David Wiesner__Member of the Board of Directors of SIX Interbank Clearing Ltd, Member of the Executive Committee of RBA Holding Ltd and Entris Banking Ltd

Good reason for clients to be happy: greater competition

Everyone finds it hard to abandon familiar ways. But sometimes it’s worth rethinking long-established approaches and adapting to the times.

For generations we’ve been doing it like this: a company uses its accounting software to generate a customer invoice, prints it out on special preprinted invoice stationery with a payment slip, and sends it by mail. The customer then enters the payment in their e-banking application for digital processing by their bank. Or alternatively they send the payment slip with a payment instruction to their bank, which then scans in the data to “re-digitize” it. 

With so many changes of format in the process, there’s a lot of potential for error. These days there are better solutions from both an economic and an environmental perspective.

Payments harmonization is now creating the basis for digitizing the payment process from end to end. In short, the patchwork of payment solutions is being standardized to enable to world of digital payments to evolve. This will help stimulate innovation – not just at the banks. New market participants are livening up the offering with digital payment solutions.

The boundaries between different payment methods are getting increasingly fluid. In the future it won’t matter whether you’re paying for a purchase at the point of sale, online, or later via an invoice settled in your e-banking application – it will always be the same processes and technologies working in the background. The competition is taking place with the customer, not in the computing center. The digital customer interface is steadily gaining in importance. New ways for corporations and banks to differentiate are emerging along with a new financial services experience for clients.

This is creating new challenges for banks and their staff. With growing digitization and the process of feeding data into banking systems becoming increasingly straightforward, the skillsets required of many employees are shifting to new areas. Investment is needed in client-facing work and in solutions and services designed to make our private and business lives easier and more productive: technicians, product developers, and consultants face the challenge of redefining the interface to clients.

All in all, clients have every reason to be happy about this development: in the medium term interaction with their bank will become simpler, creating scope for banks to focus even more closely on the needs of their clients.