Technology, shifting consumer behaviour, new business models, and regulatory initiatives are propelling dramatic changes across the entire payments ecosystem. For corporate treasurers, successfully adapting to this changing world – whether it be embracing variable recurring payments, leveraging APIs, or harnessing the power of open banking – provides a wealth of business opportunities.
Professionals working in the payments industry could easily claim it to be the most innovative area regarding treasury management right now – with new tools, technologies, and initiatives driving transactions to become faster and more transparent. One of these drivers has been the rate of change in consumer behaviour because people now want, and even expect, instant information at their fingertips and the ability to receive payments in real-time.
This demand has pressured retailers and the new influx of e-commerce marketplaces to focus on the user experience (UX) and how they engage with customers through their payment interfaces. Questions such as how many clicks are necessary in a payment journey or how easy the technology is to use – whether through hyperlinks or QR codes and on a mobile app or a desktop computer – are being carefully considered by both retailers and manufacturers embracing the direct-to-consumer trend as they look to put flexibility and convenience in the hands of the consumer.
Ritu Sehgal, Head of Transaction Services & Trade – Corporate Banking & Structured Finance, NatWest, comments that consumer behaviour is also driving numerous instant payments use cases within treasury. “When it comes to refunds, compensation or insurance claims, consumers want the settlement to be ASAP,” she says. “Corporate treasury has then incorporated these behavioural changes, and we’ve seen a shift in their approach to real-time payments. Most treasurers now recognise the benefits of instant payments, whether for internal synergies or client benefits.”