TrueLayer Taps the Power of Open Banking to Launch PayDirect

Financial app building platform TrueLayer has long been using the power of open banking to facilitate payment activities. Today, the U.K.-based company is taking another step to make the online payments experience even easier with the launch of a new payments product, PayDirect.

PayDirect combines open banking with Europe’s payment rails to offer a customizable solution for instant payments, instant payouts, and smoother payment reconciliation.

“PayDirect builds on our open banking expertise to streamline onboarding, pay-in and payout, to help operators deliver an experience that is fit for the digital age,” said the company’s Chief Product Officer, Ossama Soliman.

Because PayDirect relies on open banking and Europe’s fast payment rails, the solution circumvents many of the headaches associated with traditional card payments. Cards can expire, require manual entry, and are subject to spending limits. These hurdles generally result in an 85% success rate. PayDirect, in comparison, has a 96% success rate. PayDirect also eliminates chargebacks and reduces fraud by authenticating via biometrics directly with the consumer’s bank.

Here’s how the checkout experience works:

Financial services companies that use PayDirect benefit from a single interface for onboarding users, receiving instant deposits into their account, and providing instant withdrawals. Customers, on the other hand, benefit from low risk of fraud, faster refunds and withdrawals, less false positives during fraud checks, and a faster checkout experience.

Founded in 2016, TrueLayer is best known for its payments API that helps financial services companies provide online payments, bill payments, and account top-ups.

The company has offices in five countries across the globe, including London, Sydney, Milan, Hong Kong and Dublin. Francesco Simoneschi is co-founder and CEO.

Photo by Isaque Pereira from Pexels

Banks with Mature Digital Sales Capabilities Experience up to 44% More Growth

Data released by Engagement Banking technology provider Backbase has revealed that enhancing digital account opening and product origination—collectively known as digital sales—is instrumental to financial institutions’ success.

The research shows that institutions with highly-mature digital sales processes achieved 21-44% higher growth in deposits and loans. Accordingly, institutions that fail to make significant investments in advanced digital sales and onboarding are liable to fall far behind their peers in the race to attract and retain customers.

The new Backbase report, ‘Digital Sales Benchmarks and Best Practices for Financial Institutions’, was developed in conjunction with Cornerstone Advisors and surveyed 184 North American banks and credit unions to assess the sophistication of their digital sales processes.

Researchers then categorised the institutions into three groups: those with a high level of digital sales maturity (Level 3) those with a low level (Level 1), and those that fall into the mid-range (Level 2).

The study found that Level 3 institutions outperformed their peers in three key business metrics: deposit growth, loan growth and online account applications. Level 3 institutions averaged deposit growth of 9.8% between 2018 and 2019, and loan growth of 10.4% during the same period. In contrast, Level 1 institutions averaged just 6.8% and 7.6% growth, respectively. Moreover, the proportion of account openings Level 3 institutions secured through online channels was significantly higher than that of Level 1 institutions.

However, the research found there is significant room for improvement in digital sales across the financial services industry. Just 25% of institutions surveyed achieved the highest benchmark for deposit account openings, while only 13% had done so for unsecured loan products and 3% for secured.

Vincent Bezemer, SVP Americas at Backbase said: The stakes couldn’t be higher for financial institutions, especially those that are just starting to dip their toes into the digital sales waters. A failure to accelerate digital sales capabilities will lead more and more customers to concentrate in the hands of fewer and fewer institutions. Customers’ expectations for a convenient and smooth banking experience are only going to grow more demanding, and banks’ and credit unions’ futures are contingent upon not meeting, but far exceeding those expectations.”

Bigger Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Better

Despite the magnitude of the pressures facing the industry, it is not a given that only the biggest players are capable of leading in digital sales. In three key areas, the largest institutions (those with $10-$50 billion in assets) underperformed compared to small (less than $1 billion in assets) and mid-sized ($1-$10 billion in assets) banks. Specifically:

  • Larger institutions lagged on speed in secured loans – 78% of large institutions have secured loan applications that require more than 20 minutes to complete, compared to 48% of mid-sized institutions and 62% of small institutions.
  • Few institutions of any size offered advanced unsecured loan capabilities – Small, mid-sized and large institutions were all on roughly equal footing when it came to digital unsecured product applications, with 12%, 14% and 13%, respectively, achieving Level 3 maturity in this space.
  • Mid-sized institutions outperformed their competitors on digital applications for secured loans.6% had reached Level 3 maturity in this realm – something no institutions in the smaller or larger categories achieved. Meanwhile, 46% of mid-sized institutions achieved Level 2 maturity, compared to 30% of smaller institutions and 26% of larger.

Ron Shevlin, Director of Research at Cornerstone Advisors, said: Technology has enabled truly omnichannel, tailored experiences to consumers in myriad areas of life, from shopping to eating, to entertainment and more. Banking should be no different. In fact, those institutions that remain stubbornly mired in the ‘old way’ of doing things – long application processes, disjointed customer touchpoints, reliant solely on in-person visits and reams of paper – will lose out to those that are willing to invest in an approach that ensures consistent, personalised and instant encounters.”

Bbot new seed investment from Rally Ventures increases funding to $7.3 million

Bbot Inc. a restaurant and hospitality tech startup focused on simplifying and improving the ordering and payment process, announced the closing of a $4 million seed extension funding round.

Rally Ventures, a national leader in early-stage business technology investing, led the round, with participation from existing investor Craft Ventures, an early-stage venture fund. With this latest seed extension round, the company’s total funding is now $7.3 million.

The financing will allow Bbot to hire new talent, accelerate its product development and deepen its focus on providing exceptional service to its hundreds of customers.

In 2021, the company will deliver a new feature that reinvents the traditional bar tab by allowing guests and servers to both add to and place orders on a joint tab. Additionally, this year Bbot plans to release its own API, to give hospitality tech partners the ability to build on the Bbot infrastructure.

“We are proud to partner with restaurants, bars and hotels to provide technology solutions that help them make their operations more efficient, convenient and safer for guests, as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for what’s next,” Steven Simoni, CEO of Bbot said in the release. “Making our robust and configurable platform available to other industry partners through our own API was a natural next step and opportunity to deepen our exposure within the industry. With this additional funding in place, we will be able to continue to grow Bbot’s reach and deliver a more seamless experience to all of our hospitality customers.”

Founded in 2017, Bbot helps restaurants, bars, hotels, food halls and other hospitality organizations create digital menus and enable guest-controlled ordering and payment through any smartphone by using QR or location codes right from their tables. No sign up or app download is required. The company recently won the Hotel Tech Report Award for best in mobile ordering.

