Customers today are more discerning than ever before and expect so much more from their banks. They are looking for positive experiences and expect their needs to be satisfied instantaneously. At the same time, banks have a myriad of challenges to navigate through – mounting pressure from regulators, increased competition and so on. Payment services – flexible, scalable and reliable, can help banks boost fee income and attract deposits. With the right level of payment services, banks can differentiate themselves by servicing clients wherever they are, and with the same or improved levels of services. However, investment in payments modernisation will only deliver its full potential if it takes into account the needs of the new customers. So who are these new customers?
The new corporate – bank to industry and institutions
The new corporate customer demands flexibility and scale from its bank. In order to do this, banks need to drive payments efficiencies by managing cash and liquidity. The introduction of SEPA Direct Debits has made corporates realise the value of rationalised services. Rather than banking on a country-by-country basis, corporates now want a centralised, global approach to payments. For example, they may want to cover a payment instruction in France from funds in Singapore – and often they’ll expect the transfer to be made in a matter of minutes. Those banks that can deliver a global service will be best positioned to grab the biggest share of this business.
The new consumers – bank to end-consumers
So what do more flexible payments services mean for customers? They want to use new payments channels, like pre-paid cards and P2P mobile payments, and are therefore forcing banks to innovate. Customers are increasingly questioning banks about services they do not receive. How can I cancel payments simply? Can I link mobile payments to a card? How do I ensure flexibility in my direct debits? Banks that pre-empt some of these questions will have a first mover advantage.
The bank customer – bank to bank
For global institutions that rely on insourced payments traffic to achieve economies of scale, bank customers also present new challenges. To deliver this service effectively and turn payments into a profit centre, insourcing banks not only need to be able to process high volumes of payments but also provide a flexible outsource offering. They need to be able to adapt their service according to new requirements from the bank customer or changing market conditions.
A new era – service level payments
With more institutions trying to improve payments services and infrastructures, the successful ones will be those that offer service level payments. What does that mean? It means offering a differentiated, scalable and unified customer experience that stretches across the globe while accommodating local variations. Service level payments allow banks to put in place specified service levels for customer segments and for different payment types, such as domestic; cross-border; high volume or high value. This new way of dealing with payments offers a combined approach to meeting client requirements and processing payments.