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MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–FINNOSUMMIT — NovoPayment, a Banking-as-a-Service platform category leader, and Visa Inc., the world’s leader in digital payments, today announced an expansion of their strategic partnership to enable financial institutions and merchants to deploy Visa’s digital solutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Visa has also made a strategic investment in NovoPayment.

Over the last two years, Visa and NovoPayment have made significant advancements in the digitization of payments across the region: from enabling apps with multi-functional capabilities for issuers, merchants and acquirers, to accelerating the deployment of Visa Direct, Visa’s real-time payments solution, and Visa Token Services for various use cases including payouts and peer-to-peer payments, as well as facilitating business-to-business money movements in markets like Mexico and Colombia.

Through its modular API delivery model and footprint in 12 markets across the Americas, NovoPayment provides accelerated time-to-market in the adoption of key Visa solutions, embedding them into new use cases such as digital account origination (new and simple ways of creating a bank account), instant card issuance and disbursements, driving secure commerce and the digital economy.

Anabel Perez, co-founder and CEO of NovoPayment, said, “We’re delighted to see that our shared vision for success is being realized, by expanding our partnership with Visa in such a way. It’s a testament of our proven enablement model and commitment to collaboration.”

“Partnerships are fundamental to Visa’s business model and the expansion of our strategic partnership with NovoPayment is another example of how collaboration will ultimately help our clients deliver improved customers experiences faster and easier than ever,” said Ruben Salazar, Senior Vice President of Products and Innovation for Visa Latin America and the Caribbean. “I am proud of all the work we have done over the years with NovoPayment and look forward to continuing to support our customers as they continue to adapt in this rapidly evolving payments landscape.”

Visa is committed to working with payment enablers like NovoPayment to support the integration of new startups and fintech players into the ecosystem. Arnoldo Reyes, Vice President of Digital Partnerships, Fintech & Ventures for Visa Latin America and the Caribbean explains, “At Visa we continue to work with platform partners to accelerate the integration of new fintech players interested in launching Visa technologies like Visa Token Service, Visa Direct, Virtual Cards and many others. NovoPayment will be a key partner for our Fintech Fast Track program, helping speed-up the time it takes for these new players to start working with Visa, and most importantly accelerate the time-to-market of their solutions.”

As originally published on Business Wire.

MIAMI–September 4, 2019–NovoPayment, a Visa Ready fintech partner and leading banking as a service (BaaS) enabler of digital financial and transactional services, today announced that they can now scale the deployment of Visa Direct for instant payments, P2P and P2M payments, account-to-account payments, fast funds and mass payouts, as well as the use of Visa Token Services. The measure currently provides issuers, acquirers and merchants improved time-to-market in the adoption of key Visa solutions via APIs.

“The new API delivery models enabled by NovoPayment provide Visa’s clients and partners another means of adopting key solutions and embedding them into new use cases,” said Ruben Salazar, Senior Vice President of Products and Solutions at Visa Latin America and the Caribbean. “This is particularly important for the growth of Visa Direct in the region, which has the potential of truly transforming the way funds are transferred amongst consumers, businesses, and governments in Latin America,” he added.

As a Visa Ready fintech partner and certified Visa Direct and Visa Token Service provider, NovoPayment extends Visa’s capabilities into emerging payments use cases such as digital account origination, super wallets, and instant and proximity payments via easily consumable APIs.

“Our ability to provide modular or full-stack capabilities, and the combination of our more than 100 APIs with others from Visa, streamlines the creation of new value chains, providing a better experience for issuers, acquirers and digital merchants,” said Anabel Perez, co-founder and CEO of NovoPayment, adding, “Digital payments via Visa Direct and Visa Tokenization Services is a major time-saver and critical component of providing the kinds of frictionless and secure payment alternatives that today’s consumer and commercial customers demand.”

These developments are part of Visa and NovoPayment’s strategic partnership agreement to accelerate the adoption of digital payment solutions and create new commerce experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean.

