Technology continues to drive innovation in the commercial payments sector, according to a recent survey of finance and treasury professionals conducted by TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®. Real-time payments is leading change, as nearly half of respondents (42 percent) cited integration of these capabilities within online banking as the technological innovation that will have the greatest positive impact on the industry over the next three to five years.
Payments professionals also predict artificial intelligence and machine learning will create positive change (20 percent) in the industry, while more advanced technologies such as blockchain (11 percent) or biometrics (4 percent) are not yet at the forefront.
TD’s survey collected responses from 390 finance professionals on industry trends and outlook at the 2018 NACHA PAYMENTS Conference in San Diego, California, in May.
Innovation Forces Infrastructure Upgrades
With improved technology comes the need to revamp outdated frameworks. Respondents were not shy to call out the need to refresh internal infrastructure systems as the main roadblock to success in implementing digital payments strategies. When asked about their greatest challenge in payments innovation, more than one-third (36 percent) of respondents stated the need for corporations and/or smaller banks to update legacy infrastructure to support these functions.
Payments professionals expect their financial institutions to evolve as well. An overwhelming majority said that integrating a mobile application for business banking would improve a company’s experience with its financial institution, according to 74 percent of respondents.
“One of the largest impediments to today’s payments industry is that change is happening faster than organizations can realistically accommodate it,” said Rick Burke, Head of Corporate Products and Services, TD Bank. “Sending and receiving corporate payments is a complex process and one that it is not yet as nimble as consumer payments. As more CFOs and treasurers use immediate payment schemes in their personal financial transactions, the demand for commercial availability will also rise, and financial institutions and businesses need to be prepared to accommodate that expectation.”
Professionals Remain Vigilant; Wary of Cryptocurrencies
Payments experts hold a strong view against the validity of cryptocurrencies, despite the hype around the topic in the media. In fact, the majority (64 percent) of survey respondents noted that they do not view cryptocurrencies as a legitimate form of digital payment. Despite this, just 4 percent selected controversy around cryptocurrencies as the greatest challenge facing payments innovation today.
Cybersecurity and payment fraud remain a top concern for payments professionals but saw a slight decline in the survey results. This year, 84 percent of respondents stated that payments fraud will become a bigger threat in the next one to two years, compared with 91 percent of respondents in 2017.
This drop could indicate that companies are gaining confidence as they prioritize and invest greater resources in cybersecurity prevention and preparedness. Further supporting this idea, 9 percent of respondents noted that cybersecurity software will have the greatest positive impact on the payments industry over the next three to five years, potentially indicating that payments professionals may finally be seeing some positive developments in the area of cybersecurity.
TD Bank polled finance professionals at the 2018 NACHA–The Electronic Payments Association® PAYMENTS Conference in San Diego and via the organization’s mobile app on April 30 and May 1, 2018. A total of 390 responses were collected from industry professionals, including payments system stakeholders from business end-users, and financial and technology services organizations.