Written by Scott Thompson
Transport for London, Barclays, wagamama, William Hill, VocaLink, Earthport and SWIFT were among the winners at the 2015 Payments Awards, which took place in London during November
The event kicked off with a welcome speech by Scott Thompson, Group Editor, FStech and Retail Systems, who observed: “Payments is so hot right now…To sort of quote awesome cult movie Zoolander. But seriously, it really is amazing how the payments landscape has transformed within the last few years.”
In 1888, American writer Edward Bellamy published the novel Looking Backward 2000-1887, picturing a utopian world in which cash has been replaced by credit and debit cards. "If Ed were around today, he would no doubt be crying into his cornflakes at the fact that cash remains popular with many consumers and businesses," Thompson noted. "But I like to think that, once he stopped sobbing, he would begin to marvel at all of the stuff that is happening right now. Apple Pay duking it out with Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and now Chase Pay, Twitter payments through Pingit, programmable currencies like Bitcoin, pay by selfie, facial recognition technology, contactless jackets, watches and rings. As he would probably put it, verily the 21st century is a magical place full of unicorns and rainbows, but why does money leave my account instantly when I use an ATM and yet it takes a few days when I make an online payment? Tis truly vexing."
He was followed on stage by stand-up comedian and comedy writer, Lucy Porter, who, in her opening routine, took an irreverent look at the retail sector (in particular the joy of online customer reviews) and payments. “During his speech Scott said the payments sector is sexy. And I suppose it is, when you think about it,” she said. “When I pay by contactless, the terminal goes beep; it’s a very sexy beep. Beep!”
Porter then presided over the awards ceremony, with the 2015 Hall of Fame looking like this…
Best Online Payments Solution (Consumer)
The first award of the night went to Klarna for Klarna Checkout which aims to simplify the online buying process. It increases conversion rates for retailers by offering consumers a ‘one click to buy’ checkout solution on all devices, and taking on the risk of default.
Best Online Payments Solution (Merchant)
Entertainment retailer Xtra-vision required a payment solution that would accommodate its pre-order and subscription services, integrate seamlessly with its responsive sites and provide robust fraud management tools. With Realex Payments, Xtra-vision was able to streamline its payment acceptance and improve the efficiency of its fraud management processes.
Mobile Payments Solution of the Year
Flypay provides a solution that allows restaurant customers to pay via their smartphones. Customers are given a unique table identifier code early on during a meal to allow them to access their bill without finding a waiter. Using Verifone technology this app enables a seamless customer experience with a difference.
Best Omnichannel Payments Solution
In 2014, the Cambridge Satchel Company needed to scale internationally. Partnering with Adyen, there was a four-week integration window to go live. The latter’s solution manages global payment methods and end-to-end flow across multiple channels - online, mobile, Point of Sale.
Best Contactless Payments Project
Following the success of Oyster, London became the first major city in the world accepting contactless payment for travel. In 2012, TfL implemented the technology on buses alongside Oyster. That first phase was a relatively straightforward alternative to paying by cash. Phase 2, launched in September 2014, enabled acceptance for rail services accepting PAYG. Additional to daily capping, for the first time, customers benefitted from Monday to Sunday capping.
Working within complex legal and technical challenges in the payments industry, TfL created and implemented a transit transaction model, solving principles of using CPCs on transport. It has pioneered solutions for customer servicing, ‘card clash’ and revenue inspection whilst fundamentally shifting fare calculation reliance from a ‘front-end’ card-reader to a back office system. And it has played a huge part in raising the profile of contactless.
Best In-Store Payments Solution
Bleep were recognised for their work at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the London 2012 Olympic Games. The solution on offer is innovative, cost-effective and proven to enhance the customer experience and increase operational efficiency.
Technology Provider of the Year
Fiserv is driving innovation in payments, mobile banking and other financial services technology solutions.
Anti-Fraud/Security Solution of the Year
One of the main reasons Kount won this award was their ability to to demonstrate how their technology and insight has helped clients fight fraud and boost sales. For instance, CD Baby is an online distributor of independent music, helping artists sell their music on cdbaby.com, iTunes, Amazon, Facebook etc, as well as on compact disc and vinyl. It was hit by recurring fraud attacks that drove chargebacks up to 2.6 per cent of transactions. Controller Christine Barnum describes spending, “Eighty per cent of my time, seven days a week, trying to contain fraud. It was like ‘whack-a-mole.’ I would identify a pattern and put rules in effect to stop it, and the fraudsters would come up with another trick.” After implementing Kount, CD Baby cut chargebacks by 96 per cent.
