Change Financial Chief Product Office, Vinnie D’Alessandro wrote an opinion piece for Dynamic Business about how Australian fintechs can lead the way in the US payments space.
The US is a key player in the global financial system. Yet it appears to be lagging behind the global frontier when it comes to adopting modern payment solutions.Vinnie D’Alessandro
Having just returned from my first international vacation since COVID, I’m sharing my views on the changing cashless payments in Japan.
It’s my sixth trip to the Land of the Rising Sun since 2004 and it’s been interesting to see how the country and society has developed over those years.
- I used to feel like the tallest person on the Tokyo Metro, but the younger generation are growing taller
- I still marvel at the infrastructure and technology, especially their highspeed Shinkansen railway and innovative car scene
- Their ability to intertwine other cultures and yet remain quintessentially Japanese, is amazing to witness
Despite the advanced nature of their society, Japan curiously lags in digital payments.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) released a plan in 2018 called the “Cashless Vision,” which outlines measures to increase the use of digital payments in the country. The goal of the plan is to increase cashless transactions to 40% by 2025 in an effort to move Japan towards becoming a cashless society. Yet Australia was already sitting at less 63% cashless transactions back in 2019. It’s a strange situation.
So, on my travels through Japan’s major metropolises, regional cities and small towns, I made note of my payment experiences. Maybe COVID had accelerated cashless options, like it had in Australia.
Cash is king
I did not find one venue, store, vending machine or hotel where I couldn’t pay in cash. At one of the large US coffee chains stores, they refused to take any card payment, cash only!
There was not a day where didn’t get cash out of my wallet or fish through my pockets for loose change. Compared to Australia, where many venues are cashless, it’s a jarring experience.
Card payments abound – but it’s inconsistent
Card payments (my weapon of choice was Mastercard plastic) were widely available, with swipe and insert the preferred method.
Most transactions were auto approved but some required signatures, which I haven’t used in Australia for more than a year. I don’t remember using my PIN but signed at least 5 receipts. Thankfully I had no rejected card payments over during my travels.
EMV and NFC – sort of, sometimes
The EMV symbol was visible at most point of sales, however it often wasn’t working or not offered as an option. I’d usually be ushered to insert the card, or they’d simply say it wasn’t available.
I tried to use my Mastercard via Apple Pay and shocked some retail assistants when it worked. I’d show them my card on the phone, just to confirm it was a legitimate card payment. Suffice to say, they aren’t big on digital pays. The Japanese love their signage at POS but there were very few that had the Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay logos.
Alternative payments – IC a future here.
I started to use my transport card PASMO card for some payments. PASMO is one of the many regional options for IC (integrated circuit) cards, which are RFID based cards that dominate the transport payment space. The acceptance levels were high, especially in vending machines and retail chains.
Whereas Australian public transport is moving towards open loop card payments, Japan’s existing transport payment infrastructure could help drive cashless payments in the medium term.
There were a variety of other payment options too, but again no dominate method had the consistency of acceptance quite like cash.
Cash and coins still required
Unfortunately, those wanting a completely cashless experience in Japan, you’ll be waiting a while.
You could navigate a path without using cash, but it’s just easier to have a couple of 1000s and a fistful of coins to ensure you can always transact.
PaySim is Change Financial’s payment testing and simulation tool. With PaySim, you can easily and accurately test your payment systems to ensure that they are working properly and compliant with industry regulations.
Here we’ll explore why PaySim is an essential tool for optimising your payment systems and processes.
Automation has become an increasingly important part of the financial industry, and payment testing tools are a key aspect of this trend. Banks and fintech companies are using these tools to streamline their payment processes, improve efficiency, and reduce the risk of errors and fraud.
Payment testing tools are software programs that automate the testing of payment systems. This includes everything from the initial transaction request to the final confirmation that the payment has been completed successfully. These tools can simulate a wide range of payment scenarios, allowing banks and fintech companies to test their systems thoroughly and ensure that they are working properly.
Compliance and scheme tools generally operate on a single transaction at a time, however using PaySim allows you to automate thousands of transactions.
Automated testing allows organizations to run more tests in less time, giving them a more comprehensive view of their payment systems and allowing them to identify and fix any issues more quickly.
Return on Investment (ROI)
One of the key benefits of using payment testing tools is that they can help banks and fintech companies to save time and money. Traditional payment testing methods are often time-consuming and labour-intensive, requiring teams of testers to manually carry out tests and analyse the results. This can be a costly and inefficient process, especially for large organizations with complex payment systems.
Other alternatives such as reliance on compliance and scheme tools which are designed for one off certification and to test transactions one at a time is also time consuming and costly compared to automating your day to day transactions via payments testing tools.
Another important benefit of payment testing tools is that they can help banks and fintech companies to reduce the risk of errors and fraud. Payment systems are vulnerable to a wide range of potential issues, from technical glitches to malicious attacks. By using payment testing tools to simulate different scenarios, banks and fintech companies can identify potential vulnerabilities and take steps to fix them before they cause any problems.