About NovoPayment

NovoPayment, a category leader in the area of Banking as a Service (BaaS) platforms, enables digital financial and transactional services in support of varied use cases. The company’s bank-grade solutions use APIs and other flexible delivery models to help banks, financial institutions, merchants, networks, marketplaces, neo banks and other financial service providers to leverage their existing systems to generate new deposits, transaction streams and customer experiences. For more information, visit and


Juan Sanchez, 305-372-8695

View communication on business wire here.

As originally published on PYMNTS.

NovoPayment announced that it has scaled the deployment of Visa Direct to enable instant payments, P2P and P2M payments, account-to-account payments, fast funds and mass payouts, as well as the use of Visa Token Services.

The new offering will provide issuers, buyers and merchants faster time-to-market in the adoption of key Visa solutions via application programming interfaces (APIs). The move is part of Visa and NovoPayment’s partnership that aims to boost the adoption of digital payment solutions and create new commerce experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The new API delivery models enabled by NovoPayment provide Visa’s clients and partners another means of adopting key solutions and embedding them into new use cases,” Ruben Salazar, senior vice president of products and solutions at Visa Latin America and the Caribbean, said in a press release. “This is particularly important for the growth of Visa Direct in the region, which has the potential of truly transforming the way funds are transferred amongst consumers, businesses, and governments in Latin America,” he added.

As a leader in the area of banking as a service (BaaS) platforms, NovoPayment is extending Visa’s capabilities into emerging payments including digital account origination, super wallets, and instant and proximity payments through easily consumable APIs.

“Our ability to provide modular or full-stack capabilities, and the combination of our more than 100 APIs with others from Visa, streamlines the creation of new value chains, providing a better experience for issuers, acquirers and digital merchants,” said Anabel Perez, co-founder and CEO of NovoPayment, adding, “Digital payments via Visa Direct and Visa Tokenization Services is a major time-saver and critical component of providing the kinds of frictionless and secure payment alternatives that today’s consumer and commercial customers demand.”

In a recent interview with PYMNTS, Perez spoke about how tapping into the expanding world of API offerings and building new secure connections and value chains can improve the overall customer experience.

“An API can connect different processes to streamline the delivery of services and improve and elevate the customer experience,” Perez noted. And from that starting point, she added, FIs can start really leveraging their API building blocks to continually enhance that customer experience across their banking relationships.

As originally published on PYMNTS.

Here’s some bad but potentially motivating news about banks: So far, they are missing out on an emerging opportunity to get into the “super app” game, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest focuses of payments and retail innovation in the 2020s.

That was one of the main messages from a new PYMNTS discussion between Karen Webster and Anabel Perez, co-founder and CEO of NovoPayment. “From a financial services perspective, we haven’t seen a super app originate from a pure financial services provider and move to eCommerce,” Perez told Webster.

What is a “super app,” you might ask?

Simply put, it’s a mobile app designed to improve and ease payment and retail flows for consumers. Super apps create differentiated financial ecosystems in the back end (and front end), incorporating capabilities like an aggregation of multiple service providers, digital account origination, embedded KYC abilities and real-time payments (to name a few).

“Super apps are a great lens through which FinServs can see the broader state of collaboration and ecosystem building.”

Looking at the super app through that lens, Perez sees two types of opportunities for banks and FinServ providers: the retail or merchant aggregation side. Perez, who’s had first-hand experience with the Super App economy with what has been described as Latin America’s super app frontrunner, Rappi, believes that this is an opportunity for FIs — a rich vein of opportunity yet to be tapped.

Banks that step up to the plate, Perez said, have a chance through ecosystem collaboration and partnerships to generate a healthy deposit and transactional revenue growth.

App Friction

As Webster recently noted in a column about PYMNTS research into the subject, it can take consumers four different apps and four different interactions across their existing apps — and many minutes — to close the loop on that single flow.

Perhaps the best — and only —  examples of super apps (also called “everyday apps”) come from China’s payment and eCommerce apps ecosystems such as WeChat and Alipay. One might argue that PayPal has made a go of it in this space, but they are not a traditional financial services provider or bank, Perez noted. Amazon sure has a lot of tools and activities under its app umbrella, but an actual super app would include more than just the ability to order retail products from a seemingly endless array of sellers: A real super app would include other activities such as ride-hailing and financial account checkups, she noted.

Most of her conversation with Webster centered around the super app opportunity for banks. After all, as Webster pointed out, banks (at least in the U.S.) tend to be highly trusted by their customers, giving them a significant potential advantage when it comes to creating and deploying super apps. Not only that, but in developing markets, there is a relative lack of access to financial services, which can also create a super app opportunity for banks.

Perez contends that financial institutions that embark on the super app journey have an opportunity to clean up all the mobile clutter consumers face daily — clutter that creates friction. After all, banks occupy the sweet spot — the place where consumers put their money and the place from where they move it. Moreover, she contends, is the most logical starting point on the consumer’s path to purchase.

A recent PYMNTS study of 1,037 mobile-using consumers in the U.S. found that immediately after waking up each day, consumers access one of more than 44 apps across those different categories — from email to calendar to mobile banking, social media, shopping and messaging.

App Opportunity

However, do banks understand this opportunity?

“There are no technology barriers,” Perez said. “The main banks are already interconnected with other sectors.” That’s one key of these super apps, of course — digital connections with other apps and businesses are an essential part of consumers’ daily lives. The implication: if banks don’t take advantage of those connections, consumers will use other apps, and perhaps be attracted to another business’s super app, depending on circumstances.

In short, this is a time for banks to play offense instead of defense, at least when it comes to super apps, Perez said. Right now, banks are taking a somewhat passive approach in this area, which promises to become hotter as more consumers demand less friction in their daily lives. The risk, Perez says, is that such an approach will eventually render banks as utilities instead of institutions that take advantage of their strengths, connections and trust to build and deploy those apps that make retail and payments more seamless and less time-consuming.

“The [FIs] are giving white space to others to be the technology service providers in their (banks’) main activities.”

As originally published on Forbes.

According to KPMG, fintech has established itself as one of the fastest-growing sectors over the past decade, with global funding reaching $111.8 billion in 2018, up 120% over the prior year. And, as the sector grows, people are naturally finding fintech startups touching everyday life in more ways than realized.

Like hidden figures inside a picture, many of today’s fintech companies are tucked away and out of plain of sight, yet material parts of the larger portrait of present-day financial services. These organizations are helping transform once complicated and time-consuming routines to improve customer experiences, creating unprecedented network effects.

Meet The Fintech Enabler

Initially, fintech startups were largely seen as competition for traditional financial institutions and threats to their market share. However, in practice today, fintech companies are also a core force driving innovation deep within the financial industry, not just as head-on competitors, but as collaborators that enable others.

As it happens, collaboration between fintech providers, traditional financial players and other fintech companies is now the norm, a key catalyst of the financial and payment industries’ changing landscapes. Rather than neatly grouped, distinctive camps working against one another, what has developed is a far richer and more nuanced fabric.

More Interesting Than Many Realize

This development means that individuals and organizations are interacting with a lot more fintech providers on a day-to-day basis than they are probably aware of, and would have far different experiences were it not for the fintech enabler hidden deep in the background of the bigger picture.

To illustrate, here’s a look at some of the invisible players that work to enable other services consumers have grown accustomed to:

Apps: Do you know what goes great with online shopping from the comfort of your home? Having your dinner delivered and errands handled. Do you see Postmates bringing a meal to your neighbor’s doorstep? And look — there’s the TaskRabbit you ordered to assemble your new shelves arriving by Lyft. What do they all have in common? You guessed it. A common fintech enabler. All of these companies use Stripe to fuel an on-demand economy that’s delivering convenience.