“We’re excited to work with Rally Ventures and Bbot to support the evolution of the hospitality industry,” said Jeff Fluhr, general partner at Craft Ventures. “Our continued investment in Bbot reflects our confidence in the company’s ability to expand their footprint, develop exciting technology, and serve as a valuable partner to the hospitality industry as they navigate a new normal.”

EPISODE 01: News & Views

The Fintech Times Weekly News & Views podcast takes a look at the latest international fintech stories. As well as industry appointments, this week we feature Pension Awareness Day #PAD20, partnerships and the latest insight.

Virtual Africa BankTech Summit To Provide Insight on Future of Banking

The two-day Africa BankTech Summit takes place on 20 and 21 April 2021 and will unite more than 500 participants, financial executives, bankers, insurers from all 54 African countries.

As well as covering the latest trends, developments and disrupting technologies that will transform the banking industry in Africa, the event will promote discussions among technology companies and African financial institutions about the future of banking.

As the largest African event on banking technology, the Summit will address the increased pressures that banks experience when it comes to maintaining operations, customer and reaching more regions seamlessly, as well as the opportunities that the post pandemic world will bring.

The Virtual Africa BankTech Summit will bring together leading African bankers, regulators, insurers, investors and financial technology companies from across the financial ecosystem in Africa.

You can join the discussion on the latest technology trends shaping today’s Africa banking landscape, listen to fintech experts, network with other financial professionals, exchange ideas and knowledge with your peers and establish partnerships and collaborations by registering online.

Africa BankTech Summit

Africa BankTech Summit

Live webinar: AI-powered coaching bots: A new path to financial wellness

Financial institution GreenPath, through its partnership witheGain, has launched a Virtual Finance Coach. This AI-powered coach guides customers step-by-step, depending on their interests and priorities, through the process of reaching their financial goals.

Mobile Payments Today is hosting a webinar on Feb. 2, 2021, at 2 p.m. EST sponsored by eGain that will look at this innovative way to financial health through the use of artificial intelligent coaching bots .

Join this webinar and discover more about the Virtual Finance Coach, AI and digital engagement technology as GreenPath and eGain executives discuss the state of financial institutions, consumer behaviors impacting the industry and methods for deploying AI-powered financial resources.

Discover key behavioral science principles that impact financial decisions; how to evaluate in-house development of AI-powered financial industry tools versus the value of building upon a proven AI-platform and how to set KPIs and A/B testing parameters to meet the needs of your financial institution.

The webinarwill be hosted by Pat Shea, editor for Mobile Payments Today, and sponsored by eGain

The interactive sessionwill feature two experts:

Rick Bialobrzeski, EVP of strategy at GreenPath Financial Wellness, a nonprofit focused on financial health, and Evan Seigel, VP of financial services and AI for eGain.

Bialobrzeski heads up GreenPath’s strategic partnerships, with a focus on researching and developing collaborations and works to maximize GreenPath’s reach to connect and reach more people in need of quality resources and information to support their financial wellness journey. Siegel has developed a financial health coaching team for Wells Fargo that was featured on the company’s 2019 brand campaign, annual report and ABC News Good Morning America.

Following the webinar will be a live question

Click here to register for the webinar.

Refinitiv Partners With The Sentry to Prevent War Criminals Abusing the Financial System

Refinitiv, providers of financial markets data and infrastructure, have announced its partnership with The Sentry, an investigative and policy team that seeks to prevent African war criminals and their business networks from abusing the international financial system.

Each year, Africa loses billions of dollars in illicit financial outflows. As financial crimes and serious violence often occur in tandem, The Sentry seeks to create significant financial consequences for kleptocrats, war criminals, and their international financial facilitators.

Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice. The organisation uses open-source data collection, field research, and state-of-the-art network data analysis technology, and it works in partnership with local and international civil society organisations, journalists, and governments to track and analyse how armed conflict and atrocities are financed, sustained, and monetised.

Through this partnership, The Sentry will provide Refinitiv World-Check with hard-to-obtain information on illicit activities and individuals who operate in Africa. Relevant data provided by The Sentry will help expand World-Check’s capacity to assist companies in their efforts to meet regulatory obligations with respect to money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. Beyond the provision of data, The Sentry and Refinitiv Platforms will collaborate on joint events, webinars, whitepapers, and other educational content.

“Two decades ago, we created World-Check to assist our customers as they sought new ways to meet regulatory obligations with respect to protecting their businesses from financial crime,” said Che Sidanius, Head of Financial Crime Regulation and Industry Affairs at Refinitiv. “As we mark World-Check’s 20th anniversary, we continue to bolster our dataset and grow our partner network, most recently by joining forces with The Sentry. We’re proud to work with The Sentry and we look forward to identifying new ways to help halt war criminals and war profiteers as our partnership continues to evolve.”

“To help prevent future mass atrocities, the public and private sector must target the financial infrastructure enabling armed violence and grave human rights abuse. As a pioneer in using data and technology to combat financial crime, we welcome Refinitiv’s expertise and global reach in the fight against war criminals and war profiteers,” said Megha Swamy, Deputy Director of Illicit Finance Policy at The Sentry. “By integrating our data with World-Check, we’re getting closer to targeting those responsible for fuelling war and mass atrocities where they are most vulnerable – their money.”

The World-Check Risk Intelligence database delivers accurate and reliable information to help businesses make informed decisions. It has hundreds of specialist researchers and analysts across the globe, adhering to the most stringent research guidelines as they collate information from reliable and reputable sources – such as watch lists, government records, and media searches.

Saudi Central Bank Issues Open Banking Policy And Rules for Practicing Debt Crowdfunding Activities

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has announced the issuance of the rules for practicing debt crowdfunding activities, which aim to regulate the provisions for licensing this type of company and to regulate its conduct of activities, in accordance with the powers granted to the Saudi Central Bank under the provisions of the Finance Companies Control Law.

The issuance of these rules comes as part of SAMA’s efforts to support the opportunities for growth and economic development in the Kingdom, in order to achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by supporting and organising modern financing activities. Including the activity of debt crowdfunding, and in line with the role of the central bank in promoting financial stability. The central bank seeks through these rules to achieve several goals: Including attracting a new segment of investors and companies, owners of small and medium capitals, to work under its supervision, in a manner that ensures the efficiency of these companies by adhering to the requirements of information security, corporate governance, internal regulation, attribution, risk and compliance management, and internal auditing, in addition to encouraging innovation in products.

