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Payment platforms: The concept is nothing new. But in a world where payments go hand in hand with offers of diversity and customer experience, this concept is taking on a new dimension. In the past, platforms have been indispensable to reduce costs thanks to their capacity to process large volumes using shared infrastructure, but, in the digital age, how will these industrial tools help banks, now more than ever, to be competitive? Let’s take a trip to the very heart of the platforms of the future.

When banks implemented payment platforms they were seeking to reach a critical mass of transactions and improve profitability by pooling resources and non-differentiating applications. Today, if this were the only prospect it would actually be a handicap. To ensure that future payment platforms are successful other factors must be taken into account, for example, the possibility of simplifying processes or innovating – and for this banks need increased investment capacity. Banks need to take action on several fronts; standardisation, authentication, security, and instantaneousness etc. Despite the related budgets reaching millions, it’s not always possible to plan them in advance. In the light of newcomers that covet their customers, the platform of the future is an opportunity for banks to speed up development of new services that meet customers’ requirements at any given time: paying bills, managing limits, paying for a purchase at the blink of an eye, facilitating cash management, optimising cash flow etc. Furthermore, in order to increase innovation potential it’s vital to pool technological watch resources.

Platforms in the digital age have the new advantage offering a holistic view of payments and increased agility in terms of building offers suitable for each bank’s customers.

Holistic view? Gone are the days of independent cards and payments sectors. Now it’s time to break down the barriers to make the most of these two universes by capitalising on the different payment instruments’ strengths, while fostering synergies between them at every possible opportunity.

Furthermore, this comes with additional advantages: the capacity to reuse a component or pool new resources when it makes sense, for example biometrics, authentication or payment initiation. Not forgetting the capacity to build, rebuild, and adapt offers, over and over again, based on an extensive catalogue to provide the customer with added value and innovation. To offer even faster and more attractive proposals in the digital payments space, payments architecture must now be open to integrate services provided by various ecosystem partners. Therefore, when we make a purchase, we can instantly obtain a revolving loan, automatically benefit from a reduction, or make a donation to an organisation.

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As the provider of the first multi-bank platform in France, Sopra Banking Software is offering long term support to implement this sort of architecture in the long term, in the payments domain, based on industrial and open foundations. It’s clear that payment platforms of the future will be service factories for banks to develop digital payments. Even if this promise is extremely appealing, it will only really come into effect once we have tackled all the challenges associated with resource pooling; performance, openness, internationalisation, and a holistic payments view.

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