Small wonder that cross-border payments continue to be targeted by new market entrants – a wide range of new fintechs are emerging to address speed constraints, opaque fee structures, and clunky user interfaces. Some are also bringing artificial intelligence and data analytics to bear on transaction data, providing insight into income and spending trends.
Incumbents, galvanised by increased competition in retail and small business segments, are also pushing forward in this space. Large network operators like MasterCard Vocalink and Visa are modernising their infrastructure to process a wider range of payments. SWIFT, the world’s preeminent financial messaging system operator, is quickly transforming itself into a comprehensive transaction management service. For their part, financial institutions like NatWest are partnering with SWIFT on platforms like SWIFT gpi and SWIFT Go to help offer customers a smoother, faster, more transparent payments experience.
Fintechs still haven’t quite gained traction among large companies, where treasurers still seem to prefer traditional banking partners. But they have influenced banks and other financial institutions to borrow from the underlying principles powering fintech’s competitiveness in retail and small business segments: relentless customer centricity. Companies that can bring the kinds of seamless user journeys fintechs are known for providing, along with the scale, stability, and sophistication needed to navigate a complex regulatory environment, will ultimately win out in the cross-border payments space.