Challenger banks: In the UK, where open banking laws have been in effect for a more than a year, challenger banks have found a natural fit partnering with fintech companies to address market segments considered underserved by larger traditional players. One such example is Starling Bank. The mobile digital bank was launched in 2014 and granted a banking license by the Bank of England in July 2016. Since then, it has created an extensive financial services app by partnering with fintech providers for personal finance capabilities (Yolt), payments (Tribe), loyalty and rewards (Yoyo), and wealth management (Moneybox), to name a few.

It’s In The Details

The truth is that most of the companies that rely on fintech collaborations and integrations do it for the simple fact that it allows them to focus on their strategy, which in turn helps their ability to scale — in some cases exponentially.

But, what are they doing exactly? Are they helping to create new digital accounts, assisting compliance or supporting the massive number of payments on-demand companies need to make? Yes, yes and yes. Today’s fintech companies are changing all manner of banking as a service, from account origination to how institutions handle know-your-customer requirements, secure transactions and mass payouts.

Achieving a better understanding of the spaces and roles occupied by today’s fintech enablers requires pausing and taking a closer look. It’s like approaching a painting to appreciate the techniques an artist used to achieve a particular effect. Yes, I just used art as a metaphor for today’s financial services. I guess the world is indeed full of surprises.

As originally published in PYMNTS.

A decade is a nice, round number — a convenient marker for what has come and what is coming. We as humans tend to measure our lives in decades, referring to ourselves as children of the ’60s, perhaps, or pining wistfully for the synthesized pop sounds of the ’80s.

In payments, 10 years is a long time — where everything can change, and where once fanciful notions can become ubiquitous new ways of transacting. That said, we are now at the six-month mark of 2019, and a new decade looms. Call it the sunsetting of the 2010s, an opportune time to preview everything from eCommerce to artificial intelligence (AI), from A to Z — here, we can term it APIs to Zelle.

To get a sense of the most significant seismic shifts that have pushed payments innovation inexorably ahead through the past 10 years, as well as what lies over the horizon, PYMNTS queried 29 C-level executives with a collective thumb on the pulse of innovation. Each of these men and women were asked to name the single, most important innovation that has had a ripple effect through the ecosystem. The answers were varied, spanning from blockchain to instant payouts.

The particular innovations spotlighted were varied as well, tied to, say, consumer-specific or B2B-specific cases. However, common threads that ran through the tapestry lie with technology’s transformation, marked by speed, intelligence and mobility.

It can be argued that the consumer experience has been leading by example through the past few years, giving merchants and financial institutions a roadmap of what to do and what not to do when it comes to satisfying demand and creating as frictionless a commerce experience as possible.

The flip phones of earlier in the millennium are, largely, a memory. Now, smartphones can help one shop whenever and wherever, transacting by tapping. Machine learning and AI can help merchants tailor relevant offers, real time and in context.

Technology has also proven invaluable in the ongoing fight against fraudsters, who are increasingly moving online, as consumers are doing the same. One laggard has been catching up a bit: B2B, where the paper chase is becoming a bit more streamlined and digital as transactions move across borders, currencies and time zones. No matter the application, risk analysis is crucial, especially in an age when know your customer (KYC) is as much a mandate as it is good business sense.

If there is one constant in innovation, especially payments innovation, it is that it’s constantly evolving. We may look back on the relative clunkiness of what went before and chuckle, and say it was “obvious” that we’d wind up where we are now, given the road we’ve traveled. Past is prologue, as they say, even if it is not a specific predictor. Hindsight may be 20/20, but it’s crucial as we get ready for 2020. Read on.

The Decade of the App

By Anabel Perez, CEO and Co-founder, NovoPayment

Reflecting on the previous decade in the payments space, it’s astounding to see how much we’ve been able to accomplish and innovate in only ten years. As end-users, we have much more control over our data, and how we share it to simplify our day-to-day lives. As merchants and retailers, we can accept payments and pay our employees easier than ever. And as financial institutions, we’re able to streamline processes, remove bottlenecks and facilitate payments in ways our predecessors would have never imagined. And none of this would have been made possible this decade, if it was not for the rise of the smartphone and mobile apps.

