David Campoy, vice president and general manager for France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Poland and Sweden at TNS, tells PaymentEye about the unique opportunities and challenges of the European payments market, and the company’s new conversion solution.
In a previous interview, Lisa Shipley (TNS’ executive vice president) told us that when it comes to payments, key players in the European market are missing cross-border connectivity. How do TNS’ conversion solutions address this?
The globalisation of the payments industry we were talking about five years ago is real today, and it’s clear that European markets need much more cross-border connectivity.
The pan-European SEPA directive, which will make it possible for merchants to accept payments anywhere in Europe, definitively implicates the need for connecting platforms and players across the region. TNS is in a unique position to allow that.
Merchants, processors, acquirers and other payment service providers will need footprints and opportunities to expand, which is where we fit in as we have points-of-presence around the world as well as extended know-how of global and local specifics. Whenever a customer needs a point-of-presence that we don’t have, we can implement it rapidly.
Tell us more about TNS’ message conversion solution. What was the thinking behind developing it?
Our new conversion solution brings together three different solutions within TNS. The first is a cross-border solution that allows French customers to make payments using their local cards at a POS in Belgium, and pay the domestic interchange instead of the international interchange. This solution can be adapted to work in other countries around the world. Since we put this first solution in place, cross-border interchange has decreased but there is still a significant need due to the protocol and format complexities between countries.
The second was a solution for our French customers who want to aggregate transactions across several countries (including Spain and Italy) and process those transactions centrally in a single platform based in France. The third solution, called TNSConnect2All, allows payment players access to a multitude of processors and acquirers across the US.
The benefits of bringing these three solutions together allows retailers, processors and acquirers to expand internationally much more rapidly. It also lowers overall costs thanks to the lower ticket of entrance and getting to critical mass in a very effective and secure way.
What other challenges are payment service providers in France currently facing? How do they differ from those faced by merchants in the rest of the world?
In France specifically, the interchange fee for payment transactions is low. This leaves less money in the pot to absorb changes related to regulation or disruptive technologies. However, they stay very strong on the fraud management side as well as very dynamic and innovative when it comes to technologies and solutions.
Are there any untapped opportunities for FinTech providers in France?
We are very close to a few start-ups in France that are bringing new perspective to the consumer and the retailer experiences, including omnichannel. Another opportunity that we are looking into is the Internet of Things as we have experienced being ahead in many aspects.
How do you expect the payments landscape to change in the next five years or so?
The implementation of SEPA will make a big impact, as it will be imposed upon players across the region. We can also see that big data and its availability is going to be a very strong trend across Europe, though when we help our customers and partners in this arena we must be careful as it’s a very delicate subject.
The national debit schemes in Europe is another trend – we’re seeing that some local debit schemes, which are very strong in some countries, are starting to think about working with each other to allow the card holders to travel and make payments with their local debit cards all over Europe.
One last trend that we can see happening is instant payment, which will soon become a reality.
We’re already preparing for these payment trends which we predict will be happening sooner rather than later and TNS is at the right place at the right time to engage.
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