Payments in a digital world: the need for agile innovation in merchant acquiring

Change is constant. Recognising and adapting to a changing marketplace is critical for organisations and agility is often considered key to surviving in a globalised, technology-driven world.

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of UK Finance or its members.

According to KPMG, 81 per cent of respondents have initiated an agile transformation in the past three years, highlighting its importance in the workplace.

Agile businesses do it differently
An agile business is one that doesn't shy away from doing things differently. And the most successful always look for ways to enhance and grow. This hunger to improve is equally applicable to those dealing with the customer journey in the Payments world.

For a customer, a transaction can merely require a simple tap of their card and is completed instantaneously. But behind every payment, there is a complex web of communication between financial institutions—all made possible through the acquirer. If a transaction doesn’t go through, it’s the acquirer that resolves the issue.

Traditionally, the acquiring market has been somewhat fragmented, with local payment options differing dramatically between countries. Merchants were limited to local acquirers, which typically offered a strong domestic footprint and capabilities within their market, or international acquirers, which offered better coverage of international payments but at a significantly higher price.

À la carte acquiring
However, the development and subsequent rise of ‘à la carte’ acquiring allows merchants a route out of this complexity through a bespoke solution: the best combination of acquirers, depending on their needs, through a single omnichannel gateway. As a result of this, merchants are connected to a number of local acquirers, which enables them to access both local schemes and pricing while allowing merchants to extend their reach with an international acquirer.

‘À la carte’ acquiring has gained traction in recent years as merchants demand a smarter, more efficient way of processing transactions that save both time and money. Using 'à la carte" acquiring enables merchants to optimise their acquiring solution to their business needs while minimising excessive acquiring costs.

Agility in action
It also enables domestic merchants to accept a broader range of payments, ultimately enhancing bottom-line growth potential. An ‘à la carte’ acquiring solution is a powerful example of agility in action, a willingness to react to and bring enhanced cutting-edge solutions to a digitally driven set of challenges.

Many of the issues, developments, and longer-term changes highlighted above are primarily focused on benefiting merchants. However, for all businesses, there is a correlated trickle-down effect on the end consumer. Customers expect convenience and speed, in the format and device of their choosing, at every point in the transaction chain. To meet the expectations of the hyper-connected customer and deliver unrivalled customer service, businesses must embrace technology and prepare to pivot.

In other words, when agile ways of working are adopted  such as ;à la carte’ acquiring, the benefits ripple out. Better value for money, streamlined operations, and importantly, an enhanced customer experience.

Discover more about Worldline's acquiring services here.