Podcasts from Glenbrook Partners on the latest developments in payments and fintech. Featuring interviews with opinion leaders, Glenbrook's own take on emerging technologies and industry trends, other news and views on this dynamic industry.
Episode 139 - Building Digital Infrastructure for Small Business - Barry McCarthy, Deluxe
Take a listen as George and Deluxe’s President and CEO Barry McCarthy discuss how the company continues to adapt to and prosper in the digital age. Barry talks about the journey the company has taken, in recent times shifting from a conglomerate model grown via acquisition to today’s streamlined and focused small business focused organization.
The Journey from Paper to Digital Services In Glenbrook’s Payments Boot Camps® we make the point that fintechs rarely invent new functions out of whole cloth. What they do excel at is reimagining and reengineering the processes that incumbent players have been locked into for years.
It’s the incumbent’s inability to adapt that puts them at a competitive disadvantage.
As Charles Darwin put it:
“The species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”
We make this point in our training. Incumbent firms, no matter what the industry, survive and succeed over decades only if they have the ability to adapt to change in their environment. You only have to glance at the moves Visa and Mastercard have made over the last five years - the acquisitions of Plaid and Vocalink (among many) come to mind - and it’s obvious adaptation is at the core of their respective strategies.
In this episode, we speak with a company that has over 100 years of adaptation behind it. Starting with the invention of the checkbook a century ago Deluxe Corporation has expanded and adapted its offerings to the digital needs of its customers.
Take a listen as George and Deluxe’s President and CEO Barry McCarthy discuss how the company continues to adapt to and prosper in the digital age. Barry talks about the journey the company has taken, in recent times shifting from a conglomerate model growing by acquisition to today’s more streamlined and focused organization.
Episode 138 - Open banking, Recurring Payments, and a Global Debit Network - Duncan Barrigan, GoCardless
Open banking. It’s a term we started to hear about at the end of 2016 and since 2019 interest has remained high. That’s according to Google Trends. Along with those searches, the related hot topics were PSD2 and APIs.
Regulation and technology is opening up access to bank accounts for payers, billers, and service providers. But the state of that openness varies by region and country with important consequences for billers, merchants, and their payment providers.
In this wide ranging discussion, George and Duncan Barrigan, Chief Product Officer at GoCardless, cover a range of topics, all through the lens of the company’s primary value proposition, the use of direct debit from bank accounts to enable recurring and one-off payments across 30 different countries.
As you'll appreciate, stitching together a network capable of using the domestic low cost rails (think ACH and BACS) in 30 different countries to provide both domestic and cross-border recurring payments is no easy task.
Topics discussed include:
The definition of open banking What the impact of open baking has been Where open banking is taking off, and where it isn’t Recurring payments defined and use cases APIs and integration How a biller or merchant can move customers from one payment method to another Cross-border direct debit And, of course, the GoCardless value proposition, something its financial backers believe in given its recent $95 million raise.
Episode 137 - Ecosystem Enablement for Financial Inclusion of the Poor - Kosta Peric and Paula Hunter on Mojaloop
Financial inclusion for the poor is a global challenge. In this episode, we dive into the story of Mojaloop, a platform that enables interoperability and transaction routing between mobile money system operators, banks, and other providers. It’s a fascinating, and evolving, story. Take a listen.
= = = = = =
Individual Benefits, Nation Building Impact Financial inclusion for the poor is a global challenge. Over two billion adults lack access to financial services. While that number is declining - and in no small part because of the work done by this episode’s guests - that level of digital disenfranchisement and cash dependence suppresses well being at multiple levels:
Individuals must spend significant time to pay bills when they must travel to the biller or its agent, never mind travel to acquire cash. Carrying cash, of course, comes with its own set of risks Families suffer as time away from work and home reduces family income Entrepreneurs and small businesses face the same time penalty, high transaction costs, and uncertain credit access Entire countries experience diminished GDP because of productivity losses and transactional friction. Cash-based transactions also fuel the shadow economy, making audits and taxation very difficult While Kenya's M-Pesa is the most well known exemplar, there are hundreds of systems around the world offering digital payments, bill pay, savings accounts, microlending, and other services to their accountholders.
Not Without Concerns Financial inclusion efforts are not without downsides as some credit extension services, riding the e-money rails laid down by the provider, charge usurious rates. Gambling services are similarly problematic.
With success, e-money systems become systemically important to a country and, therefore, pose a level of systemic risk should the operator go offline for technical or security reasons.
And as with every digital activity that touches money, there is the problem of fraud.
But these are not insurmountable challenges. Some are candidates for regulation-based cures. Others can be addressed by providers themselves.
The Network Effect Matters Another challenge to the growth and health of mobile money systems is interoperability among those systems. In many countries, multiple e-money systems compete for accountholders but do not interoperate. A user on one system cannot send money to a user on another. That condition adds friction, reducing the e-money value proposition for all stakeholders.
