks, as speed, convenience and a high level of customer experience are now expected as a baseline.
This rapid pace of change is creating a make-or-break moment for the traditional banks still relying on outdated legacy payments systems. Electronic Payments spoke to Rajesh Venkatraman, Diebold Nixdorf’s Vice President of Sales, Vynamic™ Payments, on the trends and technologies evolving the industry, and why now is the time to modernise your payment platform.
Q: How has the payments landscape changed in the past decade or so?
Rajesh Venkatraman: If you go back to when the first online payment was made in 1994 and fast forward to 2021, more than 80% of mobile phone users have completed at least one electronic transaction. It’s moved fast, and technology-driven innovation and changing regulations have pushed all that progress. We’re in a world driven by instant gratification. We need everything at our fingertips, and we expect the same from payments. Speed, convenience, and customer experience are paramount now.
Q: What top trends are shaping the payments industry right now?
RV: Before the 2008 crisis financial services and payments were primarily bank-led events. Other companies, including big tech like Google, Apple, Paypal etc, have since come in and are providing value-adding services which are starting to erode into banks’ customers and revenue. It’s driving a whole new dynamic in the industry. When we say financial institutions, it’s not just banks anymore.
With the emergence of cryptocurrency and alternate payment types, it goes beyond money as we know it. This is putting a lot of pressure on traditional monetary systems. Many governments have gone from looking at cryptocurrency sceptically to starting to seriously consider central bank-issued stable coins backed by their currency.
In addition, regulatory and compliance requirements. These usually lag technological innovation, but when they catch up, they become a barrier to entry. Their burdens are significant and result in challenges like skills shortages and having the bandwidth and spend ability to keep up.
Q: How have faster payments changed the landscape?
RV: For this we need to take a peek at the astound growth we’ve see in faster/instant payments over the last decade. Today, 56 nations have enabled real-time payments, up from just 14 less than six years ago, with transaction volumes averaging 25-40% YTY growth and close to $100bn in annual values. This new(er) payments type is driving unique industry use cases and business models.
Real-time payments are executed almost instantly, are non-revokable and provide 24/7 365 access, which means they are always online to process transfers. The speed with which these transactions are approved and completed means that authentication, fraud checks and confirmation are all completed within seconds. This allows more transparency by enabling communication between parties and therefore more efficient payments journeys.
Q: What pressures are banks and financial institutions currently under when it comes to their payments technology?
RV: With the current low interest rates, there’s a decline in interest income. Meanwhile, compliance and client requirements are skyrocketing. Then there are the competitive pressures; fintechs and digital banks can be a lot more agile in terms of what they offer clients.
On top of that if you think about the core payments infrastructure, their legacy systems are kept up with duct tape and band aid. With so many custom builds to add new value they’re reaching a point where that’s not sustainable anymore. When you have a company leveraging a microservices architecture competing against one shackled by legacy technology installed 40 years ago, it starts to create severe limitations.
Moreover, one of the biggest requirements of real-time payments is that they need to be there 24/7 365. Currently, most banks still use batch processes. The legacy mainframes require them to power down and update overnight and process all the batch files. During that time, they have a stand-in solution to manage the flow of funds. It’s a fair bit of risk and additional investment when all this could be done using systems that support always-on technology.
Q: What is Vynamic™ Payments?
RV: Vynamic Payments is an offering from Diebold Nixdorf designed to help clients modernise their legacy payment systems. It enables them to leverage newer technologies that process payments faster and more securely, in an agile fashion with better customer experience, for competitive advantage.
Its cloud-native, microservices architecture also enables new functionality such as card-not-present, tokenised transactions and request to pay, in a single platform. It’s a build once, use often design that provides you with the building blocks needed to quickly reuse services in other channels, which really maximises your time-to-market and reduces overall operational costs.
Q: Which key technologies is Vynamic™ Payments based upon?
RV: Vynamic Payments is a cloud-native solution that is agnostic of any cloud provider in the industry. With this, clients can deploy our solutions without significant investments for on-premise instalments, and it provides all the nimbleness that comes with a cloud-based delivery model. In addition, Vynamic Payments is API-based. Instead of looking at a large monolithic application that requires significant investment for deployment, we are approaching from a functionality standpoint, using publicly available APIs that speed up integration to tertiary applications very quickly. This then starts to provide the building blocks to support newer client business uses like Buy Now Pay Later, Request for Pay etc.
And what’s even more interesting is the speed in which changes can be made using the low-code environment. There are no long-coded scripts that need to be customised. Instead it’s just configuration of flows and rules sets using graphic interfaces that you just point and click.
It’s the next-generation payment solution that will power the ongoing digitisation of consumer banking; a solution that provides massive gains in development time-to-market, processing speed and business agility.
When it comes to payments technology, banks need to modernise now. This is a matter of survival. The fastest, most competitive banks will be the institutions that take a good hard look at their payment strategy over the next few years and make the right investments to modernise through progressive renovation for competitive differentiation.