Payments is a fascinating profession to document. Speak with most payment leaders today and few, if any, set out to build a career in payments. Instead, they've fallen into the role by chance; and subsequently fallen in love with it.
But the payments profession is maturing fast. This is likely to spur increased demand for payment professionals in the years to come. Meaning payments will soon become a career path followed by chance rather than choice.
What does it take to build a successful career in payments? We captured the advice of payment leaders worldwide to find out.
My best advice is to take any great opportunities as soon as they become available to you. Life moves fast when you work in payments. Being prepared is not always an option. For instance, when I was made Head of Payments for North America at HelloFresh, I was terrified because I didn't feel I had the right experience. But I said 'yes, let's do this'. I'm so glad I took the chance. I wouldn't be where I am today if I said no. And it's incredible how fast you learn new skills or refine those you have already when you're thrown in at the deep end.
The most successful payments professionals are part expert, part salesperson and part diplomat. So my advice to anybody pursuing a career in payments is to focus on getting that payment expertise up to scratch. But equally important is understanding the business drivers that feed into a payment strategy. It's also helpful to find a mentor that can help you understand and navigate the payments ecosystem.
You can't get ahead in payments by working in a silo. Payments is a genuinely cross-functional profession that touches nearly every aspect of the business. So make sure you build those relationships. But, most importantly, don’t let the things you don’t have — knowledge of payments or a finance background — put you off working in payments. Just unlock what you’re good at and soak in the knowledge and experience of others.
Find a role in a company that you love. Of course, it's essential to become an expert in your chosen profession. But from my experience, you'll only unlock your true potential when you're doing something you're genuinely passionate about. So focus on finding a role that makes you happy and excited to come to work every day, and the compensation and titles will follow.