There’s an App for That™

At the very top of this decade, Apple secured a trademark for their buzz-worthy phrase, “There’s an app for that,” (originally used in a commercial for their smartphone), and today, with 3.9 million apps available for download between Apple and Android’s app stores, the phrase has never rung more true.

The mobile app world has in fact become an entire ecosystem, supporting billions of smartphone users, millions of developers, and a laundry list of businesses (both big and small). And while this advent brings unprecedented information, entertainment and simplicity to each users’ fingertips, the infrastructure in place has also allowed us to take payments wherever issuers’, acquirers’ and merchants’ dreams (and phones) may bring them.

Some key examples of how the smartphone changed the way we think about payments:

Decade of the App? Meet the Decade of APIs.

While apps and the smartphone have certainly introduced society to new possibilities for payments, what has propelled the industry to new heights and vistas, and will continue to do so? APIs.

About half way through this last decade, we witnessed companies like Airbnb and Uber focusing on improving daily user experiences and services on the front-end, while relying on APIs to address the payments required to facilitate these experiences in the back-end. This collaboration was able to support these companies’ wide-scale growth and adoption without limiting the organizations to the traditional frictions associated with account creation, payment facilitation, accounts payable, etc. It’s a model that’s been able to be replicated and introduced possibility worldwide, for incumbent FIs, new kids on the block, and collaboration for all parties in between.

The power of APIs is the ability to provide greater business agility, facilitate innovation regardless of legacy software compatibility or tech silos, and offer deeper and more meaningful value than superficial innovation on the front-end. The middleware and orchestration that APIs offer today’s companies, allow for digital transformation for payments that will continue to improve user-experience in all types of value chains. And I’m excited to see what new directions the industry moves in.

As originally published in PYMNTS.

It’s not just technology that moves the world. Culture plays a huge role — as well as the sparks that often come from the tension when cultures clash. That promises to be the case going forward with Open Banking, as financial institutions (FIs) pick partners and proof of concepts.

Open Banking is a global effort that resets the relationships FIs have with FinTech firms, payment providers and financial service providers. To better understand the evolving landscape, PYMNTS caught up with Anabel Pérez, CEO and president of NovoPayment.

“For us,” Pérez told Karen Webster, “Open Banking means collaboration between different parties.”

Like any global, ongoing change (especially one that involves major economic players, and promises to alter the daily financial lives of consumers), Open Banking can still cause confusion and anxiety.

Open Banking Promise

The promise of Open Banking seems clear enough. Individual consumers will have greater control over how and where their financial and banking data is used, by whom and when. New technology — and partnerships based on that technology and data — will spark innovation in financial and payment services.

Open Banking, which launched in the U.K., depends on open application programming interfaces (APIs), which allow trusted third-party developers to build services for FIs. The APIs are used to share bank data among various financial industry players, and should, ultimately, spur competition and new product development that benefits the end user.

That’s where the culture clash can come in. Traditional FIs — the long-standing custodians of their customers’ funds — are to work with startups and other companies to develop these new products, and otherwise satisfy the desires of consumers who have grown accustomed to using mobile and online technologies to access, move and manage their money.

Banks need to play their part in “building new value” for consumers and FI clients, Pérez told Webster during the PYMNTS discussion. That means collaboration — lots and lots of collaboration. A collaborative relationship under Open Banking, she said, might include, say, a retailer, a bank and an insurance company, all of them providing a kind of cross-discipline value to consumers that will make for more efficient commerce, payments, disbursements or other transactions.

Role Of APIs

The facilitator of that new value, she noted (the matchmaker, perhaps), is the API. Under Open Banking, the APIs help with the job of essentially aggregating and creating new services.

However, with traditional FIs being traditional FIs (long-standing businesses that have very specific jobs, and have worked over years to win customer trust and loyalty), there is a legitimate concern on their part about so much data sharing — and, potentially, about consumers. Not only that, she said, “but some banks don’t seem to clearly understand what they are trying to do.” To drive home that point, she compared some banks to an ostrich with its head in the sand, avoiding action.

