65 percent of banks struggle with payment profitability - research

Tuesday 17 September 2019 11:46 CET | News

New global survey has revealed that 65 % of banks struggle with payment profitability.

Aite Group, a global research and advisory company in financial services, has launched a new report “The Payments Transformation Race: Criteria for Success”, commissioned by Icon Solutions, an independent payment and specialist technology provider serving global financial institutions.

Based on a global survey of senior executives at banks, it reveals that high costs, low margins and increasingly commoditised business models are eroding payment profits, resulting in some services failing to break even.

On the upside, it shows a clear link between payment transformation priority and profit, with those banks committed to investment demonstrating higher margins and more positive returns. To help banks ensure their payment transformation strategies are on the right track, the report also provides a practical ‘scorecard’ that lets them benchmark their own performance and priorities against key success criteria.
Four out of five banks surveyed (80%) agree that payments are becoming less profitable, with only 18% able to charge what they want for payments. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is increasing as banks invest in new infrastructure to meet external demands for faster payments. Many are seeking to offset this by streamlining back end systems using cloud and Open Source to create more responsive and, critically, cost-effective platforms.

At the same time, 90% of banks are on the road to low-cost real-time payments (RTP), which will boost demand but erode fee margins even further. Facing a pincer of falling returns and rising costs, banks’ payment margins will continue to shrink without a clear payments transformation strategy.

Moreover, payments is moving from a profit centre to a cost centre with more than two thirds (65%) reporting that services are operating close to (or below) profitability. Current priorities are driven by fear of losing both customers (68%) and transaction volumes (64%).

Banks are clearly aware that cutting costs is not enough and that they must also use payments data to deliver more appealing propositions and revenue boosting value-added services. Yet only 15% have made the switch from transaction-led to data-led revenue models - even though they could leverage mandatory Open Banking initiatives to generate further data analytics and deliver new customised products to drive new revenue streams.

It’s evident from the research that those banks with an organisational commitment to transforming payments will be more successful at responding to change. In fact, the research has highlighted that those banks undertaking transformation are strongly correlated with those that are able to charge more and thus drive improved profitability. For many banks, however, undertaking transformation has been slow. Just 10% of banks are in the final stages of payment transformation while 30% are only just starting their journey.

To deliver profitable payments services, it is vital that banks have a single strategy to improve cost and revenue sides of the equation. The report argues that banks should collaborate with partners, not just to facilitate foundational systems but also to create the strategic roadmaps that will guide their long-term payment transformation.

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Keywords: Aite Group, Icon Solutions, research, survey, banks, payments , data, Open Banking, revenue
Countries: World

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