In addition to improving efficiency and reducing the risk of errors and fraud, payment testing tools can also help banks and fintech companies to stay compliant with industry regulations as well as up to date with ever changing scheme mandates. Payment systems are subject to a wide range of rules and regulations, and it is important for organizations to ensure that their systems are compliant with these rules.
On top of the regulations are the various mandated specifications required by banks and fintechs to adhere to. By using PaySim, banks and fintech companies can test their systems to ensure that they are compliant with the latest regulations and using the latest scheme mandates, helping them to avoid transaction failures, costly fines and other penalties.
Overall, PaySim is essential for banks and fintech companies looking to improve their payment processes and reduce the risk of errors and fraud. By automating the testing process, PaySim can help organizations to save time and money, improve their efficiency, and stay compliant with industry regulations.
For more information on PaySim or to arrange a demo, reach out to our sales team.
To see all the features of PaySim, check out our roadmap.
When it comes to choosing a new card payment platform, there are certain technical features that are essential for ensuring a smooth, convenient, and secure experience. Here are the five essential technical features to look for in a card payment platform:
- Integration with digital wallets: Digital wallet platforms like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s important to choose a card payment platform that can integrate with these systems. This will allow you to make payments using your digital wallet, which can be more convenient and secure than using a physical card.
- APIs for mobile development and integration: If you’re a developer or you plan to integrate the payment platform into your own mobile or web-based application, it’s important to choose a platform that offers APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for easy integration. This will allow you to customize the payment experience and build a seamless integration into your application.
- Cardholder self-service: To give cardholders more control and convenience, look for a card payment platform that offers self-service features such as the ability to reset a PIN, block a lost or stolen card, or pause a card temporarily. These features can be especially useful in the event of a lost or stolen card, or if you need to take a break from using your card for a while.
- Security and fraud protection: Finally, it’s essential to choose a card payment platform that offers robust security and fraud protection measures. This can include features like 3D Secure (3DS), which is a security protocol that helps to protect online card transactions, as well as encrypted data transmission, secure servers, and regular security updates.
- Virtual cards: Another useful feature to look for is the ability to create virtual cards. Virtual cards are digital versions of physical cards that can be used for online transactions, and they offer a number of benefits. For example, you can create separate virtual cards for different types of purchases or for different family members, which can help to keep your finances organized and separate. Virtual cards also offer an extra layer of security, as they can’t be lost or stolen like physical cards can.
Vertexon: delivering modern card payment solutions
Vertexon is a Payment as a Service (PaaS) platform developed by Change Financial. It is designed to provide modern and digital payment experiences for businesses and consumers.
One of the key features of Vertexon is its integration with digital wallets. This allows users to store and manage their payment information in a digital wallet, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung, and make payments online or in-store using their mobile device.
Vertexon also includes APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow businesses to integrate the platform into their own systems and processes. This can enable them to create customised payment experiences for their customers.
Cardholder self-service is another feature of Vertexon. This allows cardholders to manage their own card and PIN, and check their transaction history.
Security and fraud protection are also important considerations for any payment platform. Vertexon includes multiple layers of security to protect against fraud and unauthorized transactions, including encryption, secure authentication, and real-time monitoring.
Finally, Vertexon supports the use of virtual cards. Virtual cards can be especially useful for businesses that need to make frequent online payments, as they can be easily generated and managed through the Vertexon platform.
Are you looking for these essential features to modernise your card platform, reach out to our sales team.
To see all the features of Vertexon, check out our roadmap.
Change Financial CPO, Vinnie D’Alessandro made an appearance on ausbiz with Kyle Rodda to discuss payments in the Australian, New Zealand and US markets.
Chris Titley, host of FinTech Australia’s podcast, sat down with Change Financial Chief Product Officer Vinnie D’Alessandro to talk about the changing landscape of payments globally with a particular focus on the Australian market.
You can find the via the link below or search for FinTech Australia Podcast – Remember your pin? in your favourite podcast app.
Having attended my first Customer Owned Banking Association conference (COBA) with Change Financial, I was hoping for a positive experience after such a long break between in person conferences and my expectations were far exceeded.
The Customer Owned Banking Association put on a wonderful event , one of the best I’ve attended in my career. Aside from the professionally executed conference, panels, sessions, food, and entertainment, it was the COBA members that had the greatest impact on me. They were open, positive, engaging, and curious.
The COBA 2022 conference panels, sessions and workshops centred around three key themes; Smart. Strong and Sustainable.
Whilst that is an accurate description of COBA member banks, I took away a different set of themes from the members in attendance: Enhance, Compete and Grow.
Enhance: Not surprisingly, COBA members were focused on their customer experience, it was central to almost every conversation I came across. There was an acceptance from members that their products and services needed to be enhanced. COVID has been a catalyst for greater investment in remote and digital bank services and COBA2022 showcased many of these new capabilities that banks can deliver to their customers.
Compete: COBA members are often competing for the same customers as the big 4 and larger tier 2 banks. Customer owned banks can’t compete with the big guys in terms of budgets, but through partners and SaaS offerings, there is an opportunity to match their services and provide a better customer value proposition. A great comment from one of our customers I spoke to was “I want to own my own destiny for card payments, but I don’t have to do it all on my own”.