The challenge becomes even more acute, and costs rise, when the sender and receiver are in different countries.
Ecosystem Enablement A thriving digital ecosystem and economy requires the right conditions:
Regulation that encourages innovation while also protecting the end user Low cost enabling infrastructure, and User-focused services that meet real needs The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has taken on financial inclusion for the poor in multiple ways, through support of:
Development of guiding principles for the delivery of financial inclusion through the Level One Project Creation of guidance for regulators to speed accountholder onboarding while limiting fraud and risks concerns Support for the development of open loop software designed to speed system interoperability. Called Mojaloop, this open source effort’s goals include the development of a reference platform In this episode, we dive into the Mojaloop story with two leaders of the work:
Paula Hunter, Executive Director, of the Mojaloop Foundation Kosta Peric, deputy director, Financial Services for the Poor at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation It’s a fascinating, and evolving, story. Take a listen. And, if financial inclusion for the poor in developing markets is important to you, get involved with Mojaloop. It's quite a team.
Episode 136 - Global Payments and the Fintech Innovations Changing the Industry - Carol Coye Benson, Glenbrook
For a front row seat on payment innovation you have plenty of choices. Yes, Stripe and Square are based in the tech hotbed of the Bay Area and it’s tempting to stare at their success. But a look around the world reveals the evolutionary breadth of how payments are made, regulated, and brought to market. India and China alone reveal how remarkably different approaches can scale to enormous dimensions.
There’s no better guide to what’s happening in payments around the world than Glenbrook’s own Carol Coye Benson. In this episode, Carol and George discuss her new book Global Payments and the Fintech Innovations Changing the Industry.
Carol spent much of the last decade traveling throughout the world consulting to organizations on the impact of technology and business models on national payment infrastructure. The book is informed by the scores of discussions she’s had with tech executives, the leadership of development banks, government agencies, and fintech start-ups.
Take a listen to why she wrote the book, some of what she found, and her take on some of the big questions still to be answered.
Here's how she introduces the book via video:
Episode 135 - Innovation in Payments - Russ Jones, Glenbrook
2020 has been an active period for payments innovation. COVID-19 has been a forcing function for digital payments across multiple payment domains. “Touchless” and “contactless” payments are now common themes of retailer advertising.
And, of course, many other trends have accelerated this year. Fintechs, mobile wallets, the expansion of open banking initiatives, and point of sale lending are trends with impacts spreading across the market. 2020 has also seen the increased legitimacy of blockchain-based payments as demonstrated by central banks around the world consider and even pilot digital fiat currencies.
These are the topics Russ Jones and Yvette Bohanan will present in Glenbrook’s Innovation in Payments Insight Workshop coming up December 8th and 9th. If keeping up with the changes in our industry and developing real insight into the key trends is important, you won’t find better guides than Russ and Yvette.
Take a listen. Check out the agenda.
Episode 134 - Ecommerce Fraud in the Time of COVID - Eyal Raab, Riskified
COVID is a forcing function for digital channel growth across the world as consumers and businesses reduce their reliance on physical interactions. We’ve seen usage shifts in how bank accountholders in Peru transact - from branch to digital - as well as big shift in payment behavior.
We outlined a lot of this in our own COVID series on Payments Views.
Many merchants have turned to online as a matter of survival. Many restaurants, for example, have added order ahead and curbside pickup as standard offerings just to stay in business.
Our assessment is that, even with an effective vaccine and adequate immunization rates, we’re never going to return to the same point. E-commerce transactions have increased, yet again, permanently. How much volume returns to the physical point of sale domain once COVID is behind us is unknown. But it’s not going to go back to previous levels.
That shift is an opportunity for many in the payments industry, including fraudsters, those unwelcome stakeholders. They are taking advantage of merchants who weren’t prepared for their new or increased online payment volumes.
We’ve spoken with a number of fraud management firms on Payments on Fire®. In this episode we speak with Eyal Raab, VP of Sales, at fraud management company Riskified about his firm’s expanding approach to fraud management for merchants whose goal is to maximize authorization rates.
Fraud management is complex. Merchant needs vary considerably. And what the fraudsters are up to constantly changes. Payment fraud management and fraud are both growth industries.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Matt, hosts of the Payments on Fire podcast, highlights all aspects of payments, fintech and more in this can’t miss podcast! The hosts and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
Entertaining, insightful and actionable! 🙌
Whether you’re well established as a payments innovator, or just getting started carving out a profitable niche that’s ready to grow - this is a must-listen podcast for you! George and the entire Glenbrook team do an incredible job leading conversations that cover a huge breadth of topics related to the ins and outs of building a thriving enterprise - from leaders who’ve actually experienced success themselves. Highly recommend listening and subscribing!
Fantastic insights and thoughts!
Always enjoy each episode.