Banks have finally caught on to something we’ve known for a while…
The future of finance is digital.
As they close ATMs and move online…
They’re realizing just how many companies got their first.
Companies like SHiFT Connect, a major player in international FX and payments.
I caught up with Kevin Copping, Institutional Sales and Marketing Manager, to go over how SHiFT is preparing for the coming of the cashless, digital world.
- What SHiFT is doing globally
- Why the world will inevitably cashless
- What shifted for SHiFT and FX under COVID-19
SHiFT in FX and payments
SHiFT isn’t just a cool name, there’s a good reason for it.
Kevin’s been in the FX industry for over 30 years, so he’s seen a lot of changes over the years.
All that innovation isn’t going to slow down.
But it will take place in the digital sphere.
“We’ve seen the evolution of payments moving from cash to digital to borderless accounts and cards. So, we’ve really seen innovation.” — Kevin Copping
That’s how SHiFT got its name — the shift into the digital world.
The company is laser-focused on innovation — which Kevin sees as moving in tandem with the business demand in the global marketplace.
They’re also spreading into new territories globally.
They help customers who really want really bespoke hedging programs tailored to their needs.
They work with SMEs who want to pay their invoices at the best rate and get payments out in time. They deal with individuals with foreign properties, large purchases or stocks.
And they strive to really understand the needs of their customers.
On the business side, they arrange a level of involvement early one, deciding how often to speak, what services are needed and figuring out how comfortable they are jumping online.
They customize a plan for each client they work with and really dig into this consultative approach, prioritizing value over anything else.
Of course, in many ways, COVID-19 is changing that approach.
And the shift to digital from which the company took its name is coming even faster than anyone imagined.
The coming of the cashless world
A year ago, there were still naysayers and laggards when it came to digital in legacy banking and other brick-and-mortar financial institutions.
Sure, they moved into the digital sphere, but cash, checks and other pieces of paper were often handed from person to person at a physical location.
Younger generations were the only ones to adopt digital as their go-to location for financial transactions, right?
Well, even if that was actually true, in the wake of COVID-19, that’s all changed. Everybody is forced to move to digital — young and old. Turns out, every generation is loving the shift.
And the companies who got there first are ahead of the game.
“Banks are closing ATM machines. They’re kicking you out. The banks want you online. But unfortunately, it’s players like us that actually got there first.” — Kevin Copping
So it’s easy to see why Kevin is confident that the world will soon become cashless.
Of course, he’s been waiting for the full shift to digital for a while. COVID-19 just sped up the transition.
But it had major implications for SHiFT, too.
SHiFT under COVID-19
Just like it was for everyone, COVID was a bit of a shock for Kevin.
In March and April (and beyond), there was crazy volatility in the market, causing a distraction for businesses and their bottom lines the world over.
The exchange rate between U.S. and Canadian dollars went through the roof. The pound was caught between a rock and a hard place — Brexit and COVID.
Every piece of news was alarming.
So SHiFT, true to their name, shifted to the new normal.
First, they made sure to do everything they could to calm their understandably worried customers. They offered their expertise, tools and platforms.
And one of the really important things, especially for SMEs, was to help identify and limit any exposure to the volatility going on within exchanges.
“Anyone can beat anyone else on rate. But I don’t want to do that. I want to give value for the service we’re giving.” — Kevin Copping
And being so digital-oriented prepared them for much of the remote-work needed in a pandemic.
Of course, even a forward-looking company has to make adjustments in times of crisis.
While they already had remote offices and the like, the consultative approach they’ve taken had to adjust to the new normal of social distancing.
So, just like the rest of us, meetings and handshakes were replaced with phone calls and a new-found proficiency for video conferencing.
Just like the innovations in payments the crisis demands, communication has needed to innovate, too.
Until next time!