The Central Bank indicated that the rules for practising debt crowdfunding activity have set the minimum paid-up capital for the facility wishing a license to five million Saudi riyals, with the authority of the Central Bank to raise or reduce the minimum capital according to market conditions. The draft rules for practising debt crowdfunding activity had been published earlier to collect public opinions and interested individuals, in order to enhance the principle of transparency and participation. All the essential observations and views received were taken into consideration before being finalised.

The Saudi Central Bank has also recently announced the issuance of the “Open Banking Policy”, which articulates the main objectives of implementing Open Banking in the Kingdom and its positive effects on the financial sector.

The issuance of this policy builds on the efforts of SAMA in diligently pursuing the strategic objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program, underscoring its commitment to promoting innovation, and trust within the sector, re-enforcing competition and raising efficiency. It is also aligned with the SAMA’s efforts to ensure the sector’s infrastructure readiness to enable the utilisation of the most prominent financial technologies, and ensure the application of leading supervisory practices for new and innovative technologies enabled financial services.

Deutsche Bank conducting internal investigation on banking product sale

Deutsche Bank AG is conducting an internal investigation following a Financial Times report describing bank employees who sold investment banking products to clients, breaching EU rules and then collaborated with employees to share in the profits.

According to the report, Deutsche Bank began looking into the issue last year following numerous complaints by clients, naming the investigation Project Teal. The bank discovered certain clients had been incorrectly categorized as client firms under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive rules, which require banks to separate their clients by levels of financial sophistication such as retail investor, professional investor or counterparty, which means another bank or financial institution.

Clients complained employees knowingly sold unsuited products and relied on the fact that the clients didn’t understand the risks they were taking. The investigation indicated this to be a pattern of misconduct rather than an isolated occurrence.

AI thwarts $20 billion in fraud for Mastercard

AI applications helped Mastercard stop almost $20 billion in fraud this year and the company hopes to deter more cybercrimes in 2021 with this month’s launch of its cybersecurity Trust Center for small businesses. Security is a growing concern for businesses and the financial institutions trying to protect their customers, but a major challenge is […]

Elsewhen: Why Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon Are a Danger to the Financial Services Sector

With the technological transformation accelerating at fast pace, it’s not only the traditional financial institutions that have cause to worry about the developments in financial services but also Fintechs and disruptors due to the input of huge “GAFA” brands.

Leon Gauhman, chief strategy officer at digital product consultancy Elsewhen, a digital product consultancy which delivers consumer-grade CX to B2B and enterprise clients including Google, Microsoft, Bupa and Spotify.

Here Leon explains why the banking world needs to batten down for the Big Tech tempest ahead.

Leon Gauhman, Chief Strategy Officer, Elsewhen

The relentless pace of technological transformation is causing a tectonic shift in the world of financial services right now – and the shockwaves extend well beyond traditional banking. Fintech disruptors also have cause to be worried.

Neither the legacy players, nor the likes of retail challengers Monzo and Revolut, for all their UX nous, will find it easy to withstand the pressure created by well-financed, data-rich, consumer-focused GAFA brands – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon –  as they circle the personal finance space.

Increasingly consumers expect simplicity and convenience in their day to day lives – and they demand something similar from financial services. As GAFA shores up its capabilities, expanding from mobile payments into areas such as loans, insurance and even mortgages, combatting GAFA’s end-to-end dominance in a newly democratised landscape will require a cultural reset among sector specialists.

Covid-19 will only accelerate this curve. As consumers negotiate turbulent changes from a largely remote setting, they’ll be reaching for friction-free, flexible tools that unlock their financial potential. And with global pandemic threatening smaller players, GAFA are well placed to emerge as frontrunners. Here are three reasons why financial service incumbents need to plan their response:

1.GAFA brands offer an all-in-one service

At a time when the digital economy has asserted its dominance, attention is the biggest commodity of all; and this applies to finance as much as anything.

The fact is, any of the more than one billion iPhone owners can access Apple Pay (along with the related Apple Card credit card and Apple Cash functions) at the swipe of the thumb. It’s a no-brainer for consumers, who are expertly corralled into another element of Apple’s beautifully designed, all-present ecosystem – a key part of Apple’s strategy across all sectors.  No-one baulks at Apple’s increasing influence in their lives since it comes with the pay-off of convenience: running the bulk of your finances from your phone is one less thing to think about. The same goes for Amazon’s fast-evolving offering in the financial services space.

Google Pay is a different proposition, but it also offers an ever-expanding suite of products and services in the kind of holistic approach that all GAFA contenders may eventually adopt. Its fleet of funnelled solutions – including Google Pay, Google Plex and Google PFM – draws audiences closer into its domain in a similar way to Apple.  It also has first dibs on the customer relationship, in a land grab that cements its dominance in search.

2.GAFA are really good at product and customer experience

GAFA’s expertise in making products customers love to use poses a major threat to established banks and fintechs. Instant brand recognition, deep-rooted consumer appeal and vast expenditure on R&D, all set big tech apart from the financial sector’s incumbents. Apple, for example, has repeatedly shown it can encourage consumers to pay premium prices to be members of its club – while Amazon Prime is widely acknowledged to be one of the most successful loyalty programmes ever (increasingly imitated by retailers). Meanwhile, with 5.6 billion searches daily and 1.5 billion active Gmail users globally, Google users are clearly comfortable with being part of Google’s universe. It’s fair to say GAFA owns the relationship with the customer.

What’s more, GAFA have deep enough pockets to ward off the risk of banking giants buying out the competition, too. Trying to maintain hegemony isn’t an option for challengers here. But GAFA’s real strength lies in eyeing up lucrative partnerships that marry their reputation for peerless user experience with the knowledge of a financial insider. Apple’s double act with Goldman Sachs and Google’s collaboration with financial institutions such as Citigroup have the makings of financial dream teams that few competitors can hope to emulate.

The strength that Apple and Google, in particular, have in common is that they are hitting traditional banks where it hurts – squarely in the CX. With well designed, intuitive, frictionless interfaces designed around customer needs, GAFA can harness the data and insights they already have about consumers to transform boring financial services tasks by making them more effortless (Apple Pay), more insightful (Google Pay is now presenting spending habits in the form of an easy-to-digest story) and more convenient (Google Pay facilitates searching for receipts in Gmail/photos). This level of customer centricity and insight risks relegating banks to the role of back-room bureaucrats.  

3.GAFA brands are hidden in plain sight

The sheer scale of their audience (and revenues) means that any business sector – including financial services – is a potential GAFA target. But this doesn’t mean that the big tech firms need to rush out and open high street banks or launch a Gen Z-targeted app in order to stake their claim. All they need to do is start bolting on financial services to their pre-existing core competencies.

