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What do you do when 900 startups are targeting your service?

Divina Paredes | June 12, 2015
Finance executives talk about how to remain relevant as customers have more choices with mobile money and digital payments.


Caroline Ada, country manager for Visa, describes the ongoing disruption in the payments industry this way: "There were 900 payment startups last year. It is a fast paced and rapidly evolving category.

"The majority of solutions are there to remove the friction from everyday life, which is buying stuff," she says.

Nowadays, there are so many ways to make payments than just the usual card transaction, Ada says.

"It is not just presenting your card or inserting it anymore. It is tapping it, using your phone to buy, click and collect."

"As an organisation, we have to accept we are not going to have all the answers," she says.

"Our role is to create an environment or ecosystem for any party to innovate with us," says Ada, who spoke at a forum on 'Payments Evolution' by the Trans-Tasman Business Circle.

Her co-panellists were Rob Ellis, chief executive, Semble; David Bullock, director for products and technology, BNZ; and John Scott, managing director, Bartercard New Zealand.

Panellists at the Payments Evolution Forum (from left): John Scott, managing director, Bartercard NZ; David Bullock, director for products and technology, BNZ ; Caroline Ada, country manager, Visa; and Rob Ellis, CEO, Semble

Removing friction
Ada says some of the things Visa is working on are around data APIs.

She likens this to what Uber does with Google Maps. "It takes the Google Map API and adds a whole lot of funky stuff in front of it."

An Uber user, for instance, can see where the car is and how far it is from his or her house.

Ada says consumers are hunting out new technologies that remove friction from their experiences, and Uber is an example of this.

"You don't have to present your card, you get an emailed receipt, you know who your driver is. That is a fantastic solution developed by a startup. It removes friction from using a taxi.

"A lot of what Visa is doing is opening up the edges of our network so that players and startups and everyone in the ecosystem can co-develop with us."

This will lead Visa to launch market leading solutions whether for risk management, anti-fraud or loyalty solutions for their cards, she says.

Ada says that is the future, and this is exemplified by Semble.

Semble was launched in March 2015 as New Zealand's first mobile wallet, and is a collaboration among two banks (ASB and Bank of New Zealand), three mobile network (Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees and payments network Paymark

Co-opetition and collaboration

It is "co-opetition or collaboration", she states. "I don't think as organisations we can continue to operate behind a 40 foot wall.


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