Resistance to Open Banking, at least in her view, is coming from a variety of places, including the U.S. “The decision process could be faster,” she said, underscoring how Open Banking is also about making choices — such as what innovations to pursue, what partners to seek out and accommodate, and what technologies to focus on.

Despite the Open Banking anniversary, and the progress made so far in Europe, “decision-makers in many banks are really uninformed about it,” Pérez said. “Banks forgot the agenda of going global, and are now having to rethink that agenda because they can create” innovative, consistent products and services across markets via APIs.

Ahead Of The Curve

Not all players in financial services and payments are so reluctant about Open Banking, though, she said. The big, global payment card networks seem to be keeping up.

Indeed, earlier this week (June 4), Mastercard launched its latest initiative centered around the changes, a program called Open Banking Solutions. The new Mastercard offering is designed to support Open Banking efforts in four areas: connectivity, security and compliance, dispute resolution and consulting services. The service is, for now, focused on the U.K. and Poland (underscoring how Europe and its regulators led the push for Open Banking, and the associated PSD2 regulatory regime).

In addition, according to Pérez, Latin American banks seem to be relatively ahead of the game when it comes to Open Banking. “Maybe that’s because of the influence of Spanish banks there,” she told Webster.

Yet, what Pérez doesn’t see yet when it comes to Open Banking — at least, in general — is “clarification of the concept” among stakeholders, which can influence how regulators treat this emerging space of payments and financial services innovation. That clarification will have to come, in large part, via consumer buy-in to the concept, which depends on innovation products and services, and making that happen will require the sharing of relevant data.

For all this to occur, banks must assess this new world — the new relationships, and the new culture of innovation under Open Banking — and, basically, loosen up. That seems a big part of it, at least in hearing Pérez talk about the Open Banking landscape. After all, the promise is not only new products and services, but the ability for consumers to “immediately connect” with all their financial and payment services, with much less friction than is the case now.

As originally published on PYMNTS.

A customer looking to open a new bank account is often in for a somewhat bumpy process. There are a lot of redundant forms and, in some cases, a few venue changes. For example, the process might start online, but then the customer is forced to visit a physical branch to verify their identity. It’s an omnichannel experience of sorts, and not the good kind – more of a funhouse mirror version, where the customer is forced between channels, instead of flowing between them by choice.

Onboarding on the whole, as most consumers experience it, is a cumbersome process that turns consumers off, NovoPayment CEO Anabel Perez told PYMNTS in a recent conversation – but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.

“Customer acquisition is a great example of a case where any FI can overcome the relevant challenges,” she said.

The key, Perez noted, is tapping into the expanding world of API offerings and building new secure connections and value chains. Processes that today are friction-filled and full of uneven handoffs between digital and physical channels, she noted, can be streamlined, digitized and smoothed into something that stops taking away from the customer experience and starts actively adding to it.

“An API can connect different processes to streamline the delivery of services and improve and elevate the customer experience,” Perez noted. And from that starting point, she added, FIs can start really leveraging their API building blocks to continually enhance that customer experience across their banking relationships.

Onboarding as a Competitive Advantage

An API-based onboarding eliminates a bad experience for both the customer and the FI. Previously, the consumer was more likely to be trapped in something tedious and rigid, while the bank was stuck with a high-cost process that earned them more irritation from their customers than anything else. The API-based streamlined process essentially puts channel control back in the consumers’ hands, while offering up more automated options. Instead of a physical appearance at the branch, for example, an API can capture and verify information like phone data or scan a “selfie shot” as a method of authenticating consumers – no physical appearance is required, but their identity is still securely confirmed.

“That gives the bank an increased ability to retain that customer,” Perez told PYMNTS, noting that smooth, streamlined processes tend to be sticky for customers. Moreover, she noted, that better experience is actually more secure, because in building an online onboarding experience, the FI is forced to create an automated and fully documented AML/KYC process.