Facebook, for example, has been castigated for its lame attempt to launch a cryptocurrency. But far more intriguing is the social media giant’s decision to launch Facebook Financial, a new unit headed by David Marcus, a former president of PayPal. Devoted to financial services, the new unit will seek to harmonise payment systems using Facebook’s Novi digital wallet. Going forward, Facebook Financial will handle management and strategy for all payments and money services across the company’s platform. In other words, it has the potential to be the de facto financial partner to billions of social media users.

Something similar is happening at Amazon, which is assiduously building its own financial services capability to support its e-commerce dominance.

What’s crystal clear to the strategists at Amazon is that a strong financial services offering (cheaper loans, bank services etc) will encourage greater expenditure in its wider ecosystem. In the short term, that may not look like a conventional ‘bank’, but it’s clear that a Bank of Amazon may eventually emerge as a major threat in the same way AWS did with cloud services.

Looking to the Future

Ultimately the threat from Big Tech may not be the hurricane we imagine it to be: instead, the GAFA disruptors may prove to be a stealthy opponent that creeps up on its competitors unexpectedly – more Trojan Horse than Blitzkrieg. But make no mistake, the danger to incumbents looms large – especially in parts of the world where people don’t have access to traditional banking services.

Regulation is the one potential obstruction to GAFA encroachment on financial services. While Amazon has navigated regulatory issues quite well, Facebook continues to struggle: Facebook Pay, for example, could well be impacted by the same data privacy trust issues that affect the social media platform as a whole. Meanwhile, a stream of regulatory and antitrust legislation also threatens to divert the efforts of Google and Apple, as they seek to gain a foothold in financial services.

The privacy and regulatory obstacles facing GAFA firms as they move into financial services offer some hope for fintech and banks: if they are able to join forces with other innovative third-party companies, they could potentially pivot to the kind of multiservice platform that will endure in a digital age. Community initiatives such as Lloyd’s new cashback partnership with local retailers will also help give banks the spark of everyday relevance they so urgently need.

Orka: Getting 2 Million People Back in Work Is Going to Take Tenacity… and Technology

Worker-tech is changing the way employees look for jobs and the way employers recruit, but with even more speed and necessity thanks to the pandemic.

Tom Pickersgill is the chief executive of Orka and on a mission to make life easier for the hourly paid workforce. Here he shares his thoughts on how worker-tech will be essential to helping people get back into work as unemployment figures soar.

Tom Pickersgill Co-founder and CEO of Orka Technology Group

Tom Pickersgill Co-founder and CEO of Orka Technology Group

Tom Pickersgill Co-founder and CEO of Orka Technology Group

With UK unemployment projected to reach 2.6 million by mid-2021, helping people get back into work has never been more important. This is no mean feat though and we’re going to have to think outside of the box if we’re going to succeed.

Against the backdrop of a poor economic forecast and an increasingly competitive jobs market, one advantage that we do have on our side is technology, which has huge potential to move the dial when it comes to recruiting and applying for jobs. We were already starting to see some of the positive impacts of technology on HR and the jobs market before the pandemic.

When it comes to getting people back into work, one area which will be key to recovery is shift work or temporary jobs, which can provide a solution or stop-gap for many who have been made redundant during the pandemic and are struggling to make ends meet. Currently, these types of jobs account for 85% of the global workforce.

However, recruitment processes for this type of work have been stuck in a dark age for too long now. Too often they’re laborious, outdated and time consuming with people spending hours on applications for similar roles and interview preparation. Employers also incur huge costs recruiting, on-boarding and managing administration in a job sector with a typically very high turnover rate.

Worker-tech, as we now know it, is revolutionising these traditional practices and helping get more people into hourly-paid work quickly and efficiently. It has enabled the development of job market platforms, such as Orka Works, to help temporary workers easily find, apply to and manage shifts by matching them to specific roles and opportunities using algorithms. With an employee’s details and record of employment saved on the database, there’s no need for multiple job applications, interviews and references – employers have all the information they need at the click of a button.

This type of recruitment also better suits the changing mentality of Britain’s workforce as an increasing number of people place precedence on looking for work that fits around their life and gives flexibility.

Worker-tech brings significant benefits for large employers too. Tech-enabled job platforms conveniently manage recruitment and HR functions, such as helping companies find workers, fill shifts and manage timesheets, saving them time, money and hassle. Employers also have access to a much larger and higher-quality community of workers.

The days of frustrated job seekers spending hours on end on numerous applications only to hear nothing back will be a distant memory thanks to worker-tech. This new alternative creates an accessible, seamless and integrated experience for shift workers which makes their lives easier and removes several entry barriers, such as having to attend in-person interviews, the requirement to complete physical paperwork and registering with multiple job sites and recruiters. By 2029, it’s predicted that 30% of workers could be using worker-tech.

Looking beyond worker-tech as a means of getting people into employment, there’s also an exciting potential for how it can change basic work functions, such as choosing when to access your payslip which services such as Orka Pay are already starting to deliver.

Although this recruitment evolution was already in the works before Covid, the pandemic has accelerated its significance and necessity. Given the current uncertainty, we know that employers are erring on the side of caution when hiring for permanent positions, but worker-tech platforms are providing a solution that works for both sides whilst the economy gets back on its feet. They’re removing the friction from the process of finding a job, which ultimately speeds up the process of people getting back into work, in turn making the economic recovery faster.

Three steps to grow your debit and credit card business

You’ve got data.  Plenty of it. But do you have the analytics tools that can transform your debit and credit card data into actions that drive measureable strategic and profitable business decisions? Here are three steps to take that can help you to improve the performance of your debit and credit card portfolios.

  1. Elevate Your Business Insights

More than ever, real-time information is available that drives almost all our decisions.  We type in questions on search engines on any topic of interest – or verbally interact with our home virtual assistant — to learn almost anything. Merely ask your question and information is presented instantly that provides an answer you need, when you need it.

Find analytics tools that give you the same quick and direct access to a broad spectrum of data points necessary to optimize your portfolio’s profitability, expense structure and overall performance – and help drive your decision-making to evolve your card offerings to meet consumers’ needs.

  1. Integrate Data into Your Decision-Making

Your analytics tools should provide insights that can complement how you approach making important business decisions.

Predictive analytics are one example. An interface with a weather service could help guide your decisioning when a major storm is forecast for your area. Consider how the storm will impact your business and cardholder spending.

Another example is perspective analytics that integrate data and modeling capabilities which can have a significant impact on your cross-sell and upsell strategies. Your data can be used to create a full picture of your accountholder relationships – which products and services they use, and how often.

