Guest writer: Douwe Lycklama | INNOPAY
The 8th edition of the Online Payment Congress [Online Betaal Congres] was held in Amsterdam on March 5th. As usual, the main developments and trends in the online payment landscape were discussed. The annual conference, organized by the Dutch merchant organization Thuiswinkel.org, brought together both local and European/international companies active in the e-commerce arena, from web merchant associations to payment service providers and banks.
The online payment industry is a shifting global market subject to major challenges such as unprecedented technological innovation, changing business needs and an increasingly demanding regulatory landscape. Therefore, one of the key topics discussed, broached by Wieske Ebben of the Dutch Central Bank, was an in-depth analysis of a new EU regulation ‘Access to the account’ related to the opening of merchants’ accounts to third parties who offer merchant payment services. Third-party account access is no longer that new since parties can access accounts through credit cards and direct debits for instance (with all the risk and fraud management issues this entails, of course). Quite a few payment businesses have developed in line with this mechanism, including PayPal’s business.
In the context of this regulation we are talking about a ‘version 2.0’ fashion, i.e. online and real-time. Third parties who are not yet part of today’s payment schemes should be able to check balances and ownership and initiate a transaction, for instance. Forcing banks to allow this, under clear and still to-be-defined conditions (security, business model, standards, etc.), will profoundly change the payment landscape in Europe, and hopefully put it at the forefront of global developments. Many new parties will encounter lower entry barriers than they do at the moment. A major challenge will be to avoid confusing the consumer.
Another interesting topic discussed at the congress was e-identity. Given the fact that every online transaction has an e-identity element, the transaction world and identity world are merging; identity checks are becoming a very relevant type of transaction when doing e-commerce. In this context, knowing your customers was identified as a primary focus for web merchants: on the one hand to mitigate their risks as merchants and on the other hand to help them serve their customers better. During the presentations held by Payvision’s COO Gijs op de Weegh together with Jumio, ID Checker and QIY, we saw that e-identity services may really represent a significant improvement in customer experience.
2013 will be another year of hot developments in our field. To name a few:
Wallets are a clear buzzword, meaning different things to different people. For some, the concept simply represents dematerialized credit cards and other payment instruments in the cloud, for others it is the ultimate shopping and checkout experience. Gert Jan Rosken of MyOrder demonstrated the state of the art in this domain.
Convergence of online and offline commerce, evidenced by the mergers of Point and Verifone and more recently of Ingenico and Ogone, is another logical step. Another development to watch is the integration of payments with advertising and couponing, all based on Big Data. Google is expected to make moves in this direction to bring online advertising onto the retail floor.
All in all the Online Payment Congress [Online Betaal Congres] was once again a great success. We are already thinking ahead to the program for 2014!