The days of tactical solutions that fulfill a single purpose, where payments existed in isolation are gone, they simply don’t meet today’s customer expectations. Financial service providers’ ability to create ecosystems which bring together a range of relevant players has become a crucial factor for future success.
The payments industry has long been focusing on creating automated banking and payment functions. We have now come to a tipping point, expectations have changed and a digitised version of the same service is no longer what customers want. We have the knowledge and technology to create digital ecosystems for all aspects of life – for individuals, businesses and society.
Payments no longer are a standalone function, but have become an intrinsic part of day to day life. Digital wallets are a prime example of how digital can support all aspects of an individual’s life – shopping, getting around using various means of transportation, topping up your mobile account, send money or gift vouchers to friends and relatives or simply make sure your utility bills get paid in time. Through digital technology, each individual can create its own personal ecosystem of tools, products and services that match and support their daily life – where consumers no longer have to trade-off between using the service of their preference versus having a single, seamlessly integrated access point.
It is easy to see that digital ecosystems are not only there for individuals, they are by definition bringing together a variety of stakeholders and aim to service a broader group of individuals. When we look at initiatives around financial inclusion for example, these are not just about enabling a population to make payments to one another. It is also about creating a network of trusted agents to on-board and support clients in remote areas, or adding telco or utility providers to the ecosystem to ensure users can easily top up their mobile accounts or pay their electricity bill from a single place. And these ecosystems are certainly not limited to consumers, on the contrary.
There is a great opportunity to create efficient digital B2B ecosystems, where business owners can leverage a single platform to access suppliers, get access to credit, logistics, insurance and sell and promote their goods. At the same time, this ecosystem is a platform for lenders to acquire new clients and use the data aggregated into the platform to more accurately assess the credit worthiness of their lenders and it is a sales channel for suppliers, transportation services and insurance providers. These platforms create real life ecosystems where all stakeholders can benefit. In this manner we raise financial inclusion from a ‘benefit to one’ to ‘a benefit of the many’.
The technology to successfully build these environments is here - today. With a broad set of digital payment options, AI and the integration capabilities that are offered by APIs, we now have a powerful toolkit to bridge real life to digital. Financial service providers that understand the importance of ecosystems will thrive and be successful at launching tomorrow’s customer propositions.