  1. Differentiate Your Business

Ensure you see information that clearly identifies your challenges and creates business opportunities. Make sure you choose tools that provide:

  • Easy-to-use and intuitive data
  • Actionable data you can use to transform your business
  • Access to an integrated view of all your data
  • Predictive and perspective analytics

Download our whitepaper, “Creating Actions from Insights: Using Your Data to Grow Your Debit and Credit Card Business” to learn how to make informed business decisions that lead to deeper consumer relationships, mitigate attrition, proactively drive desired consumer behaviors, and grow your card program.

Cash or Digital Payments – What Do Indians Prefer?

We cover more than 60+ sub-segments in FinTech – but we do not stop there; we also cover topics beyond FinTech, such as InsurTech, RegTech, PropTech, WealthTech, BankTech, AgriTech, and the enabling technologies enabling innovation such as AI, Blockchain, etc.

Get in the game! What mobile app publishers can learn from gaming

Scott Tomkins serves as the Senior Vice President of Global Revenue for Digital Turbine. With over 20 years’ experience in the mobile app ecosystem, Scott has influenced mobile-first strategies for hundreds of top mobile properties. He shares his thoughts on how mobile app publishers can learn from mobile games.

Discovery remains a stubborn challenge for app developers. A colleague pointed out to me in a recent report that there’s a lot of friction throughout the user acquisition workflow: a user sees an ad and, if interested, clicks on it, and is then taken to the app store. If still interested, that user will initiate an app install, and if the download occurs fast enough, the user’s interest leads to opening the app in short order. But there are some app categories that have leaned into frictionless ad experiences and have thrived. Other types of app publishers should pause to see what they can learn from them.

Scott Tomkins, Digital Turbine

First, let’s take a look at app install friction. While at first glance, the process seems straightforward it’s rife with obstacles for the app developer. Are users willing to interrupt what they’re doing to click on the ad? Once in the app store, will they see a competitive app that seems more interesting? Will they become overwhelmed with an abundance of choices and decide to forget the whole thing? And will they abandon the install process if it’s taking too long? In some instances, the app install abandonment rate can top 80%, which is a pity as the app developer has likely paid a high CPI for that user without reaping any business benefit whatsoever.

Friction is putting brakes on the app economy. Year after year, the number of users who install new apps is dwindling. Today, 67% of consumers say they don’t install any new apps. That’s a worrisome trend for what is arguably a critical sector of the digital economy.

Game publishers embrace frictionless ad units

The very survival of mobile game publishers relies on getting users to try and then become fans of their wares. Game publishers have been quick to embrace ad units that mitigate the friction in the install process. Playable ads have become very popular in the last couple years allowing advertisers to cut through the noise and see extraordinary conversion results.

But, lately, we’ve seen game publishers flock to another strategy that removes even more friction from the install process: preloads. Preloads aren’t even “ads” per se. The user isn’t interrupted and a battle for his or her attention never ensues. Rather, the mobile carrier or OEM preloads a mobile app onto the device before it is even assigned to a customer, making it, by the way, the ultimate privacy-compliant ad unit. At some point, the user will discover the app. Maybe not right away, but at some point.

Gamers respond well to preloads

Data shows that publishers have been smart to take the preload route. A recent Digital Turbine survey shows that gamers rank preloads as their preferred method for discovering new games. Not surprising, game publishers themselves rely on preloads at 5x the rate than other app publishers.

And the high open rates are only part of the attraction. With the ever growing competitive noise in the app store and content feeds, game publishers can be confident that their app will be seen — even if it takes up to 30 days for a user to discover their games. But they’re ok with that because eventually they are found and lead to users with a higher long-term value.

Their patience is often well rewarded, especially for developers seeking to enter new markets across the globe. Hundreds of millions of mobile devices are sold each year, offering the kind of scale typically found on Facebook or YouTube.

What can all app publishers learn from mobile games?

Mobile publishers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from preloads. Many types of preloaded apps experience high open rates and repeat usage, including shopping, ride-sharing and financial services apps, to name a few. There is an additional benefit to brands that are growing in usage and brand awareness, such as mobile payments apps like Zelle, Venmo, and PayPal. These apps should have a broad appeal to solutions like preloads — since it allows their recognizable brand power to work for them.

Global spending in mobile apps topped $100 billion in 2020, a mind-boggling number. And it’s expected to double by 2024! This growth will occur as consumers adopt new shopping habits and few brands can afford to let that opportunity skip by. Preloads may be a seamless way. to capture those new habits.

In Profile: Louise O’Shea of

To launch our new In Profile series, where The Fintech Times sits down with an industry leader once a month. In this profile, Editor-in-Chief Gina Clarke chats to the CEO of, Louise O’Shea.

Louise is the driving force behind a multitude of new products over the last few months, taking the business past a £1bn revenue milestone and doubling the company’s profit within two years of taking over as CEO.

She is also a founding board member of Fintech Wales, the home of

Louise O’Shea, CEO of

Tell me about becoming the CEO of and what changes you’ve made

I became the CEO of in September 2017, at the time the results were the worst they had been for a very long time. And it was very clear to me that not only did the financial performance need to improve but also as a team, the way it was structured, what we focused on all as well as the culture. With that in mind from 2017 to where we are now, we’ve had significant growth. And I always think that growth really strongly correlates to financial performance so if people are happy, they love what they do, and if they’re engaged in what they’re doing, then the results of the company will reflect that. So, it’s been a very busy three years. And we’ve had a number of challenges. But obviously none so big as 2020.

Still, we’ve had a strong year. Naturally, during times of crisis and economic uncertainty people want to save money, and that’s exactly why exists. It’s to empower people to make better decisions and better decisions means not just the right product but also the very best price. We have saved over 5 billion pounds for our customers over the last 10 years.

Since coronavirus, have you seen a particular sector or category that has gone through considerable change?

Absolutely, in the first lockdown we were off the road so more people weren’t driving. We all know that we’re also in our homes more, so we’ve seen lots of moving factors that we can attribute back to that initial period.

And if you think back to March, we were all looking for new travel insurances that included covid-19 and then we couldn’t travel. We all wanted life insurance, and then we couldn’t actually get life insurance because you had to go get a medical and it wasn’t easy to see a doctor. So there were these huge jumps. You couldn’t go and buy a car, which meant the part of our population who looked for car insurance just disappeared. But then, we had a big surge in van insurance. Everybody was suddenly a delivery driver.