“Because there is no way to get outside the process, there is no way to skip or miss a step,” she pointed out. “In using APIs to automate the process of creating a new customer, all the norms and procedures can be executed in regard to ‘know your customer’ and in the prevention of money laundering. It also creates the records in real time that those processes were managed.”

Moreover, Perez noted, apart from being safer and more secure, API-enhanced onboarding also serves as a starting point for deeper and greater engagement with customers once that new account has been created.

“This is also a place to gather important information that may help you to immediately and contextually offer additional products to cross-sell,” she said. “That helps our client banks engage their customers and significantly reduce their cost of sale.”

Doing More

Embracing APIs for onboarding or otherwise isn’t always an easy decision from an organizational perspective, Perez noted. It requires a deliberate, organized effort on the part of the bank to provide the conditions for success – and that effort has to come from the top of the organization, and be pushed hard and consistently by “internal champions.”

As Perez pointed out, most FIs are not of sufficient size and scale to do this all on their own, so will need to forge partnerships with trusted, third-party technology operators and develop a clear vision of their goals. Getting that much internal and external support isn’t a small effort.

The good news, she said, is that in many ways, the operational challenges outstrip the technological ones. What can be done via API to streamline and strengthen the customer journey – for onboarding and beyond – is much larger than what is being done.

For most FIs, the main challenge right now is finding the first step – taking on that first consumer issue, like onboarding, and putting the API building blocks, necessary middleware and orchestration in place to address it. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, Perez said – which means they need to start with a customer’s problem or project, and then solve it.

“They need to get a quick win and learn from it – and learn to build on that,” she said.

From those starting points, FIs can start taking those API building blocks they put in place for one solution, and start building the infrastructure, or utilizing Banking-as-a-Service platforms to solve a range of pain points within their consumer relationships, without having to overhaul their legacy systems or break the bank.

As originally published on PYMNTS.

One decade draws to a close, the next one looms. Only a few months into 2019, the year is already shaping up to offer a bit of a watershed in how we pay and how we get paid.

The headlines may trumpet the size of multi-billion dollar deals, as Fiserv links with First Data, and FIS gathers Worldpay into its fold.

As the 2010s roll off into the 2020s, the fact remains that technology is blurring the lines that used to exist before the (continuing) digitization of commerce. Along with this trend, as transactions between firms, between people and all the permutations thereof span currencies and timezones, a few guideposts stand out: Everyone wants more speed, better data, mobile movement of money and, of course, security is paramount.

PYMNTS queried nearly two dozen C-level executives from companies at the forefront and intersection of technology and innovation. Here, you will find insight into what’s next, but also what we need to leave behind. The password is passé, the machines are learning, the data is big and getting bigger. Above all else, said several respondents, trust matters more than ever.

How to get there remains a matter of debate, and is a driving force behind innovation. Some of the executives we spoke with pointed to new ways to establish digital identity as among the biggest innovations on the horizon worth pursuing, perhaps through the use of distributed ledgers or biometrics. Others said the digitization of commerce, with an attendant move toward omnichannel, will drive change in the decade ahead.

As always, in payments, the one real constant is change. Read on to see what’s top of mind as we go “out with the old and in with the new.”

As originally published in Forbes.

While the word “FinTech” may often be on many people’s lips and minds these days, the truth is there’s still a bit of uncertainty and ambiguity about the different types of players, and even what constitutes a FinTech company. Part of the problem is a tendency among many of us to want to see things in binary and mutually exclusive terms. Head-to-head competitors. Winners and losers. It’s done this way or that way.

With that in mind, I’ve set out to describe what I, and others in the industry, widely consider the principal types of FinTech companies and how they interact.

What Makes A FinTech Company?

Financial technology, as the word derives from, often brings to mind images of young startups providing financial services directly to customers, usually with a greater degree of convenience. One typically imagines them as agile disruptors in direct competition with slower incumbents.

