This month The Fintech Times is exploring paytech, meaning any technological innovation that changes the way we pay. As the payment space continues to evolve, we constantly see new opportunities appear for fintechs.
But what are the opportunities in payments appearing around the corner, as we near ever-closer to 2024, for the fintech sector? Despite constant progress and innovation, some areas still appear to be lacking. Here, we take a look at the areas fintechs could step into and make their own.
As Jeremy Baber, CEO of London-based fintech Lanistar, explains, fintechs could significantly impact how the global payments industry evolves in the future: “In my opinion, blending ‘old’ traditional finance and crypto blockchain will be the next generational evolution that fintech will provide.
“Traditional banking is against crypto, but it is here to stay so the regulators and industry need to embrace it and bring it into the fold.”
To find out what other opportunities exist in the payments space for fintech firms, we reached out to some experts to get their perspective.
Unlocking ‘€550billion in economic value in Europe by 2025’
Ramez Hanafi, head of digital solutions and UK and Ireland product at payment giant Visa, explains which areas he believes offer the biggest opportunities for fintechs: “Embracing a fully open data economy offers limitless opportunities for richer, more personalised experiences for consumers and businesses. It reduces barriers to entry for new players and has the potential to unlock €550billion in economic value in Europe by 2025.
“Partnerships also play a vital role. Whilst fintech businesses innovating and driving change, it is through collaboration and partnerships with others that they will be able to scale their ideas and stay at the forefront of an ever-evolving ecosystem.
“In addition, the influence of Generation Z and Generation Alpha will trigger a dramatic shift in how the world operates over the next five to 10 years.
“These generations have high expectations for a more seamless world driven by innovative technologies like AI, virtual reality, and smart assistants. This too extends to payments as, driven by the exponential growth of data, consumers now increasingly expect online experiences to be as seamless as they are in person, no matter the merchant or device they’re using.”
‘Banks and fintechs partnering together’
Steve Naudé, head of Wise Platform, also discusses the opportunities that collaboration between fintechs and traditional banks could provide: “There are significant opportunities in instant payments to combine the agility and technology of fintechs with the reach and infrastructure of established financial institutions. This will come from banks and fintechs partnering together.
“Fintechs can specialise in specific customer problems, meaning they can build high-quality solutions for these at speed. Banks cannot have such a singular focus, they have to focus on a sizable core product offering to serve all their customer use cases. While banks have scale, they can gain agility in non-core focus areas by working with fintechs.
“Take international payments. The majority of big banks are built to focus on domestic payments, so allocating resources to international payments and innovating there quickly is not always easy, especially with the considerable changes happening in payments at the moment.
“However, by partnering with a fintech that specialises in international payments, banks can deliver transparent, faster and lower-cost international payments straight to their customers.”
‘Only in the foothills of what is possible in the payment space’
Peter O’Halloran, VP and head of enterprise and digital commerce EMEA at Fiserv, explains: “Despite a number of new innovations coming to market in recent years, we are still only in the foothills of what is possible in the payment space.
“We are especially excited by the opportunities presented by embedded finance, which has the potential to supercharge the user experience in ways we haven’t seen before. When it comes to payments, customers and merchants both want seamless and integrated solutions which are hassle-free and, ultimately, deliver better outcomes for all.
“This technology will bring together payment companies, financial institutions, and software platforms to embed payment technologies in software systems and merchants’ checkouts. In turn, this will remove the need to send consumers to third-party apps or websites to make a payment. Embedded finance is the future of payments, and we are excited by the largely untapped opportunities this technology will deliver for all.
“Bigger picture, consumer in-store shopping preferences are evolving rapidly, and this is impacting how fintechs approach payment technology. For example, shoppers are moving away from executing an in-store payment if they see a long queue that isn’t moving.
“As a result, SoftPOS solutions which allow merchants to take payments via phones or tablet devices are increasingly becoming attractive. We have seen a number of companies experiment with technology in this space as it provides a cost-effective solution to merchants. In the years ahead, SoftPOS solutions will likely become a game-changer for businesses, especially SMEs, and lead to a revolution at the checkout.”
‘We’re witnessing a three-fold expansion strategy’
Pete Janes, GCEO and founder of the high-value B2B payment firm Shieldpay, also added: “The opportunities for fintech in the payments industry are boundless.
“We’re witnessing a three-fold expansion strategy – horizontal expansion into adjacent industries, vertical growth by serving more sophisticated clients, and deeper market penetration. By simplifying processes and embracing automation, fintechs can streamline payments, reduce manual interventions, and ensure that their products align with the changing dynamics of the industry.
“Furthermore, the integration of AI and the potential for innovative smart contracts also offer exciting prospects for enhancing the efficiency and security of digital payments.
“Fintech is set to reshape the future of payments by providing seamless, customer-centric solutions across various sectors and use cases.”