From our side, it was really interesting to observe what was happening, in terms of customer behaviour and changing customer needs. However, we also we saw a huge increase in confusion, and so we created a coronavirus hub where we took all the questions from customers that we were getting on the phones or on email, and we kind of collected those and gave the answers back out to say, “No, you don’t have to add your business cover to your home insurance just because you’re now working from home and it’s not your main place of work”. Just to try and answer all those different questions for them because if people were uncertain, then they were scared and it wasn’t easy.

This was completely uncharted territory for a lot of people so the more we can help, the better – and not just our customers, the other side is that our partners such as insurance companies with huge call centres were suddenly faced with hundreds of staff working from home who couldn’t answer the phones anymore. As we’re a marketplace we had it from both sides, it was a big challenge for my team to do that while themselves having kids running around in the background.

Going back to March, what sort of position were you in when the first lockdown occurred, did your strategy change as a result?

We were very privileged because we’re obviously part of Penguin Portals, and one of their businesses is in Spain. And if you remember, Spain was a couple of weeks ahead of the UK, in terms of how the virus hit. This meant that we were probably about two weeks ahead in our thinking. We already had all of our staff working from home before they had to officially. Then I got my senior management team together to create a physical war room and actually have the conversation “what do we do next?”. The whole meeting room was covered in flip chart pages with our strategy. Our focus was really strongly linked to customers and their needs, which meant that actually, we haven’t had have to change it too much since. I made the decision that the team should still carry on with any big projects as this wasn’t going to be over in a couple of months.

And actually, we saw it as an opportunity for us to work the way we’d always to – with a more remote lead model. We had to be more flexible with hitting deadlines but our direction of travel was strong to begin with and although there was this initial phase where we spent a lot of time on extra content, it wasn’t a big strategic shift.

How did your systems cope with the move to work from home?

We’re a big tech and data company which accounts for 50% of our team, even our marketing is more technology and data-driven so it wasn’t new processes that we had to adopt, it was just different review processes and methodology that we had to respond to.

You’ve probably heard the words all before but we are very agile, nimble and very much data-driven so we’re on top of that on a day to day basis.

And in terms of user experience, did that inform most of your changes?

Absolutely. I think the biggest one as I already mentioned was just seeing that confusion that people were facing and recognising that there were headlines at the time, ‘My business insurance is not paying out – Am I covered?’. And so just really dialling up that in those situations, it’s less about finding the best price, more about certainty. The more that we could do to help customers in those situations, the better. Which is probably why the coronavirus hub was at one point getting 850% more traffic than a typical page.

Where do you think 2021 might lead us?

I think that most insurers will use data in order to optimise their prices and get better prices out there. Before, it was so hard to explain that you were on furlough for instance, the traditional models just didn’t cater for it.

Now we’re in a very privileged position where we can have those forward-thinking conversations to challenge the way that insurers are thinking about how they’re returning prices to customers. We want to make sure that customers aren’t penalised for a situation that is not of their making.

How do you find working with industry giants in insurance?

We have some great partnerships, but the customers are our focus. I’ve always said, wherever you are in if you’ve spotted something that doesn’t feel right, and you wouldn’t be happy if somebody did that to your granny or your Mum, then put your hand up. And I think it’s been interesting over the years for our partners to say, “You’re the only one that’s asking us about this. You’re the only one that’s getting upset and forcing us to make a change”. And I’m proud of that. I think it’s a good badge of honour and no it doesn’t always commercially benefit but I think it’s important to sleep well at night.

Your parent group has just been acquired by RVU, part of the Zoopla family, how do you feel about that?

It’s really genuinely exciting. We recognise very much that our cultures and purpose are very aligned. We’re both all about empowering customers to make better decisions so there’s a lot of alignment on those kind of core points which I think is really important when you become part of a different group. And then, to me the other pieces are around complementary skills, and what can we learn from each other.

What would you say is your proudest achievement as CEO?

For me, when I look across the whole organisation I’m most proud that we continue to push harder on all fronts. Some of the things that we’re doing in the marketing space are just so incredible. The team is continuously testing and trying new things across the tech space.

The enthusiasm with which they’ve embraced making some big strategic fundamental changes to the architecture, which those who have done a reorg know is not something to do lightly. And the design that we’ve been doing around a very customer-centric approach which will be rolled out in the next 12 months or so, as well as all the new products that we brought to market recently.

Our attitude that we have internally is that it’s not about paying to come to, it’s about making sure we’re easy to access. For example, we power Quidco in their insurance comparison, but we’re also on Alexa and Facebook Messenger. And then the other one for me is about the fact that we are very strong on insurance – it means we’re completely boring at parties, but we know that our customers need financial products. And so we have just launched a remortgage product, because of the regulatory change we have been able to provide simple products such as a comparison tool.

But most of all I’m proud of our team. Our home is in Cardiff, Wales – although it’s a fantastic office that we haven’t see very much of recently. Still, I think we can continue to do great things no matter the circumstances.

  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 26/01

In this Tuesday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup we highlight the latest international fintech updates. SEON teams up with hacker to educate on fraud and SmartSearch unveils ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) checker service.

New products and services



Fraud fighters SEON has joined forces with an active hacker from Anonymous X to launch an education miniseries for merchants and financial institutions. The Anonymous X fraudster will join SEON’s COO, Jimmy Fong, to discuss techniques used to commit fraud, including who they target and how they imitate internet users.

Klarna UK has launched a campaign to champion consumers who are managing their spending responsibly. This latest campaign follows Klarna’s support for better regulation of the buy now, pay later sector as a means to better protect consumers. It will also challenge common stereotypes.

SH Capital Ltd launches in Dubai to empower SMEs with global banking services. SH Capital is a subsidiary of parent company Stanhope Financial Group, which launched with $3.5million funding in November last year. In December, the group also announced the launch of its EU headquarters in Lithuania.

Anti-money laundering firm SmartSearch has launched a new service to help businesses identify the ultimate beneficial owner of large corporates. It says an increasing numbers of businesses are finding it difficult to identify the UBO of corporate bodies where multiple businesses own shares.

On demand pay platform DailyPay has unveiled CYCLE in order to help professionals handle off-cycle payroll payments. It enables disbursement of electronic off-cycle payroll payments instead of waiting for a paper cheque to be processed, distributed and cashed.

Fintech appointments

Eigen Technologies, the global document AI provider, has appointed Stefanie Lightman as its new chief marketing officer. She succeeds Emily Ochoa, now Eigen’s chief of staff, and will lead the firm’s global marketing function from New York.

While, payments network PayCargo has appointed Michael White to its board. White has more than 25 years’ experience in the airfreight sector, and has also served on several government and industry committees.