In reality, many incumbents today are themselves innovating with the help of FinTech companies that work behind the scenes via application programming interfaces, banking-as-a-service (BaaS) and other delivery models, enabling all manner of institutions and even peers, to remove frictions and provide opportunities that may be just beyond their technical and geographic reach.

Technology Or Services?

Herein comes the first and most important distinction we can make: Do FinTech companies provide technology, or do they provide financial services to an end user? This is becoming a hotly debated issue, but one that, at least in my mind, is fairly straightforward. Both are FinTech. The difference is that some enable financial services through digital platforms and others employ those technologies to offer services in a more direct fashion to a final customer.

The fact that a technology provider may deliver its product under a service model does not mean it’s providing financial services. For example, Plaid is a technology provider, and Venmo is a services company. The latter, as it happens, uses technology from the former to verify bank accounts.

The Many Faces Of FinTech

Indeed, the rise of FinTech companies has created new business models, applications, processes and products across many categories. Let’s take a closer look and try to illuminate some of these in the context of practical activities.

• Banking

This is perhaps the most misunderstood area of FinTech, and it’s no surprise. That’s because the term banking itself conjures up a range of activities in people’s minds and is something that in most countries only a highly regulated and licensed entity (i.e., a traditional bank) can actually do.

For this reason, I would argue that there are few pure banking FinTech companies. Instead, there are various organizations participating in different parts of the banking value chain (e.g., streamlining the opening of accounts and getting money from pocket A to pocket B). Implicit in this concept, and a fact often lost among many observers, is the participation of a licensed entity somewhere along the chain.

The exception to this rule, and a very important one, is hybrids. These are technology companies that actually own and operate a banking entity, like GreenDot in the United States and Germany’s solarisBank. They are the most uncommon species of FinTech and for good reason: Few technology companies have the fortitude to operate a bank or a business model to justify one. What the majority of FinTech companies do is enable banking-like activities either directly or indirectly with banks.

• Lending

Digital lending is another category in the FinTech space that’s bringing customers greater convenience and choice. Loan origination software today allows companies and customers to apply for and receive personal, car, mortgage or commercial loans without entering a bank or credit union. Here, too, due to regulatory frameworks regarding the kinds of entities permitted under law to issue and hold loans, FinTech companies typically work as part of a value chain where they can be disruptive. For example, they can act as faster brokers and deliverers of loaned monies.

• Insurance

Another area is insurance. Today’s InsureTech companies often rely on data science, such as sensors or wearables, to offer customized personal, home, car and life insurance using artificial intelligence (AI). They also use the internet of things (IoT) and real-time information gathering to identify and control risks, while also offering dynamic solutions and pricing based on unprecedented access to data.

• Personal Finance And Investing

There is also a category of FinTech focused on helping consumers make better decisions for their personal finances. This often includes comparative tools to select their next credit card, loan or insurance. In this space, there are also tools that help individuals manage their personal investments portfolio with automated investment recommendations or robo-investing.

• Payments

One of the most popular FinTech segments is payments. This branch allows people to send money to one another without necessarily using traditional bank channels and make instant payments to one another, employees and vendors. This technology also enables companies to rapidly scale business operations without the need for traditional payment infrastructures. Consider Uber, Lyft and Instacart — all are able to operate digital payments for payroll and procurement, eliminating the time lag as the money moves from consumer to business to employee and so on.

• Others

FinTech companies participate in some form or another in just about every category within the financial services sector. Even beyond the list above, you can find FinTechs within cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and even crowdfunding and taxes. This list is as diverse as financial services themselves.

Some of the misunderstandings about FinTech has to do with the sheer breadth of the category, for sure, but probably more to do with the fact that few organizations publicly disclose and explain the complex cooperation that is actually taking place behind the scenes, instead simply referring to “ecosystems” and different participants. The truth is that we’re living in a much more interesting and collaborative world than we ever could have imagined. FinTech companies are no exception and operate squarely in that world.

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