The world is becoming real-time — real-time decision-making, real-time experiences, real-time customer service, and real-time payments. The Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the use of digital payments as nobody wants to deal with cash. Once seen as a convenience, digital payments have become a necessity. Even as the pandemic eventually fades and society returns to normal, permanent shifts in the behaviours and preferences of consumers and businesses will lead to the increased use of cashless payments being here to stay.
Unfortunately, today’s global payments don’t quite facilitate these changed behaviours. As consumers begin to expect their payments to mimic their digital lives, a clear need to modernise the payment rails for a 24/7 digital economy is arising. And while countries such as Singapore already have real-time payment infrastructure in place, it is time to adopt an even more futuristic approach.
The long-term impact of Covid-19 will be the creation of a world that accepts its fate in cyberspace. Businesses and consumers alike need to evolve, and the global payments ecosystem must become agile and open to innovation without compromising the financial stability upon which the infrastructure is built.
The following three jobs will make real-time payments a reality for banks and other financial institutions in a world that looks and feels considerably different. They’re not science fiction ― they’re jobs HR department will have to fill before very long, and this is how the job descriptions will read.
Job Description #1. CEO — Cashless Society
Covid-19 has changed how consumers see the world. Cash and ATM touchscreens are now seen as unclean, and potentially unsafe. Your response to this new perspective is to turn our society cashless. We are keen to establish a separate ‘cashless society unit’ to lead the cashless movement, improve financial inclusion and foster economic development by making payments both invisible and frictionless. We’re looking for a world-class, seasoned executive to establish and lead our cashless society initiative. As a CEO, you will oversee the cashless efforts by measuring the impact of instant payment platforms on individuals, businesses and our overall society. You’ll hire a dedicated team of technologists, strategists, engineers, and others to lead the cashless initiative. In particular, the executive will perform five primary responsibilities to turn our vision into reality:
Develop cash-to-cashless matrix: You will be responsible for developing and tracking the cash-to-cashless ratio and providing recommendations on improving the cashless rate. You will use AI-tools to analyse and evaluate cashless data, prepare forecast reports, and take the necessary steps in moving us towards a cashless society.
Integrate voice and contactless payments with instant payment infrastructure seamlessly. In a survey taken right before Covid-19 hit, 46 per cent of Southeast Asian consumers said they would buy something recommended by a voice assistant. Can you imagine what that number might be now? We need to ensure that our instant payment infrastructure is voice-ready to make payments natural and seamless. You will establish and enforce voice payment policies, as well as the necessary frameworks to make voice integral to our payment infrastructure. The role will also require new guidelines for contactless payments (wave and pay through mobile, wearables, and connected devices) to be developed and integrated within the instant payment system.
Ensure data protection and transparency: Data has the potential to transform the payment industry value chain. In a country like Singapore that aims to be cheque-free by 2025 , both opportunity and risk of unlocking business value through new products and
services abound. You’ll recommend new measures to establish greater international consistency on data protection and privacy laws and define who should control data, how the rules are enforced and create mutual agreements on data privacy to unlock new
business value. Creating data transparency at the core of a cashless society will be critical.
Create a payment continuity plan. You’ll plan and create business and technology frameworks to manage unforeseen circumstances related to payments: For instance, ensuring smooth payment flow in case of a cyber calamity or attack.
Implement awareness programmes. With recent events deterring the prevalent ‘cash is king’ mindset in Singapore, we finally have a chance to show consumers the comforts of going all-in with using digital payments rather than dealing in cash. You will collaborate with the other senior leaders within the organisation to craft and execute strategies to educate consumers and raise awareness of the benefits of contactless and cashless payments.
Job Description #2. Cyber Fraud Forecaster
As Covid-19 pushes a growing number of users online for work, commerce, and banking, fraudsters are finding new ways to lure users into their traps. It is paramount for us to protect against the misuse of our online payment platform as fraudsters try to take advantage of instant payments to cash-out before they can be detected. The speed and ease of a real-time payment system appeals to fraudsters and adds to the security challenge. We need to proactively predict instant payment fraud trends in the near-to-distant future so that financial institutions, businesses and individuals can better protect themselves.
The position of fraud forecaster is an opportunity to join our Fraud Detection Research Centre and help make instant payments 100 per cent secure. The fraud forecaster’s primary task will be to build various online fraud scenarios and predict their impact. You will work in a team environment at our global research centre, developing machine-learning driven statistical models and providing reliable, skilled guidance to forecast lead times up to two weeks ahead. In particular, the forecaster will be responsible for the
Providing analytical, advisory, and technical expertise in assessing current and predicted payment environments, and issuing alert bulletins and forecasts accordingly.
Performing assessments to determine the potential for impact on individuals and financial institutions, and recommending changes, as required.
Publishing a cyber-fraud forecast accuracy measurement index to identify false/inaccurate forecasts and to improve the accuracy of future forecasts.
Job Description #3. Payment Experience Officer
If it takes more than a few seconds for customers to make a payment, they won’t bother. Consumers want ease of use, fast and frictionless payments that flow smoothly into their lives. We want to make payment an experience, not just a transaction. We are looking for an ambitious individual to enhance and innovate our instant payment services infrastructure proactively as a Payment Experience Officer. You will conduct benchmarking and research activities on payment services provided across various markets to measure the impact of our instant payment platform on customer experience, and compare it against leading businesses globally.
Reporting to the executive board, you will also run experience innovation hacks by involving multiple stakeholders, including banks, start-ups, payment service providers, businesses, among others, to assess, adjust and innovate payment services. You will establish a team of researchers, analysts, consultants, and forecasters to challenge every underlying principle of the payment experience, uncover new and hidden opportunities, and advise institutions on their payment experience strategies. Ultimately, the payment experience officer will act as a facilitator between traditional financial institutions and fintech start-ups to advance innovation, becoming a leading voice in shaping the payments experience within the industry.
The writer is AVP, Centre for the Future of Work – Asia Pacific, at Cognizant