Last week at the CBI offices, the Payments & Cashflow Toolkit, created with Bain & Company, was formally unveiled. During this, the CBI facilitated a forum and networking opportunity for those across the fintech ecosystem. A panel of payments & cashflow experts from Plend, GoCardless, Lopay, and Bain & Company raised the issues they are both having and hearing. Each expert could be seen as representing a different cog in a payments machine and so the discussion was a lively one, followed by a Q&A with the audience.
What’s the point of the Payments & Cashflow Toolkit?
CBI and Bain & Co’s toolkit is the first in a series of three and is part of the CBI’s Winning with Fintech campaign, which endeavours to get more businesses using financial technology (fintech) solutions. This first toolkit raises awareness of the less-known benefits of leveraging fintech-enabled payments, and arms businesses and fintechs with practicable insights and takeaways to inform or supplement their payments and cashflow goals. Its launch could not be more relevant in the current climate of large cost and little room for error where capital is concerned. Finding and implementing better payments processes should not be daunting for business, and payments facilitators large and small are responsible for ensuring processes are made as simple and accessible as possible.
Key learnings and takeaways from our panel and discussions:
- Large, incumbent banks are themselves conflicted on the best approach to enabling payments: Do they go B2B, B2C, disengage entirely? We do and will continue to see instances of both a competitive and a cooperative landscape for payments in fintech because it is still being shaped.
- Some banks are more open than others to fruitful fintech partnerships in order to get the best outcome for their consumers—it is important to find and collaborate with the ones that do have the will to speculate long-term revenue and realistic, sustainable financing. Banks need to realise they can’t afford to do all that’s required for modern solutions.
- Fintechs and payments organisations need be able to explain exactly what gap they will be plugging in larger institutions’ portfolio of financial services, ideally by injecting some speed and flexibility into a flow or product.
- Fintechs need a good value proposition and then some. Further value-add around that main proposition should bolster it in a way that differentiates and brings the gift of convenience to customers. An example of this in practice might be innovatively using data from a bank account to autocomplete certain forms for the account holder, providing a slicker consumer experience that’s less prone to error and delay.
- The connectivity and reliability of products in the alternative fintech space is a common complaint from customers, but scalable solutions to these problems do exist and should be explored by providers and platforms so that quality does not suffer.
- Businesses are thinking about what their customers need, even when they seek solutions for their own internal challenges around finance. In place of technical fintech jargon, fintechs could use more end-client-friendly language, or more simply break down the benefits associated with their solution.
- Losing time and money to failed payments is no minor setback for an SME – transparency of where their funds go to and when is key to allaying their fears of losing out.
- Getting customers on board means being trusted and well rated. Going out through industry boards and external sites such as Trustpilot, etc, is vital to gaining that recognition amongst prospective clients.
- This partnered toolkit itself is an example of the absolute necessity of a partnerships and ecosystem model for successful payments that drive efficiency and improve customer experience – just as this toolkit could not have been developed without Bain & Co, the use cases it features could not have been developed without businesses partnering to achieve them.
Unlocking payments and cashflow is just one of several spheres broached by fintech to help businesses. Look out for the next toolkit in the series, for which we have partnered with Finastra to look at how fintech is supporting businesses’ international expansion ambitions.