Building a successful, modern-day payments processing business

In today’s fast-paced payments world, building a processing business to meet the requirements of financial institutions (FIs) old and new, traditional and disruptive, is no mean feat. All successful large-scale projects must be built on solid foundations, with clear vision and strategy in place. In this blog, we share the five fundamental building blocks that helped grow our successful business and overcome the complexities of the modern-day payments landscape.

Build a universal processing centre that meets the requirements of FIs today. It should be flexible to adapt to unknown future requirements, beyond increased volumes and new products, extending into new product lines and new geographies and even holistic changes in deployment models from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and hosted processing to hybrid license options for FIs to build their own in-house systems. A modern-day payments processor should be able to cater for changing business and industry requirements, and enable FIs to realise the breadth of their vision, rather than a static choice between option A or option B.

Build the processing business using the right technology platform with flexibility and integration in the very DNA of its being. The underlying infrastructure and functional capabilities will dictate the long-term success and manoeuvrability of the business as a whole. The future won’tbe built on card-based systems from the 90s – the future is unwritten and needs software developed with the unknown in mind, token-based and object-oriented. Don’t shackle yourself to legacy infrastructure or a functionally limited platform and all the associated costs – both monetary and in terms of resource allocation – before you have even begun.

Build and maintain a strong and knowledgeable team of experts. Payments systems are complex, and true knowledge and expertise can only be achieved through extensive hands-on experience. From understanding the complexities of compliance to ensuring successful certifications, it takes this practical industry proficiency to create a business with staying power.

Build internal processes and procedures to both enable the efficient running of the business itself, but also to deal with the potential unknown issues of working with third parties. While the opportunity is there to maintain a level of control, ensure continuity and plan for contingencies across internal technologies and procedures. Working with sponsor banks, payment networks, cloud providers and any additional players each customer wants to work with brings its own set of complexities to manage. Being prepared and having your own house in order leaves you better equipped to deal with unforeseen events.

Build a balanced relationship with your customers. The master/ slave relationship is an antiquated approach. On the one hand, processors should not call all the shots and create vendor lock-in whereby customers can’t explore new and lucrative avenues of business growth. On the other, your customers need to take advantage of your expertise to build comprehensive strategies that will increase both of your bottom lines, creating a symbiotic and sustainable partnership.