How Open Banking leads digitalisation - interview with Worldline

Wednesday 21 October 2020 11:26 CET | Editor: Vlad Macovei | Interview

Mathieu Barthelemy and Tom Wijnen from Worldline talk about the position of Open Banking at the centre of digitalisation and what we can learn from companies’ relevant use cases

In what way can we consider Open Banking at the heart of digital transformation and how did the pandemic accelerate this movement?

Tom Wijnen (TW): Digital transformation and Open Banking are both happening now. Technology coupled with regulation aiming at boosting competition and innovation (PSD2), the customers’ needs and expectations, the current pandemics have increased the importance of digital transformation in the financial sector and forced banks to open up.

There is an increasing competition between fintechs, big techs, and often many of these competitors are not from the banking industry, but more from the lifestyle industry. These know how to connect with a customer, to create an outstanding user experience (UX). As such, the financial industry, in general, and banks, in particular, have been forced to match these seamless UXs, and embrace Open Banking and digital transformation to build digital capabilities. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered even more the need for digital services. Because many countries have imposed strict lockdowns and physical services were restricted, we noticed an increase in the usage of digital services, a discovery or rediscovery of local consumption, and a renewed interest in the climate challenge for end consumers. For businesses, it has been vital to follow and optimise their liquidities and to propose their services on digital channels, to meet customer’s new needs/expectations. 

In this context of digital transformation, Open Banking is key to combine data and services provided by a wide ecosystem of actors which will be the fuel of the future digital experiences.

How can banks and their partners work together to provide the best solutions to the customer? How is Worldline shaping these partnerships?

TW: In this new (digital and cashless) payments ecosystem, partnerships are very important. This ecosystem is built upon multiple providers working together, each from its own position, its own strengths, and together, we can provide best in class end to end services to the customers. At Worldline we build this ecosystem via a partnering program where we identify the partner, we select them and, in the end, incorporate their services into our value propositions.

Still, every partnership is different, as partners might have different strengths, scope, target different client segments, etc. This is one thing we learned over the last years, but also during the e-Payments Challenge, a digital event organised by Worldline, which is a concrete example of how we invest in building these partnerships. In this event, dedicated to payments and innovations that are set to shape the e-payments ecosystem, we asked our clients to come up with a challenge and we asked fintechs to provide a solution for that. We had over 34 fintechs covering 16 challenges from clients, all organised with the purpose to stimulate innovation, start partnerships, and enable fintechs to cooperate and work on real client cases.

Mathieu Barthelemy (MB): In addition to these initiatives, we are already partners with several startup hubs within Europe, such as TechQuartier in Germany, H7 in France.

What are some Open Banking-enabled use cases for corporates and the retail market?

TW: If you look at the Open Banking, the Payment Initiation Services and Account Information Services are only the foundation (you can initiate an account-based payment and/or retrieve account information). In the retail markets the obvious use case is the Personal Finance Management (PFM), that gives the consumer a way to manage their finances, and BFM for business finance. But these propositions are not so new. We have mentioned previously that the optimisation of liquidities is a strong challenge for businesses. Hence, we really foresee strong interest in the development of ‘augmented’ cash management tools combining data analysis with payment means such as: split payment, Buy Now Pay Later features, or Request to Pay.

In the retail market the account-based payment can challenge the card payment both online as well as in-store. First preliminary indications show that up to 20% of the volume will move towards an account-based payment. And this account-based payment can be combined with a loyalty program provided by the retailer.

If you combine financial data with a more societal topic such as Green Banking, you can create increased awareness of environmental issues covered by a service, where based on your account data you can understand what your carbon footprint is and how much you are spending on, within your purchases. 

MB: Measuring your carbon footprint is a first step, and doing so it is not just a buzz word, as humanity needs to act in environmental matters to reduce their carbon footprint and switch to cleaner energy resources; as such, there is a lot to do in the financial markets to support this transition. If you are looking at the worldwide numbers to finance this energy transition, which is key for everyone, we are speaking about more than EUR 90,000 billion.

Therefore, we absolutely need the financial system and the banks to be involved in this transition, create awareness around investing in socially responsible investment products, such as green bonds for instance. 

What where the challenges in delivering these use cases?

TW: When we started implementing Open Banking (especially PSD2) we discovered there were a lot of banks or clients that we talked to that could not make the link between the concept itself and their daily business. Providing meaning and value behind Open Banking convinced us to work on these use cases.

Instead of saying to our customers that ‘we can help you reach every bank in Europe’, we let them know that we can give their client an overview of all its financial services and do an analysis on it (exactly state when he needs a loan or when he has a surplus on his account, and he needs some advice on that). Also, if you dig deeper in these use cases, you will see that the clients will have different needs. You can have people that find it good enough to just give them an overview of their financial situation, or others that really want to have financial advice, or even have their carbon footprint measured. 

MB: It`s very important to be selective in choosing the right technology partners. When we search for different partners, we analyse if they meet our needs, which are reflected in the different use cases. Moreover, you have to build up a whole ecosystem of partners, as you need one partner for one use case and another for another one. 

About Tom Wijnen 

Tom Wijnen is a Product Marketing Manager with extensive experience in the payment industry. Currently he is responsible for the Open Banking Services portfolio within equensWorldline.

About Mathieu Barthelemy

Mathieu works as a Product Manager on the solution designed to support Worldline’s customers in their Open Banking strategy.

About Worldline

Capitalising on a strong PSD2 expertise, Worldline can support banks to explore their envisioned Open Banking strategy and support companies to capture the opportunity Open Banking brings them. For this Worldline provides a comprehensive Open Banking portfolio based on modern, scalable, flexible and safe solutions derived from years of experience in the financial industry. Together with a community of partners we have built strong value propositions to cover different use cases.


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Keywords: Worldline, Open Banking, online banking, mobile banking, digitalisation, PSD2, UX, user experience, Europe
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Countries: Europe
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech