With UK Fintech Week ongoing, this webinar was titled “The Digital Payments Boom, Playing Catch-up with the Giants”. Exploring the digital payments boom, this webinar takes a closer look at the success stories of the digital payments market, debating the arguments for regulation, discussing emerging markets and predicting the future of the sector.
The panellists were Keith Grose, Head of International, Plaid; Myles Stephenson, CEO, Modulr Finance; Neil Harris, Group Chief Commercial Officer, Global Processing Services; Sophie Guibaud, Chief Growth Officer OpenPayd; and was moderated by Kristy Duncan, Founder and CEO, Women in Payments
The discussion kicked off with the panellists discussing the successes of the past “whirlwind” year. Myles explained that they as a company have seen a significant acceleration in what they’ve been doing. “We’ve seen people starting to accelerate transformation projects through to how they rebuilt platforms, which have typically been multi-year decisions but have accelerated very quickly through last year.”
Keith agreed with this statement of acceleration, adding that the last year saw a fundamental change into how people run their financial lives. “This adoption and the acceleration of the adoption of the underlying infrastructure around open banking payments and big data has been a key story of that.”
The discussion moved on to consider regulation – with Kristy explaining how fintechs are often challenged with issues such as lack of enforcement or passporting discrimination among others.
For Keith, regulation is necessary, but only when it’s done right. He said: “regulation done correctly builds trust and brings legitimacy to a space, which then increases investment and increases adoption. So I’d say regulation is good, it just needs to be done correctly.
Neil said: “With Brexit coming into play, passporting rights have been a huge challenge, not specifically for GPS as an organisation, but there’s been a huge additional cost and complexity because of the lack of measures and actual visibility of it.”
Sophie agreed with Neil in terms of the challenges Brexit brought to fintechs. “As an organisation, there has been quite a lot of cost associated to the end of passporting as part of Brexit, which encompasses securing license in Europe. I think a lot of organisations have already made the effort to actually go to Europe, but I think going to other geographies to actually enable trades and competition is a great idea.”
“Making regulation simple and accessible and keeping on an agent model will be very key for enabling all companies to become fintechs in the next few years.”
Finally, Kristy turned the conversation to the future, asking the panellists: “What are you most excited about for the payments market in the next three years?”
Myles kicked off, saying “Looking forward, there is this amazing opportunity for payments to be part of literally every software platform, and every software business to become a payments company, which is fantastic to see.”
Keith weighed in on the discussion, advising that the advice he would give himself if he could go back in time would be to think about the trends that are inevitable and invest ahead of demand. “Embedded finance and open banking payments are inevitable trends that are happening, and it’s worth investing in now because they’re going to be huge in the next 10 years.
“I think fundamentally, financial services and payment will be embedded to meet users and small businesses where they already are. And if you’re not on board with that trend, eventually you’re going to either have to get on board or get left behind.”