Ralph Dangelmaier is CEO of BlueSnap, a global payment technology company. Views are the author's own.
A few key themes emerged in conversations, on panels and at events throughout the fall conference season that could shine a light on what lay ahead in the payments space. Here are four top takeaways:
Merchants need help keeping up with payment innovation. Merchants that aspire to have a global presence like e-commerce giants Amazon, Alibaba and Walmart must continually evolve their payment capabilities over time like a product. That means working with a payment provider that can help them offer multiple currencies and payment types as they become available.
A panel discussion at Money20/20 featuring executives from Square, PayPal and Citibank said it best: The more methods you accept, the more access you have to customers around the globe.
Cross-border payment friction can slow growth. This can’t be overstated; at a time when 63% of U.S. retailers have international customers and 42% of U.S. customers are shopping overseas, merchants, businesses and independent software vendors (ISVs) must work together to accept the broadest possible range of payment options.
A Money20/20 panel on the future of merchant payments led by representatives from Walmart, The Home Depot and Discover highlighted the importance of a digital-first approach. Additionally, a session led by David Messenger, the CEO of Lianlian Pay Global, tapped into the importance of localization. In the U.S., it’s easy to forget that while Visa and Mastercard are accepted globally, they aren’t the most prominent payment players in many parts of the world. In China, for example, Alipay, UnionPay and Tenpay are market leaders.
Save money by processing payments where it makes sense. Many merchants, businesses and ISVs are unaware they can mitigate or even circumvent interchange fees, particularly in categories where international customers are essential, such as e-commerce, software and B2B services.
To start, they should look into payment routing, a specialized payments capability that provides a single connection to any number of global banks. Unlike in the past, when retailers had to acquire a merchant account in each country or region through a single connection and account, intelligent routing sends the purchase to the local bank where the transaction has the highest chance of being approved at the lowest cost. This prevents merchants from having to erode their margins or raise their prices, driving away international customers.
Stay informed to stay competitive. Payments are a product in themselves and require ongoing investment. If a merchant, business or ISV doesn’t have the internal resources or staff to keep their payment options up to date, they should seek out a partner who can.
Keeping these tips top of mind may help companies across the payments spectrum stay on a course for success in 2020.