Driven by the digital revolution, business and consumer payments are undergoing a critical transformation. Addressing this need, software specialist The Access Group developed Access PaySuite, combining its years of diverse industry-specific experience with leading technical insight.
Andrea Dunlop, managing director of Access PaySuite explains more about the company’s take on the payments space, and offers her thoughts on how businesses can adjust to the changing market.
How do you think the sector needs to adapt to meet new customer attitudes towards payments?
Whether they’re dealing with a retailer, charity, utility company or government body, consumer expectations are higher than they’ve ever been, demanding a frictionless payment experience in person, online or via mobile apps.
A number of companies such as neobanks and mobile technology businesses have driven these innovative experiences. As a result everyone in the industry has had to follow suit, but I’d argue that the sector is still at the start of this journey.
Many new software companies are now entering the payment space. Often, they bring integrated sector-specific experience which offers much more insight to the process and streamlines the payments process for consumers and businesses alike.
Will the move towards a cashless society impact the digital payments sector longer-term?
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has accelerated the digital payments shift. As well as e-commerce, contactless and mobile spending, we’ve also seen a blend of digital and face to face tools such as ‘pay-at-table’ or ‘pay-in-app’ taking off.
While the use of cash has become much less common, there are still millions of people that require access to physical money due to a lack of digital infrastructure. Even as technology develops, sufficient efforts must be made to ensure products are available to all of society.
On balance the majority of the UK has seen the benefit of new ways to pay. While it’s important to protect cash for those who need it, we can’t halt what has been terrific progress and innovation in the way we pay and get paid.
How do different sectors vary in terms of digital adoption?
Historically, various industries have adopted technology at different paces, though we have seen an acceleration across all sectors when applied to adopting a digital-first strategy. Without doing so, another sector or startup could act first and revolutionise a service, making your offering redundant.
The mobile phone is a ‘swiss army knife of potential’ with a camera, video, microphone, fast connectivity and super fast processing. Suddenly, almost every consumer has the capability to digitally interact with a business remotely, around the clock. There are very few consumer or business enterprises that aren’t thinking of advancing a digital strategy in order to compete and remain relevant.
Is an integrated approach to payments important for businesses?
Since the widespread use of credit cards and electronic consumer payments began in the 1980s, we have seen further steps to make payments more integrated with the business processes they are designed to support.
Over the last twenty years, integration has been revolutionary. Costs have been driven down thanks to the straight-through processing and very low error rates it can offer.
The ‘old world’ of the cash till that needs to be counted, reconciled and deposited at a bank each night is still in operation, but it represents a tiny proportion of all payments in the UK. Digitally integrated payments offer the greatest opportunity for streamlining how you manage your business and your customers, while enhancing your overall user experience.
How can businesses keep on top of regulatory changes?
While some legislation can drive compliance-type restrictions, such as the Interchange Fee regulation, it can also support new innovation, as seen with the new Payment Services Directive 2.
Most businesses want to focus on serving their customers rather than having to understand all the regulatory developments. It’s important for businesses to find a good payments partner that can provide fully-regulated payment services, as well as reliable industry advice.
Access Group has recently launched Access PaySuite. How will this positively impact customers?
Most companies offer basic payment offerings but they don’t add more value, nor do they understand the specifics of the business’ vertical.
Our approach to payments is integrated, with straight-through processing. This meets the needs of specific verticals including health and social care, hospitality, education, charities and not for profit, legal, manufacturing, recruitment agencies and retail, visitor attraction and warehousing and fulfilment, and construction. The Access Group has significant experience in these industries, meaning Access PaySuite will be able to add real, tangible value to all these sectors.
Was Access PaySuite developed to overcome any specific challenges?
Our team has years of payments experience, so we don’t expect our customers to. We will always share that knowledge in a simple and easy-to-understand way – saving time on jargon-busting and solving crucial problems instead.
We understand each customer’s end-user requirements and design payment solutions which fit their specific needs, harnessing our knowledge across numerous vertical sectors. This helps them achieve efficient payments which are integrated into their business processes, rather than being inefficient and unsuitable.
At its core, Access PaySuite was built to enable each customer to achieve cost-effective and streamlined payments with a partner that understands their unique challenges.