Interview with Dominique Adriansens, founder & managing director of Twikey, about the future of (European) payments, the world beyond SEPA and the new opportunities of the European payments landscape.
Beyond SEPA: have organizations still problems, and what are the differences for retail organizations?
Most organizations did only an upgrade of SEPA formats. For direct debits in some countries the processes had to be adapted also. In most of the cases this fine-tuning is finished now and organizations are starting to discover the consequences of these changes. They also start discovering what goes wrong and how this influences the day-to-day management. The follow-up of non-execution of direct debits takes more time and is certainly an attention point. Organizations struggle with the different types of feedback they can receive from a bank and not all banks are giving the same type of feedback back to companies.
SEPA: What lessons can be learned
One the most important objectives of SEPA was to have one common way of dialogue between an organization and its bank. This is however a difficult task as in a lot of countries, there are exceptions but also different versions of the same format used. For international companies this adds an extra burden and makes it more difficult to switch between banks.
Europe had a lot of different payment modes. They are now eliminated one by one but in some countries there is still some effort needed.
Sepa Direct Debits deserve a special attention point as some countries or some banks don’t accept Sepa Directs Debits from other countries.
What, in your opinion, are the new opportunities of the European payments landscape beyond SEPA?
One of the major opportunities is that companies should now be able to efficiently organize their bank connections country independent. This will impact the bank relationships more: the service a bank offers and the cost of service will have its consequences for banks.
On the more long term the PSD2 will have its additional impact as it forces banks to streamline their processes more reducing further the costs of transactions.
More and more banks will be forced to work with partners which can handle a part of the service offering they want to offer and this will be to the benefit of organizations.
How can we encourage further integration of the European payments sector?
Europe will continue to give guidelines on how the payment flows can be further optimized. It is in the interest of all parties that these evolutions are standardized as much as possible so that the competion will lead to improved, more efficient products and services.
What are the next steps for the corporates?
The next steps are: further evaluate the way payment processes can be made more efficiently. Fine-tune the processes and see where time gain can be booked like for instance in the sepa direct debit mandate flows where mandates can also be negotiated online instead of using paper.