Payments has seen massive step changes in the past few years in terms of technology, channels, regulation and consumer behavior. As payments leaders look ahead, navigating the future is taking up more and more of their time and their team resources.
Change in the payments space is constant and, as things move, you and your team will need to be agile so that you can keep ahead of the curve. Considering where you want to get to now will help you establish the right fundamentals and enable you to set your course in the right direction.
Future-proof your team in line with business and customer needs
Payments have evolved so much in recent years and there is every indication that they will continue to do so. That’s why payments teams must be agile and keep adapting to these changes. What drives your team today is not necessarily what will drive it tomorrow.
As Richard Haywood, Head of eCommerce Customer and Payments at Ocado, explains, “Five or six years ago it was all about making sure that payments could support global expansion. Now we’re refocused on optimization. Whether it’s an ML feature that helps you populate your basket with one click for smart and easy shopping, reminders for products you might have run out of, or building secure, resilient and scalable platforms and software integrations with payment providers for effortless payment, my team and I push the boundaries of what’s possible with technology.”
Similarly, as a payments team’s function in a business matures, so does its focus areas. As Makis Savvides, Director of Global Payments at Wargaming, says, “As payments becomes a more integral function to organizations, it will become a more defined profession with formal education, qualifications and career paths.”
Pushing the boundaries will include considering the additional roles that you’ll want to supplement your team during the years ahead.
Digitalization continues to smash enterprise silos and create more collaborative “sprint”-led working environments. This allows the payments team to evolve alongside other departments, in many cases overlapping and even sharing roles.
We’re starting to see key roles emerge at the intersection between technology, customer and enterprise functions. Acting as bridging points between important operations, these roles will be key to helping merchants manage change in the years ahead.
Future-facing payments roles and what’s driving them:
- Crypto specialist
“One of the trends we’ve seen in the past few years is that our gamers want to pay with cryptocurrencies,” says Makis Savvides. “This is a really interesting development, so we’re discussing whether we should start accepting that and all the associated risks.”
And it’s likely that more retailers will follow suit. Web 3.0, the gradual introduction of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) and changing attitudes to crypto means we could soon see an explosion in blockchain for payments. By 2030, the global cryptocurrency market is predicted to triple, reaching $5 billion. Merchants may need support from dedicated teams to help them implement and manage crypto strategies.
- Antifraud experts
As consumers migrate to digital channels, so will fraudsters. With the rise in friendly fraud and chargebacks, even PCI-SCA and 3D secure aren’t enough to help merchants keep up. In 2030, fraud losses are projected to reach $49.32 billion , equal to 6.23 cents per $100. While many merchants currently outsource security and fraud, increasingly they’ll look to enhance their own in-house teams with anti-fraud specialists.
According to Elena Emelyanova, Senior Payments Manager at Wargaming, “Faced with fraudsters, you’re always the mouse, never the cat. It’s not about trying to defeat them, rather it’s about making it as hard as possible for them to win.”
- Data scientists
Having dedicated teams whose role it is to unlock the powerful insight and value inherent in payments and transactions will become make-or-break for merchants, especially those looking to differentiate themselves in increasingly competitive digital markets.
This is reinforced by Emina Zahirovic, Associate Director of Global Payments at HelloFresh, who said, “We have a large data science team that leverages AI and machine learning to deeply understand our payments data and how it impacts customer behavior. I anticipate that more businesses will start building out similar functions and leverage similar tools to turn payments into a strategic function.”
- Digital experience managers
Looking to the future, the drive for hyper-personalization and uber-convenience will mean payments will have to become even more customer-centric. The trick will be considering the diverse needs of all customers across generations. Once again, this may need specialist teams within payments, in some cases focused on specific personas and their experiences.
“One size definitely doesn’t fit all in terms of proposition business technology or payments,” confirms Aleksandra Wasielewska, Payments Lead Manager at Allegro. “Take biometrics. Not all our customers will be happy to scan their face and pay with a selfie. They may not be comfortable sharing this type of personal data for security and privacy reasons. But they may feel differently around sharing payment data for one-click checkout and subscriptions for the convenience this brings.”
What do expanding team structures mean for payment professionals?
As accelerated ecommerce pushes payments to the fore, it’s likely we’ll see more formal education qualifications and career paths emerge.
This may well mean there will be more people working in payments by choice rather than by chance. But they’re likely to be driven by the same appetite for challenge and innovation and a passion for enhancing customer experiences for the better.
As we look ahead, there’s never been more opportunity to build a promising career in payments—or to build a diverse and successful payments team.
Find out more by downloading this blueprint to building a world-class payments team.