“Michael has been described by many as the ‘e’vangelist for the movement to move to full electronic documents in air transport.”

Eduardo Del Riego, global chief executive officer, PayCargo

Sam Ruback

Sam Ruback

Sam Ruback is Thirdfort’s new head of legal

Aviva has unveiled Ben Luckett as chief innovation officer. The appointment coincides with the UK insurer Aviva’s announcement that it is further investing in fintech and insurtech through a collaboration with venture capital firm Anthemis. Luckett has previously worked at Aviva Ventures, making strategic investments in early-stage businesses.

Sam Ruback joins technology startup Thirdfort as head of legal. Ruback takes responsibility for risk, compliance and regulatory affairs, in addition to feeding into initiatives within the legal market. In the past 10 months, the Thirdfort team has tripled from 15 to 45, and has also attracted seed funding from a high-profile investors.

Mergers and acquisitions 

DNA Payments Group (DNA), vertically integrated payments company, has acquired Active Merchant Services (also known as Active Payments). The transaction marks DNA’s third acquisition in the last 14 months with further plans later this year.

The Aryza Group has snapped up HubSolv, its second major acquisition of 2021. Aryza says the acquisition will further strengthen its ‘dominant position within the financial services and insolvency market’. HubSolv has developed a suite of fully automated tools designed to improve case management, customer onboarding and creditor engagement.

Partnerships and collaborations

Meniga partners with UniCredit

Meniga partners with UniCredit

Meniga partners with UniCredit

GrayQuest, India’s leading education fintech company, has collaborated with SBM Bank India, to facilitate access of affordable funds for clients. They say their partnership will help lower bulk education fee payments and boost the ability to facilitate financing for the end consumer.

Meanwhile, digital banking solutions provider Meniga has partnered with global banking firm UniCredit to launch an enhanced version of the Mobilna Banka Go! app in Slovenia. The app follows success for the pair in Serbia, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Digital identity verification provider Blockpass is hooking up with Rocket Vault Finance. Blockpass said it is looking forward to facilitating Rocket Vault’s token sale in February, as well as working together to onboard new customers.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) is partnering with Microsoft, as well as innovation platform Plug and Play on a range of initiatives to help entrepreneurs scale their businesses. In addition to these two partnerships, ADIO is also working with ADGM, Hub71, ADQ and Mubadala to continue growing the emirate’s innovation ecosystem.

SaaS banking platform Mambu and Ta3meed announce a strategic partnership to accelerate the development of Islamic fintech in Saudi Arabia. Mambu’s agile core banking technology integrates into Ta3meed’s automated purchase order financing platform.

Payments firm Sokin has chosen cyber AI company Darktrace to provide holistic cybersecurity across all its back-office functions. Sokin will be adopting Darktrace’s Enterprise Immune System for 300 users, which includes full support and back-up services.

Funding and investments

Oi Yee Choo, Chief Commercial Officer of iSTOX

Oi Yee Choo, Chief Commercial Officer of iSTOX

Oi Yee Choo, chief commercial officer, iSTOX

Charity tech startup TapSimple hits £2million in fundraising to help charities transition to cashless during pandemic. Investors include Ecclesiastical, Lord Michael Spencer, Lord Mervyn Davies, Dominic Burke and Anthony Bolton who join previous round investors including NCVO chairman Sir Martyn Lewis.

Global digital securities platform iSTOX has closed its Series A funding round raising $50million. Japan government-backed investors Japan Investment Corporation and Development Bank of Japan Inc have agreed to invest. In addition, existing investors Singapore Exchange, Tokai Tokyo and Hanwha Asset Management have added to their holdings.

“With the new financing, iSTOX will expand our footprint both geographically and in terms of investment offerings.”

Oi Yee Choo, chief commercial officer of iSTOX

Saudi-based fintech startup Hakbah raises $1.2million in seed round. The company was granted a permit by Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) to launch its commercial services in the Kingdom at the end of July 2020. It now aims to speed up its plans in product development, attracting top talents and accelerating marketing efforts.

Swapp, an AI-powered construction planning company, has raised $7million in seed funding, led by Point72 Ventures and Entrée Capital. The investment will support Swapp’s continued market expansion for its construction-planning platform and expand its AI capabilities.

Meanwhile, B2B payments company Melio has raised $110million to expand its offering across the US. The latest funding round, led by Coatue, brings Melio’s total funding in 2020 to $240million, giving it a valuation of $1.3billion. Latest fundraising will support the company in its product offering and expansion during this period of growth.

spiderSilk, a Dubai-based cybersecurity firm specialised in advanced threat detection technology, has successfully raised $2.25milluin in a Pre-Series A funding round. The round was co-led by Global Ventures and STV, alongside several international angel investors.

Announcements and initiatives 



Maltese fintech Paymentworld Europe has rebranded to FinXP, following its most profitable year yet. The company has also increased its headcount to 20 employees with new vacancies in the pipeline. In addition to its name change, FinXP has also unveiled a new visual identity and an ‘ambitious growth strategy’.

In another rebrand, Sercle is the new name for Omnio’s interests in the credit union sector, including Kesho. Sercle currently processes products including savings, loans, mortgages, banking and current accounts. A new cloud platform launches in 2021.

100x Group, the holding structure for the BitMEX platform, has joined Global Digital Finance (GDF), the  industry body championing the adoption of digital finance. As a patron board member, 100x Group will advocate for a ‘more inclusive, empowering and better regulated digital financial system’.

UAE-Israel consortium appoints Moelis & Company to advise on Finablr restructuring. Israel’s Prism Group and Abu Dhabi’s Royal Strategic Partners intends to restart operations and develop a business plan. Finablr is a major provider of cross border financial services in the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, Temenos – the banking software company – has exceeded 60 challenger bank clients. Digital banks including Alba, Alpian, Banco del Sol, Flowe, FlowBank, Lunar, Next Commercial Bank, Pepper, Varo Bank and WeLab Bank all use Temenos’ cloud-native, cloud-agnostic technology.

Finally, Napier, the provider of anti-money laundering solutions, has been selected as the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing technology platform for Australia Post. Australia’s postal business will use Napier’s Intelligent Compliance Platform to ‘supercharge its compliance capabilities’.

Seoul light rail system pilots face recognition ticketing

Employees of Seoul Metro’s Ui-Sinseol light rapid transit line in South Korea are testing a facial recognition payment system that lets passengers pay their fares without tapping a smartphone or card or removing their face mask.

The payment system has been introduced at access gates at 13 stations along the line. As a user goes through an access gated, they look directly at a screen. Once they are recognized as the correct user, the fare is automatically deducted from a linked account, according to a report by NFCW.

