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SPEAKER INTERVIEW SERIES

Each month we will be interviewing the innovators and thinkers shaping the future of payments. We will delve into their thoughts on the changing payments landscape, disruption and the possibilities that new technologies will bring about.

Interview with Tony McLaughlin

Our popular interview series is back and we kick off the series with a deep dive into stablecoins with Tony McLaughlin, Emerging Payments & Business Development at Citi . 

Tony will be speaking on 27th November on 'Understanding the Evolving Role of Non-Traditional Payment Means – Spotlight on Stablecoins'


Q: What role do you see stablecoins playing in the payments landscape?
Q: What role do you see stablecoins playing in the payments landscape?

A:  Stablecoins are the latest iteration of cryptocurrencies. Since the original invention of bitcoin, advocates have been looking for ways to enable crypto to perform the functions of money. One of the constraints on many cryptocurrencies so far has been price volatility, otherwise these instruments are not functional as stores of value.

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Q: What effect will the emergence of stablecoins have on existing payment methods?
Q: What effect will the emergence of stablecoins have on existing payment methods?

A:  Potential disruption can have a highly stimulative, positive effect on legacy markets. The emergence of sta-blecoins and other cryptocurrencies will likely lead to improvements in the what we call the ‘fiat currency stack’. 

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Q: What do you see the relationship between banks and coin-issuers being in the future?
Q: What do you see the relationship between banks and coin-issuers being in the future?

A:  The banking system and regulators have a hard time with bearer instruments. If you remember the movie ‘Die Hard’ the whole heist was for the villains to get their hands on bearer bonds. Bearer instruments make it hard to know the sources and uses of funds.

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Read the full interview with Tony McLaughlin

INTERVIEW WITH CHIPO MUSHWANA

In this month's interview, series we take a deep dive into the Sub-Saharan African payments ecosystem with Chipo Mushwana, Executive at Nedbank. 

Chipo will be speaking on 18th November on 'Payments Perspective from Sub-Saharan Africa'.


Q. How do you see payments evolving in Africa in the next 5 years?
Q. How do you see payments evolving in Africa in the next 5 years?

A:  SAfrica is a hotbed of innovation, particularly in the digital and payment space. Every day, this is demonstrated through the introduction of new and better solutions that truly make a difference in people’s lives. By 2050, the population of Africa is expected to grow to 2 billion, while the rest of the world experiences flat or declining population curves. Digital payments transparency addresses the heart of the endemic economic challenges of emerging markets, touching everything from facilitating government grants and catalysing the growth of microenterprises and small business.


Real-time payments and digital wallets are ripe with potential, particularly the ability to create new overlay products, such as instant P2P services or instant bill payments, on real-time rails.


I believe, this trend is particularly strong in markets such as Nigeria and South Africa where there is a real-time infrastructure in place. Contactless payments such as QR Code payments promise to open new services for Africa’s SMEs. We have seen Ghana announce its EMVCo QR Standard for universal QR customer push payment which simplifies things tremendously. I expect many other nations will follow this example.


Another area that presents a significant opportunity is low cost payment acceptance aimed at nano, micro to small merchants. Merchants are making tangible steps in improving the number of payment types that they accept, and we are also seeing handset manufacturers making inroads into this space, as they seek to cater for this underserved market in Africa.  

Q. What technological innovations do you see as the game changers?
Q. What technological innovations do you see as the game changers?

A. 

  • Real-time payment switches – these provide the bases for the interoperability glue between multiple mobile money schemes and banks. The push for more cashless transactions has driven the adoption of instant, electronic payments. As this push continues, on a global scale we have seen instant payments take on the characteristics of cash such as immediate settlement. This has also created scope for innovation in fraud prevention, security and payment analytics.
  • Cross border remittances running on card rails – this provides for fast and affordable payments to an expanding network of banks.
  • The combination of open platform banking and open APIs (API Platforms) will change the entire banking ecosystem as we know it, from the products and services offered to the delivery channels used and underlying partnerships that will shape innovation and customer experiences in the future. With public APIs, customers will have more options to interact with their bank.

Q: What role do you see for banks in payments in the future?
Q: What role do you see for banks in payments in the future?

A: As mobile payments continue to grow in leaps and bounds on the continent, the ultimate size of the market across Africa could be as high as 850 million customers, supporting about $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion in transaction volume and $25 billion to $30 billion in yearly revenue from the financial transactions alone.


