Banks, digital payment businesses and consumer technology companies all want to improve and complement the services they offer, but building such services in house can be costly and a drain on resources. When it comes to evolving digital payment services and increasing their reach, partnerships are a powerful way of achieving both and can be a win for everybody.
What follows are some of the most notable partnership initiatives to further the development of digital payments services:
Citi’s consumer payments platform
Citigroup has been developing a consumer payments offering for its institutional clients. The intention with Spring by CitiSM is to build a comprehensive consumer payments solution, integrated with its market-leading transaction banking proposition.
Citi recently announced additional partnerships to support the product, incorporating both Global Payments’ card processing solutions and PPRO’s access to local payment methods within the offering.
Spring by Citi will enable digital commerce for clients by extending Citi’s presence and capabilities offered to institutional clients. Through the Mastercard payment gateway, Citi will offer institutional merchants the ability to collect from a wide range of payment methods, including cards, e-wallets and new and innovative bank transfers such as Request to Pay, Instant Payments and Open Banking. In turn, their customers will have access to a variety of payment methods of their choice.
“These partnerships are core to our building an end-to-end offering of transaction banking services, centralised under a single relationship and supported by fintech partners that accelerate the delivery of innovative solutions,” said Manish Kohli, the global head of payments and receivables, treasury and trade solutions at Citi.
Singtel's regional e-payment alliance
Another significant digital payments partnership is the VIA mobile payment alliance, led by Singapore-based mobile operator Singtel.
Singaporean bank OCBC joined the alliance in October, meaning its customers could soon go cashless in Thailand and Japan, thanks to having the ability to pay using QR codes.
By Q1 2020, QR code payments will be available to customers at more than 1.7 million merchant partners on VIA’s network through the OCBC Pay Anyone app. The partnership also promises competitive and transparent exchange rates.
The OCBC app now also allows clients who are Singtel Dash users to top up their Dash accounts. And the app will allow peer-to-peer e-payments to anyone with a Singapore mobile number or PayNow directly from customer bank accounts.
Launched in October 2018, the VIA alliance aims to unify e-payments across the Asia Pacific region. It hopes to add further partners in Malaysia and Indonesia. OCBC is the first Singaporean bank to join the alliance and the second regionally after Thailand’s Kasikornbank.
European mobile payment alliance
Seven European mobile payment systems joined forces in September to better develop cross-border contactless payments.
The European Mobile Payment System Association is focused on making it possible to use any of the seven members’ mobile payment systems seamlessly across Belgium, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland and four Nordic nations. The alliance combines 25 million registered users, around one million merchant acceptance points and more than 350 partner banks.
The alliance is seen as an attempt to create a regional standard for smartphone payments that does not require Apple, Google, Visa or Mastercard.
Mastercard partners for cross-border payments and e-payments
Like its global competitors, Mastercard has used partnerships to enhance its presence and capabilities in certain niche areas of digital payments.
Mastercard is researching blockchain technology to allow banks to provide quicker and more efficient payment services to their clients. As part of this, the company partnered with R3, the inventor of the Corda DLT (distributed ledger technology) platform, in September to create a platform for frictionless international payments based on blockchain.
Mastercard blockchain cross-border payments should help banks and various financing institutions to provide cost-effective services.
Earlier in the year, the company partnered with European mobile point-of-sale company SumUp to increase the number of electronic payment acceptance locations across 27 European countries. The partnership enables micro businesses and SMEs to accept electronic payment via SumUp card readers by card and digital-enabled devices, such as smartphones, smartwatches or wristbands.