lead forensics analytics

Mining the data mountain

Written by: Todd Latham, CMO and Head of Product at Currencycloud
Published on: September 21, 2017

There’s no doubt that payments companies have mountains of data available to them about their customers and their payment patterns. The potential of understanding customer data and to turn it into actionable insights is massive. But while almost three quarters (73%) of senior business executives who participated in the recent Global Payments Jury believed that processing payments will become a means to access data in the future, payments companies are still missing an opportunity in this space.

Most payments companies have seen real value of data in fraud prevention, but the opportunities are endless. From understanding customer habits and improving processes accordingly, to developing new revenue streams based on emerging trends, mining data can provide tangible results.

But despite enthusiasm for the use of data, a quarter of the Jury think that when it comes to their own organisations, they just cannot access sufficient data to make good decisions. This may be the current state of play, but extracting insights from data doesn’t need to be a chore. There are some simple steps that payments businesses can take to allay concerns around getting value out of their data.

Establishing a clear idea of what you want to achieve from your data is paramount. According to almost a third (27%) of the Jury, a poor data strategy seemed to be the biggest hurdle to getting value out of data.  With so much information available,  it is easy to fall down the data rabbit hole and lose sight of what is actually going to add value to your business. Do you want to be able to keep your finger on the pulse of what your clients need, or is looking for new revenue streams more important for your business? Laying out straightforward objectives that support the wider business strategy provides clear guidance on what you should be mining and how you should be using your data.

From here, you can identify what you need to achieve those objectives. Do you have the right technology and expertise to be able to extract meaningful information? Siloed technology (22%) and a lack of expertise (24%) were cited by jurors as reasons why payments businesses were missing a trick with data. Having the right people on board is obvious, but establishing the right technology that is fit for purpose is more complex.

Many legacy systems can make it difficult to pull off meaningful data, let alone to integrate with other areas of the business that may gain value from data insights. The rise of APIs in the payment process, however, is making it easier to integrate with existing systems and give businesses greater flexibility to customize reporting.

Our APIs allow clients to build a profile of their customers’ behaviours. For example, you can track top customers by payment volume, payment value, or analyse trends on the currencies that customers pay out in and the countries that they do business with. These insights can then easily be extracted in a format that can be linked to existing reporting systems, making understanding your data a doddle.

Regulation and legal liability was also cited as a concern amongst the Jury (16%), closely followed by lack of explicit customer consent (9%). In Europe specifically, General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will put additional hurdles in place around the use of personal data from May 2018, meaning that payments companies will have to gain explicit consent to use and access customer data.

By outsourcing payments, however, providers can rest assured that regulations are being adhered to. For example, using Currencycloud Direct or our APIs means that you can cover off all regulatory bases, including protecting customer data, while still being able to access the data collected. And you can control who within your organisation has access to that data.

Data doesn’t need to be an uphill struggle. With the right tools, payment companies can mine their data for valuable insights that can deliver tangible results to their business.