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Which Next Big Payment Trend Will Hit the Paytech World?

Payments are arguably the face of fintech. When you think about financial technology, it is easy to think about solutions which are making payments faster, easier and more accessible.

With so much potential for different technologies to leave a mark on the paytech industry, we reached out to industry experts to find out what they believe will become the next big payment trend.

Artificial intelligence

For Paul Harrald, CFO of Curve, the financial payment super app, it is hard to look past artificial intelligence (AI) as the next big trend for the space. He explains: “AI is the next big payment trend.

Paul Harrald, CFO of Curve
Paul Harrald, CFO of Curve

“It will improve the efficiency of payment companies by eliciting patterns from payment data. This will allow a great deal of customer personalisation and improve the overall payment experience. An example of this is fraud detection, which has been well-modelled by AI (deep learning) for more than 20 years.

“Most fintechs are very well placed to avail themselves of the opportunity of generative AI. This is because they tend to be microservice-designed and natively digital. Fintechs have long embraced agile methods, which favour rapid and continuous deployment, meaning they are likely to be first to try out and optimise, and while always subject to nascent regulation will be well placed to shape this regulation.

“More importantly, the typical architecture a fintech adopts will allow customisation and personalisation at customer level; in effect, fintechs can supply operating systems in which customers develop their UI. This can be profoundly difficult in monolithic and highly production-focussed environments, whereas a fintech whose essential role is offering its products via a UI, and who spends a great deal of time in that UI, will naturally see how to allow its customers to do the design work. In this regard, fintechs often have tech-savvy customers which may help adoption.

“In this way, fintechs that allow their customers to design what they see as beautiful, those who allow customers to choose the tone of voice with which they are addressed, and who provide choice and convenience wrapped up in customisation, will undoubtedly prevail as they will dominate in all aspects of the customer experience.”

Open finance driving innovation

Pedro Batista, VP of payments at Payhawk, the business spend management firm, explains how open finance could lead the key to the next leap in innovation: “In 2024, we will see an explosion of innovation in payments driven by open banking and open finance regulations.

“As third-party providers gain more access to financial data, new financial services will emerge that leverage transaction data to offer personalised insights and value-added services to consumers and businesses.

‌”For SaaS companies like us in the spend management space, this will enable new product capabilities that seamlessly integrate payments with financial planning and cash flow management. For example, we will be able to analyse historical transaction data to predict future spending, identify wasteful spending and automatically take action like cancelling unused subscriptions or re-allocating budgets. Machine learning will enable our spend management platforms to get smarter and more personalised over time.

“Real-time payments will become the norm, allowing businesses to optimise cash flow in 2024. Our platforms will leverage real-time data to provide dynamic insights into organisational spending and liquidity. This will support faster, data-driven spending decisions and allow us to offer premium services like flexible reimbursements, instant spend notifications and daily spend reporting.

‌”Stronger partnerships between fintechs and banks will further accelerate innovation. As a scaling fintech, we are uniquely positioned to collaborate across the payments ecosystem – from processors to banks to regulators – to shape the future of Intelligent Spend Management. Our open and configurable platforms will enable rapid deployment of new innovations in spend analytics, payments and cash flow management as they emerge.”

Addressing back-end challenges

Jon Knott, head of insights at Dojo, the card payment solution provider, also had his say on the next big paytech trend: “After the pandemic saw companies shift to digital, businesses increasingly looked towards new and innovative payments services – from QR codes to open banking – leaving many with ‘patchwork quilt’ payment infrastructure and challenges around data integration.

Jonathan Knott, head of customer insight at Dojo, payment trend
Jonathan Knott, head of customer insight at Dojo

“With the speedy roll-out of new systems and applications, businesses are struggling to join disparate technologies, resulting in challenges around accountancy and tracking of finances, as well as operational inefficiencies across their organisation.

“This year, we encourage businesses to uncouple their electronic point of sale (EPOS) and payment systems as the first step to achieve a more seamless payment infrastructure, something Dojo enables.

“Not only is this advantageous for security and data protection, but it also allows businesses to take advantage of innovative products and specialist providers an all-in-one system may not supply, as well as significantly reducing the risk of downtime by relying on one provider.

“We anticipate more businesses addressing such back-end challenges to integrate their different payments systems, boosting efficiency of the business and ensuring higher quality data and insights that can inform decision-making processes moving forward. Such insights will help them focus on what’s most important – delivering an even better experience for their customers.”

Tap-to-pay technology becoming ‘truly embedded’

Richard Carter, CEO and co-founder of Lopay, said: “2024 will be the year tap-to-pay technology becomes truly embedded in the way small businesses and sole traders take payments.

Richard Carter, founder of digital payment app Lopay, payment trend
Richard Carter, CEO of Lopay

“Millions of people already manage their entire life through their smartphone, so for mobile devices to become the primary way we pay for things seems like a natural evolution. The change is already underway. Official data from UK Finance shows that in 2022 30 per cent of adults were registered with at least one mobile payment service, with that figure climbing to over half among the under-35s.

“This year we’ll see the technology be embraced beyond these primarily young early adopters. For consumers, the ease of paying for things by just tapping their phone onto a merchant’s phone makes the appeal of tap-to-pay obvious. But we’ll also see a big shift among businesses, for whom tap-to-pay removes the need for cash, cards, card readers or tills, reducing their costs and streamlining the sales process.

“Rewards and expense programmes are set to shake up the paytech industry in a big way, as payment platforms start enabling merchants to not only take payments, but spend their earnings and accrue rewards points for redemption on tailored deals and offers. It’s an approach that adds value for their users while expanding traditional payment platforms into full digital wallets.”

‘Several megatrends’ in the future of paytech

Funmi Dele-Giwa, general counsel and head of governance at Onafriq, the omnichannel payment network, explains which trends could be the next to make a big impact on the space: “In the last few years, the payments industry has gone through significant transformation.

Funmi Dele-Giwa, general counsel and head of governance at Onafriq
Funmi Dele-Giwa, general counsel and head of governance at Onafriq

“New technologies that drive innovation have been introduced and fintech began to move into the mainstream financial services space. Many fintechs challenged the incumbent payment players through the use of advanced technology and by focusing on solving real customer pain points.

“Looking forward, there are several megatrends which will likely continue to drive dramatic changes in the payments industry. Digital currencies will continue to challenge the status quo and will likely spearhead new products, services, and channels.

“Artificial Intelligence and the ability to mine and utilise all the data associated with running a payment business will play a more and more important role in the near future, especially in areas such as risk, compliance and KYC. Finally, enhanced regulatory oversight will require payment players to mature in their regulatory approach and invest in their regulatory compliance environment.

“Although many of the payment trends are global in nature, the impact they have differ from market to market. On the African continent, where we operate, the new trends in payments facilitate financial inclusion at scale while across the more developed world, payment trends are typically those that enhance already existing payment methods – making them faster, simpler and more transparent.”

Stablecoins

According to Dr Paolo Tasca, founder of the Centre for Blockchain Technologies at University College London, stablecoins may well emerge as the next payment trend: “The next big paytech trend in 2024 will absolutely be stablecoins, as they will be utilised for institutional payments.

“The creation of unified payment networks like the Unified Payments Interface 2.0 and the ‘buy now pay later’ offers.

“Developed markets have the issue of ‘what’s good enough’ versus the leapfrogging in emerging economies (like China jumping straight to cash). Digitisation in emerging economies is threatening the dominance of payment networks in the Western world, which is not upgrading itself as fast.”

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