With globalization on the rise, fintechs who provide a truly interconnected service can be genuine beneficiaries. But they need to be agile and respond to changing expectations and technology. 

Globalization is growing, making borders less relevant for businesses and having a profound impact on our society.

Modern consumers are willing to travel not just for holidays, but also to work or live. And they are more open to buying products or services from the global marketplace. In turn, businesses everywhere are thinking globally, in order to maximize a larger pool of customers and partners.

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As location becomes less relevant for business success, Lewis Nurcombe, General Manager, Amsterdam at Currencycloud, believes a huge drive for interconnected services is underway.

“Businesses need to be able to constantly develop their offerings on several fronts to ensure they don’t get left behind,“ he explains. “Major communication networks and social media channels see the long-term potential of investment in areas like incorporating payments. The benefits of solving these issues for customers are huge, and the rewards will be too.”

Fintechs are also in a prime position to seize the initiative in offering connected services. With the right in-house expertise, and less bound by red tape, they can approach new payment challenges with a fresh mindset.

Global consumers and businesses

As consumers, our horizons have broadened and we’re travelling more. In 2018, there were a record 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals across the world, 6% more than in 2017. In 1990, it was just 435 million .

We’re also more open to moving our lives abroad, furthering our careers by taking opportunities far from home. Expat numbers are soaring and are predicted to reach as much as 87.5 million by 2021.

With this increasingly fluid lifestyle comes a natural rise in the number of people making payments in foreign currencies, whether that’s for holiday spending money, receiving money from abroad, or putting things in place for a new life overseas. And they expect seamless global banking.

Businesses of all sizes, meanwhile, can expand much more easily into new markets than ever before. The World Bank says SMEs are less likely to be able to obtain bank loans than large firms. However, through innovation, they can find new ways to expand that don’t always require access to large pots of money – and they want to use them.

With an increase in the number of global payments they make, businesses and individuals need to make the most of innovative solutions that can streamline the process. 

Great expectations

It’s perhaps unsurprising that truly global, experience-heavy commerce is growing in tandem with millennials. They place intrinsic value on personal experiences, and their generation also marks the beginning of inherently digital consumers.

However, having high expectations of digital services is not unique to this age group – it’s the new norm. All consumers, worldwide, now demand access to instant, seamless services, with no friction. Fintechs need to reflect this, providing a smooth, satisfying experience that is also increasingly personalized, with more control, transparency, speed to market and real-time FX.

Taking payments to the next level

Fintechs of all sizes can satisfy the changing demands of businesses and consumers in our modern, digital, globalised world. For example, those who can provide seamless payment and FX services will be more attractive to customers.

“Fintech is a broad term, but the commonalities supporting their success tend to be an agile approach to tech delivery, and a focus on speed-to-market,” says Nurcombe. “It’s also vital to have strong feedback loops where you listen to what markets actually want, and not be chained down by legacy systems or processes.”

This is an area where Currencycloud is primed to take centre stage.

Nurcombe says: “We spend a lot of time listening to clients, and know that they want more end-to-end processes ‘out of the box’. We are seeing more focus on services for the collection of funds to build on our abilities to convert and pay. There is also increasing demand for rich testing environments that help customers build against APIs as much as possible.”

Innovation is helping to bring payment solutions in line with consumer expectations.

A new partnership between Currencycloud and Visa will enable Visa clients and partners to access a digital-first end-to-end travel payment solution, including real-time FX notifications. The partnership will enable Visa clients to offer other benefits such as speed to market and multi-currency banking, while also creating cost and operating efficiencies that can greatly enhance treasury management.

It’s the latest in a raft of initiatives that evidence Currencycloud’s drive to grow alongside their clients, and to keep helping them succeed.

“It’s been great to grow with some exceptional clients over the years,” adds Nurcombe. “Their push to meet increasing demands keeps us on our toes, and we’re more than ready to keep meeting their demands in the future.”

Lewis Nurcombe

Lewis Nurcombe leads Currencycloud's sales activity within the fast-changing Neobanking space and is also the General Manager of Currencycloud B.V based in Amsterdam.