The facial recognition payment solution was developed by T-Money and will be available to passengers who upload a selfie and link it to their chosen payment method via the mobility and payment service’s mobile app.

kevin. Launches First Ever PSD2 Mobile Payments Solution

kevin., a fintech startup based in Lithuania, has launched the first-ever PSD2 payments solution for mobile payments from pre-linked bank accounts and has raised €1.5 million in seed funding to scale into new markets. kevin.’s solution, which enables merchants to accept payments directly from bank accounts via an API for services like parking, taxis, car-sharing, deliveries and insurance, is the first time PSD2 has been used to directly compete with card networks for this type of payment.

PSD2, the EU’s flagship open banking regulation, has enjoyed some success in enabling fintechs to compete with card networks on one-time e-commerce payments. However, it has so far failed to move beyond e-commerce to areas of traditional card network dominance, such as mobile payments for services like parking, deliveries or mobility. Payment initiation using PSD2 still requires several authentication steps, but thanks to kevin.’s infrastructure consumers can expect payments for these services to be handled in the same convenient way as cards.

“Requiring authentication every time a customer makes a €2 parking payment is not competitive, so service providers stick to cards, but there’s a downside. With a typical flat charge per payment of €0.07, plus an additional charge of around 1%, companies providing low-priced services like parking can end up paying up to 10% to card networks per payment,” said Tadas Tamošiūnas, Co-Founder and CEO at kevin.

“kevin. lets users and merchants treat bank accounts like credit cards. Our new solution enables seamless, instant transactions that don’t need to be authorised every time a service, like getting a ride on a ride-hailing app, is ordered.”

Customers link their account to a service provider’s app once, and after that, there is no need for authentication for every transaction. This is achieved through an API that works on kevin.’s secure, licensed infrastructure. This infrastructure operates in the background just like a card network, and the end-user experience is the same as that of using a payment card.

Pavel Sokolovas, Co-Founder and COO at kevin. said: “This is the first time PSD2 has been used in the same way as a payment card for these kinds of transactions. Our focus from the very beginning was to build infrastructure using open banking to take on the card networks where they are traditionally strong. This is a first step and shows that it is possible to use PSD2 not just for online payments, but also in sectors that currently depend on expensive acquiring methods. While we are taking on the card networks, we are also gaining their recognition – we recently won the Mastercard Lighthouse program in the Baltics.”

kevin. has raised €1.5 million in seed funding from a number of European business angels from the finance and insurance industries. This funding will enable kevin. to bring its solution to new sectors and markets in Europe. The fintech startup currently operates across the Baltics, Poland, the Netherlands and Portugal. In 2021, it plans to enter 15 more European markets and is targeting enough bank connections to cover 80% of customers in the EEA in 2022.

Some of its new funding will also be invested into further product development, with a POS solution in the pipeline. Sokolovas said: “In a few months, we plan to launch more products and to take even more of the card scheme pie. We will be targeting areas where card networks are traditionally strongest, including point of sale payments in physical stores.”

Bridge: Getting Serious About Financial Innovation in Public Transport

When travellers are eventually able to ease back into the daily commute, digitisation of payments in transport will grow – and the transport industry needs to be ready and agile 

Brian Coburn is the CEO of Scottish ‘payments orchestration’ startup, Bridge. Brian devised Bridge in response to seeing the challenges faced by large organisations in the race to digitise their businesses; to help them innovate at speed.

Here he shares his thoughts about financial innovation in public transport.

Brian Coburn, CEO Bridge

A commute can be exhausting at the best of times (and we’re not in the best of times). Multiple payment points and ticketing options make it even more so. With cashless and contactless travel key factors in making people feel safer on public transport post-pandemic, travel operators are going to need payment systems to be 100% dependable at all times. Research last year from Visa found that half (49%) of UK commuters saw the introduction of contactless payments as the single most significant improvement to their overall public transport experience. A seamless transaction matters a lot to travellers. And a cashless one is going to matter even more.

British multinational transport group FirstGroup has embraced a strategy to increase cashless and contactless travel. Now its online ticket channels are live 24 hours a day, in a pre-pandemic scenario, taking up to £1m in ticket and travel pass sales daily. Control over this part of the customer journey is essential for a rich customer experience. First Group have integrated and deployed BRIDGE’s technology to catch any disruptions and ensure they don’t slow down the customer payment experience – essential at a time when people are wary about queues and increased time in crowded places.

Payment orchestration is a single, simple integration operating at the heart of a resilient and flexible payments system, enabling merchants to manage a variety of different payment service providers, consolidate internal reporting, build resilience and test new payment innovations and opportunities at speed, responding in an agile way to consumer trends.

A payment orchestration platform gives FirstGroup greater control in managing its digital payment transactions. In fact, through digital payments, the company has been able to reduce the cost of handling cash across the business and has also been able to capture valuable data insights from the payment process itself. It’s no surprise that the technology has been integrated across the group’s online ticketing for UK bus travel, with plans to include mobile app channel and rail ticketing systems.

Choice is particularly important to travellers right now. During the pandemic, consumers have been able to test-drive a range of convenient payment mechanisms, from mobile wallets to order-ahead apps as they adapt to the new landscape. They’ll expect no less from their travel experience when they eventually get back to the daily routine.

Fintech innovation is also a major player in the fight towards sustainable transport. Accessible means of payment is often cited as a key deterrent to public transport use. The rise of digital ticketing, payments and apps has transformed how users interact with public transport and future usage and adoption is dependent on digital connectivity and ease of integration. At the provider end, easy contactless payments mean faster boarding times, reduced cash handling and the potential for greater connectivity with other travel providers.

Resilience and control across the digital payment mechanism is therefore essential to delivering a seamless transport service. Operating without disruption requires the ability to adapt quickly to changing consumer circumstance, need and preference.

Again, this is where a payment orchestration layer can give the provider greater control over payment procedures, without being locked into complex payment structures.

Payment orchestration also offers real-time access to payment data, so you can ensure the transaction is successful, regardless of what is happening behind the scenes. Any issues can be dealt with efficiently, unbeknownst to the customer, ensuring a smoother journey with fewer holdups.

In a high-transaction environment (in happier times, each day there are around 69,000 payments made using contactless on London buses) we must do everything we can to reduce crowding and stress. There should be the confidence that every single transaction will complete successfully, no matter what is taking place away from the customer’s eyes. So it’s time for providers to drive the next wave of financial innovation in their public transport offerings and providing seamless, resilient, flexible payments looks like a good place to start.