Most Disruptive Payments Technology
Digital River was recognised for its Service Provider Interface (SPI). The company was nominated alongside Earthport, First Data Corporation, SWIFT, Unique Secure and Zapp. “We’re honoured to receive a 2015 Payments Award and be recognised among the industry’s leading providers,” says Hayden Reed, Digital River’s senior vice president and general manager of Digital River World Payments. “I’d like to congratulate our payments team for their ongoing commitment to defining and building innovative technologies and payments solutions. The team’s work on our SPI will further speed the adoption of new payment methods for card-not-present (CNP) transactions around the world and fuel localisation capabilities that are so important to advancing global e-commerce.”
Payments Startup of the Year
Remitia is a fast growing payments venture. David Brown, founder and CEO, says: “It is an honour to be recognised by the Payments Awards as the Startup of the Year for 2015. This award represents the tireless work, dedication and commitment of our team in harnessing intelligent analytics to make supply chain finance more efficient, more inclusive and less risky. At Remitia, we have pioneered creating a solution of scalable instant payments of supplier invoices, with immediate income for buyers offering zero risk, zero balance sheet impact and zero process change. This award underlines the agility and ability to continuously innovate that has eluded larger firms and demonstrates that it is possible to take a breakthrough idea to market from a clean sheet of paper with conviction and focussed execution and disrupt the market.”
Innovation of the Year
This year Clear Channel UK, Cancer Research UK, Mediacom UK, AMV BBDO and 10 Squared worked together to create Tap to Beat Cancer. In a world-first, the application of contactless payment technology was used to give members of the public the opportunity to donate to charity with a simple tap of their debit or credit cards on shop windows, leveraging existing and emerging technology to reflect changing consumer behaviour and deliver an innovative new way for Cancer Research to raise funding
Best Merchant Acquirer/Processor
A fast growing acquiring network, Payvision connects PSPs, ISOs and their merchants to one platform, based on a non-competitive partnership model in which all stakeholders share revenue, in an expanding profitable cross-border e-commerce market. The company aims to make cross-border payments domestic.
Retailer of the Year
In 2015 wagamama became the first restaurant/retailer to offer MasterCard's Qkr! payments app. The app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, can now be used in 112 wagamama restaurants in the UK. Richard Tallboy, director of business development, says: “We know that the biggest area of feedback from restaurant customers is related to the speed and convenience of payment. The Qkr! with MasterPass payment app provides us with a great solution, allowing customers to control when they want to pay through a simple and secure download app. Whether they are having a quick bite at lunchtime and need to get back to work or are having dinner before a show, putting them in control of paying when they are ready makes for a more relaxing dining experience. We also know that customers come to wagamama with friends and family to enjoy dining in an informal environment. Qkr! offers our customers the ability to dine together but pay separately via the app, simplifying the experience.”
Financial Services Institution of the Year
Raphaels Bank is leading the way in payments and prepaid innovation. Its Card Services team is at the forefront of development, through technological advances in NFC contactless programmes, socially responsible models which challenge traditional banking formats and the inclusion of additional payment schemes to further develop the prepaid market in Europe.
Best Alternative Payments Project
Earthport’s alternative payments approach challenges existing infrastructure for payments supporting international trade, e-commerce and remittances.
Best Use of Social Media
Integration with social platforms forms an important part of Barclays’ digital strategy, positioning Pingit as ‘the most engaging way to pay’. The proposition allows people to pay using their Twitter handle or QR codes, incorporating Gift Aid and launching the Comic Relief 'Selfie' campaign.
B2B Payments Innovation of the Year
The winning submission looked at SWIFT’s work with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in creating a new trade settlement instrument known as Bank Payment Obligation (BPO), and how SWIFT’s team and technology drove global adoption of the new payment option in 2014 and 2015.
Best Prepaid Card Solution
The Priority Access card gives William Hill customers immediate access to winnings, a game changer in the online betting sector. It is attracting new customers and engaging those who are frustrated by the three to five day withdrawal process.
Engagement and Loyalty Scheme of the Year
Card payments processor Global Payments is the first to integrate customer rating service truRating on its payment terminals. Customers’ rating scores are fed into an online dashboard that allows retailers to find out potential shortcomings and ascertain how to improve their business processes.
Marketing Campaign of the Year
With a new UK payments regulator recently appointed and growing interest from abroad, VocaLink needed a platform to educate its market and to demonstrate its transformational capabilities. After careful consideration, the decision was made that the VocaLink marketing team would design, build and manage a new strategic marketing portal. The result was CONNECT, its news and views portal, which is also a digital hub that supports all its marketing programmes and campaigns.
Payments Pioneer Award
Earthport CEO Hank Uberoi’s vision is to upend global cross-border payments. He realised the current model doesn’t meet the particular needs of low-value payments and depends on a 40+ year old system, so he created an alternative model supporting businesses and financial institutions for faster, cheaper, more predictable and transparent payments.
Transport for London
See Best Contactless Payments Project category for more information.
Further info on the Payments Awards at: www.payments-awards.com/awards/