Experts share thoughts on how COVID-19 will change payments

The global payments industry is leading from the front by example in its response to COVID-19

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Experts share thoughts on how COVID-19 will change payments. Source: unsplash.com

P20 has interviewed 6 financial experts revealing their expectations about how payments will change in the post-COVID-19 world.

  • Jessica Richards, Head of Market Development, NatWest

NatWest saw the shift from physical to digital payments. The question is whether the behavior is changing purely due to necessity and will revert once the pandemic is over, or if this will bring forward the tipping point from physical to digital. This will depend on how long the pandemic lasts and lockdown measures are kept in place. That’s also about merchant behavior and how that impacts customers. And last but not least, how payments organizations support customers through the transition.

  • Steve Ledford, SVP Product and Strategy, The Clearing House

He thinks there will be more willing to shift to digital payments, and customers will find they didn’t need as many of the physical processes as they thought. Changes in the way people work are already manifesting in payroll processes. The use of pay on demand to pay people working outside their traditional roles at the end of their shift is surging. There’s also increased use of instant payments to enable just-in-time payroll, which was already happening but has been accelerated by COVID-19. He thinks these changes will persist post-pandemic.

  • Sara Castelhano, Managing Director and EMEA Head of Payments and Digital Product, J.P. Morgan

The world has been moving towards more digitized payment processes, and this pandemic has been a catalyst for an increase in the proportion of payments that are digital. COVID-19 has shown that, with access to the right technology, people are able to do the majority of their work from home. This raises questions about how the payments workforce of the future will operate.

  • Jim Johnson, EVP and Head of Merchant Solutions, FIS

The move from cash to electronic transactions was already happening, but he thinks that convergence will progress much faster now. The use of contactless cards, in particular, will really ramp up. Therefore, there’s an opportunity to bring a lot of new value to the financial services segment.

  • Martina King, CEO, Featurespace

Contactless spending limits are likely to increase. What merchants are really worried about are chargebacks and bad debt – all those cash related issues that come to the fore in a crisis. Payment organizations will continue to prioritize their move to real-time along with realizing the multitude of benefits from centralized data platforms.

  • Philip McHugh, CEO, Paysafe

The move from instore to e-commerce, to omnichannel, to having robust, global technology platforms – these were already trends. The changes everyone had to make are the same, they just have to move faster. He thinks how people work and interact with each other will change more permanently.

We’ve reported that 74% of businesses have been significantly affected by COVID-19. Meanwhile, 2 out of 3 employers say that maintaining employee morale during the pandemic has been a challenge.

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