Why is paying money – so difficult?

We look at the upcoming keynote conference discussions at Trustech, and ask; do we really need another hotel trip?

I happen to know Copenhagen Airport better than most people who even live in Denmark. I have never been into Copenhagen tho. Business trips are what they are. They are not Tourist trips. Then again – some things need to be discussed, face to face.

For those of us not connected with the intricacies and practicalities and sheer volume, of international payments, how our buying and selling gets sorted out corporatively – then the idea of listening to several of Europe’s leading experts on “payments”, who will be speaking between the 28th-30th November in Cannes – seems a bit unnecessary. A luxury. A junket for jobs for the boys.

The simplistic view is that, well, we all use our contactless card and our Apple Pay, and it all works ok – so what’s there not to love? Why is it all so difficult?

This is not so naive as it sounds, and there are two issues here.
The first is that the absolute importance of making sure payments and money transfers, actually “work” in volume, is essential for any Bank. As one Bank Director told me – “the last thing we want is for pensioners not to get their Giro every Friday”.

Which means that the legacy systems, on which banks still depend – remain untouched. Despite the awareness of mobile disruption in the established order of things (and both Santander and ING refer to this in their recent Presentations) – there is too much risk involved in going back to one’s roots so to say.
The result is a growing level of complexity, based on traditional architecture alongside a slow step by step toe-in-the-water approach to change. This works against what the market – the ordinary guy in the street – is experiencing and now demanding. As life in general becomes more and personalised, in healthcare provision, retail offering, etc – we expect things to “work”, at our own personal level, using the toys we have in our hand.

So when Banks talk about losing their brand identity and perceived value – this is what they mean.

And it creates a problem, because there are just too many individualistic players. There are too many multi-levels of players in the whole process of simply buying a train ticket. Which means that – if there is indeed a problem in the process – well, who is to blame and at what point?

The one thing that banks cannot afford is the risk of failure – but that in itself misses the point, because we are equating “personal transaction – with “corporate transaction”. And whilst Banks accept the way things are going – there is a fear factor in actually “doing something” and throwing out the old and truly embracing the new.

But customers themselves don’t see it that way. Whilst we absolutely “get” that in the big high volume world, there need to be proven systems, and if they are old – but they work – well, where is the problem? – We also absolutely “get” that if at a personal level, we want to be cool and use our smart individual Toys, then we will balance that risk with the state of the art benefit.

So what’s the answer?

It is not necessarily the disruptive rise of the Neo Banks, because their own lifespan and implicit credibility is still too young and under review.

In short – the fear of losing brand awareness is actually the reverse; Those banks that do not live at the cutting edge at a personal level – which is where the increasing volume of personal business exists, and which drives corporate business – are losing their raison d’être because they are not visible.

The fact is, disruptive “mobile” technology – is here to stay. So; in that spirit if we “get” that mobile technology is the way things are going – then why the Conference? Why not just do everything on Skype? Well then again – somethings just have to be said – face to face. At least I’m not travelling via CPH.

Author: umnitso

Managing Editor at ProfoMedia, and Senior Partner at The CRT Partnership, a a leading specialist in brokering international alliances and partnerships; a published author in own right - as well as accredited media for major trade associations, including HIMSS, Vitalis, and others.

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