Grow: Nearly every bank I spoke to wanted to grow their customer base. In particular, focus on new, younger customers to drive a sustainable future. Whilst murmurs of mergers and acquisitions continue, COBA members are keen to enhance their services, compete with the bigger players and ultimately grow their customer base.
The Change team was both encouraged and inspired by the energy, enthusiasm and positivity from the COBA team and their members. We’re looking forward to supporting the transformation journey for customer owned banks as they continue to enhance, compete, and grow to better rival the major banks in the future.
Change Financial (CCA) has announced it has been granted a Mastercard Principal Issuer licence for Prepaid and Debit cards in New Zealand.
Being a Mastercard Principal Issuer allows Change to deliver card programs to banks, credit unions, fintechs and other businesses, looking to offer digital and physical card payments to their customers.
In March 2022, Change announced an exclusive agreement to partner with Mastercard to issue prepaid and debit card products in Australia and New Zealand.
Change CEO, Alastair Wilkie commented, “We are excited to be a Mastercard Principal Issuer in New Zealand for Prepaid and Debit cards. To be granted our licence less than 6 months after our Mastercard partnership announcement is a wonderful result for both parties.”
Wilkie continued, “Our business has a long New Zealand heritage and it’s a proud moment for our business, especially our Auckland based team members. Our new capability will allow us to lower the barrier of entry for New Zealand banks, credit unions, fintechs and business to deliver innovative card solutions to their customers.”
Change also recently announced they would be issuing Mastercard debit cards for First Credit Union, Nelson Building Society, Police and Families Credit Union and Westforce Credit Union.
Change Financial Limited (ASX: CCA) released the company’s full year results for the year ended 30 June 2022 (FY22).
Change CEO and Managing Director, Alastair Wilkie commented, “This was a transformational year for Change, with the Company in a position to scale our technology offering globally. During the period, we expanded our client base from 136 across 36 countries to 156 in 41 countries, whilst also delivering key building blocks that set us up for continued success. The Change team globally has operated in challenging circumstances and they should be proud of what they have achieved in FY22.”
- FY22 revenue of US$8.3m (A$12.0m), up 32% on prior corresponding period
- Launched new Vertexon Payments as a Service (PaaS) platform
- Signed seven new Vertexon PaaS clients with total contract value anticipated to be in excess of US$12.9m (A$18.7m) over the initial terms
- Includes milestone Vertexon PaaS contracts with four New Zealand financial institutions with TCV anticipated to be in excess of US$10.5m (A$15.2m) over the initial five-year terms
- 1st US Vertexon PaaS client now live and transacting generating recurring revenues
- Signed a six-year agreement with Mastercard to enable direct issuing in Australia & New Zealand
- Received regulatory approval to enable direct issuing in New Zealand, regulatory approval in Australia is expected in coming months
To access an overview of the FY22 results and outlook for FY23, please see our Results Presentation
• Change Financial is the first non-bank business to offer New Zealand (NZ) fintechs, non-bank lenders and mutuals exclusive access to a payment Application Programming Interface (API) sandbox, previously only available through major banks.
• This free access to payment API sandbox technology ultimately enables fintech users to deliver card offerings faster to market by removing the bureaucracy and complex processes of major banks.
• Change is a card issuer in New Zealand, Australia and the United States and provides transaction processing and card management solutions in Latin America and South East Asia.
Australian based global fintech and Payments as a Service (PaaS) provider, Change Financial (Change), is the first non-bank payments specialist to launch a new payment API sandbox in New Zealand (NZ), providing fintechs, non-bank lenders and mutuals with exclusive access to this technology.
This new payment API sandbox will allow fintechs to test their digital card product and service through Changes’ Vertexon technology to improve effectiveness and efficiency whilst finessing any issues.
Demand for digital and physical card payments capabilities in New Zealand is set to rise as the e-commerce market is projected to grow by 38 percent between now and 2025, reaching US$8.8 billion, according to the March 2022 Global Payments Report.
Change CEO and Managing Director, Alastair Wilkie, explained whilst Changes’ payment API sandbox is available globally, it is particularly important for the New Zealand payments market as it is the first of its kind, allowing New Zealand fintechs access to this technology without the costs and processes attached to major banks.
Finzsoft Chief Executive, Helen Hatchard said, “Change’s new payment API sandbox will help accelerate the development of our digital services and aid growth for our New Zealand clients through innovation, supported by thorough and sophisticated development and testing.
This announcement is great news for businesses across New Zealand that are looking for physical and digital card solutions as it will provide non-bank lenders and mutuals with access to technology previously only available through the major banks,” Ms Hatchard remarked.
The 2021 Environmental Scan Report from Payments NZ notes that the need for faster, more innovative payments continues to increase, making it possible for people and businesses to better integrate their digital and physical worlds.
“Change acknowledges that the New Zealand payments space is lagging the rest of the world, and innovations like these provide fintechs with greater access to fast, reliable and well-integrated solutions that can ultimately benefit consumers,” Mr Wilkie concluded.
The API sandbox can be accessed from our Developer Resources page.