If banks step up to this opportunity, they will open new significant revenue streams. Mobile transactions are unlikely to be a winner-take-all business, dominated by one or two companies with a digital firewall around their offerings, because regulators in most African countries have mandated mobile wallet interoperability.


More likely, banks will compete against telecoms, fintech companies, and other banks. In many markets, leading retail banks could capture 20% or more of the mobile wallet market if they make the right investments and design their offerings strategically.


In countries where non-banks dominate the payment space, banks can concentrate on building more advanced payment and financial products to facilitate processes like granting loans, cross border transactions and card issuing. Admittingly this is not an easy space as it is far more cost effective for the mobile money operators to roll out new services given their larger client bases.


This is compounded by the frequent lack of integration between the different banks that have let mobile money dominate the payments ecosystems. Where this is the case, banks have to partner with mobile money operators where they can bring interoperability and more advanced payment option to the table.

Read the full interview with Chipo

Interview with Michael Salmony

In this month's interview we discuss APIs and the changing payments landscape with Michael Salmony of equensWorldline SE, and executive adviser to various European decision making bodies. 


Michael will be on a panel on 27th November covering 'Where Next for the API Ecosystem Model? - Digital Identity, Premium APIs and Beyond'


Q: What kind of Premium APIs do you think we are likely to see in the next 3 years?
Q: What kind of Premium APIs do you think we are likely to see in the next 3 years?

A: All industries are increasingly driving towards the “API Mashup Economy”. Every online service (maps, language translation, flight information, …) is being made available for third party use by standard APIs and these are then being “mashed up” to provide new compound services. Your mobile offers information on your location (subject to your consent, of course) to others, Google offers information on the map of the area to others, etc. This is then mashed up by Uber which connects your location and the driver’s location with the optimal map route and a clever algorithm to provide the new taxi service. That is the new mashup economy based on standard APIs.

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Q: How do you see digital identity changing the payments landscape?
Q: How do you see digital identity changing the payments landscape?

A: Payments are a hugely profitable, stable, growing business. McKinsey says global payment revenues are growing faster than ever (+11% i.e. much more than typical GDP for years), is now a 2Tr$ industry and payments contribute 43% to bank revenues. However payment transaction processing fees are under pressure, some indeed tending towards zero, card business is coming under pressure with account-to-account instant payments and more. Thus banks are well advised to find new sources of revenue.

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Q: What are the obstacles to be overcome for the development of a vibrant API ecosystem?
Q: What are the obstacles to be overcome for the development of a vibrant API ecosystem?

A: The API mashup economy is alive and well (see first question above). However for a truly scalable,
professional API ecosystem it is necessary to set up a scheme. Just putting an API out there and some SCA
consent mechanism is not enough. Beyond the technical side, we need to address operational, functional and commercial is-sues in a structured way.

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Read the full interview with Michael Salmony

Interview with Ruth Wandhöfer

In our final interview in the series, we caught up with with Ruth Wandhöfer, Independent payments & banking expert, to discuss how Open Banking will continue to reshape the payments ecosystem and look ahead to future regulatory challenges.

Ruth will be chairing the conference on 27th November and moderating a number of panel sessions.




Q: What technologies do you see impacting payments most significantly in the near future?
Q: What technologies do you see impacting payments most significantly in the near future?

A: Technology change is a constant. The journey of Open Banking and PSD2 is still in its early days and banks are moving slowly from simple minimum requirement APIs to facilitate communicating with third party providers to a broader perspective of leveraging APIs both in internal bank infrastructures as well as developing value-added services with Premium APIs.

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Q: How do you see Open Banking reshaping the payments ecosystem in the next 3 years?
Q: How do you see Open Banking reshaping the payments ecosystem in the next 3 years?

A:  Apart from the gradual shift from card based to account-based transactions, which is bound to significantly accelerate once seamless POS processes for account-based payments are rolled out across merchants, we will see an overall expansion of Open Banking.

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Q: After PSD2, what’s the next regulatory challenge?
Q: After PSD2, what’s the next regulatory challenge?

A:  An intuitive answer to this question is of course PSD3 – the saga continues. And whilst PSD3 is surely on the horizon, there are also regulatory challenges in the pipeline.

For example, a regulatory challenge that hasn’t yet come to the fore is the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) and in particular its interaction practice with PSD2.

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Read the full interview with Ruth Wandhöfer