Julian Sawyer, Starling Bank: “Innovation will be driven by organisations focusing on customer needs”
EPS Speaker Spotlight
During this year’s edition of the European Payment Summit (EPS), Julian Sawyer, COO and Co-Founder of Starling Bank, will be joining the on-stage discussions on current industry developments, the changing dynamics of payments/ transactions and what threats and opportunities new business models present for the industry:
What are the key points that you will be discussing at the upcoming EPS edition?
Julian Sawyer: The world of payments is changing. Payments can be and should be a classed as a utility, which means they should be provided by another organisation consistently, reliably and securely. Starling’s Banking Services division provides Payments as a Service, thereby changing the way payments are consumed and providing new opportunities for exciting new business models.
At the European Payments Summit we will explore some of these new business models, together with the threats and opportunities Payments as a Service present for the rest of the industry.
In your opinion, what are the key elements driving digital transformation in Europe?
JS: Customer demand and rapid / powerful execution led by new challengers. Customers are seeing a fundamental change in their banking experience led by banking technology companies like Starling. With no legacy, better technology platforms and different ways of working enable a new generation of customer centric technology solutions.
Regulation – do you consider it an impediment or a key factor towards innovation?
JS: I think innovation will always be driven by organisations focusing on customer needs and demands. Regulation will not lead this drive, but hopefully will continue to support it.
From your perspective, what is the impact of PSD2 on challenger banks and FinTech companies?
JS: PSD2 provides opportunities for innovative products and solutions. Over time, I’m sure we will see some ‘killer’ applications that change the way people manage their money, although outside of the financial services industry, this is not really a hot topic.
Some industry voices argue that PSD2 and the Open Banking initiative are yet to have a serious impact on the UK‘s banking and payments sector. What are your thoughts on this?
JS: Innovation doesn’t often come from regulation. At Starling, we have developed a comprehensive set of APIs for the past two years. We already have a number of partners who consume these and provide a better product or service for our joint customers. These shifts in customer behaviour and trust take time – we are still at the Innovator stage of product maturity.
At present we are confronted with massive innovative ideas and products. The fragmentation on payment solutions is quite a challenge for customers. We feel that the next move will be a consolidation and rationalization of payment solutions. Alignments in services and schemes, offered. Cooperation will become the keyword as sustainable solutions that really add value to customers will prevail.
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