Key insights in the way people pay in a post-COVID-19 world

Friday 2 October 2020 09:20 CET | Editor: Raluca Constantinescu | Interview

We interviewed Guido Vermeent and Stijn Van Brussel, Payconiq CEO and COO respectively, to discuss the 'irreversible’ changes that consumers and merchants experience during the pandemic

With the use of cash dropping due to the COVID-19 pandemic, how have payment habits changed?

Guido Vermeent (GV): Payment trends are strongly connected to the shopping experience our consumers are after. There was a significant push towards digital, as more people relied on e/mcommerce channels during lockdown. These new behaviours they’ve developed during the pandemic are irreversible. They will keep using ecommerce for more of their small and regular transactions, which are simpler when coupled with mobile payment solutions.

Stijn Van Brussel (SVB): Many consumers have started looking for alternatives to both cash and card payments out of personal health concerns. They found that mobile payment solutions with strong customer authentication and biometric confirmation of payment offer a safe, yet smooth experience. What we’ve also seen in the Benelux area was an unexpected increase in money transfers to family and friends during the lockdown. Although our consumers had no more restaurant bills to split, they’ve started leveraging our mobile payment solution in paying back neighbours for groceries and sending money to loved ones in need.

GV: The demand for digital services will not slow in a post-COVID-19 world – on the contrary. Consumers expect even more value-added services, innovation, security, and control in the way they pay.

How does Payconiq support consumers and merchants and add extra value for them in this competitive market?

GV: The beauty of our QR code-based payment app is that it’s available to everyone who has a smartphone and a bank account. It’s simple, convenient, and secure. Moreover, because many consumers are reluctant on downloading and using payment apps, we even went a step further and made Payconiq directly available in several mobile banking apps.

We are already in the KBC and ING banking apps in Belgium, soon we’ll launch ING and Rabobank in the Netherlands, and we have similar projects for Luxembourg as well. It’s also part of our mission to help the banks stay relevant in the payments sector.

SVB: When it comes to merchants, especially with the shift towards ecommerce, we help build smooth and convenient shopping experiences across all channels (in-store, online, or on invoice). We have recently concluded several partnerships with large European payment service providers who will connect us to their retailer network, for a maximum coverage in the Benelux area.

GV: Indeed, because another element that consumers are increasingly demanding is inter-operability between platforms and mobile payment systems – and this is what we’re doing in the Benelux area, through our own apps or partnerships based on APIs. We have built a strong payment platform that could connect the dots for the fragmented European market.

Which are the main barriers when it comes to mobile payments expansion in Europe?

GV: Consumer behaviour and local habits vary across countries and even within a country sometimes. Some markets fully embrace technology, others are more conservative and cash loving. We have countries that have been building their own national payment methods, others that are completely dependent on cards providers. Consumer and merchant adoption are closely linked, and they equally influence the success of a payment method.

SVB: In Europe we have a long history of using cards. Contactless cards offer an excellent in-store user experience. Of course, with the self-checkout, grab-and-go use cases and retailers increasingly converging their online and in-store offerings through mobile apps, this will change, and people will start seeing the true benefits of using mobile payments. 

With the wave of digitalisation currently sweeping through so many industries, what are your predictions for 2020-2021 when it comes to the mobile payments space?

SVB: From what we see, it will be the year of QR codes and their wide adoption not just for payments, but for many more uses. We already see restaurants, for example, in Belgium and the Netherlands, that minimise human contact with their clients by sticking QR codes on the tables. The client scans the QR code to check the menu, then place the order and, at the end, pay the bill. With these evolutions Europe follows in the footsteps of Asia, where this is already commonplace.

GV: My expectation is to see the payment experience more integrated in the customer purchasing journey – maybe even becoming invisible.

This interview was published in our Payment Methods Report 2020, an extensive overview of what’s new in how people pay in the most relevant ecommerce markets.

About Guido Vermeent

Guido Vermeent became CEO of Payconiq International in July 2020. He has over 10 years of experience, leading the digitalisation of the banking and telecom payment industries.

About Stijn Van Brussel

Stijn van Brussel became COO in June 2020. Stijn has over 10 years of experience in product and project management, operations management, business development, strategy, and leadership in the financial services sector.

About Payconiq

With the support of major European banks, Payconiq streamlines mobile payments through an open-API approach and omnichannel solutions. Today 75,000 merchants trust our secure, plug-and-play payment platform. Over 1.5 milion consumers use our apps for peer-to-peer, invoice, in-store, or online payments. Integrations in bank apps and partnerships with international acquirers give Payconiq access to an even larger customer base.

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Keywords: Guido Vermeent, Stijn Van Brussel, Payconiq, merchants, COVID-19, mobile payment, QR code, ecommerce, mcommerce, Europe
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: Europe
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce