Digital transformation is taking the world by storm. From healthcare to retail, utilities to transport, the roll-out of innovative technology systems and processes is helping organisations all over the world become more agile and efficient. Yet no sector is primed for this kind of disruption quite as fully as financial services.
At Optal, we’re tapping this appetite for digital change to rewrite the rulebook on B2B payments. We’ll be sharing more at an event at the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) to coincide with Start-up Week Dublin this week.
Out with the old
Digital transformation in financial services is everywhere today, as firms compete to improve customer loyalty, create new revenue streams and increase market share. According to an Accenture study earlier this year, 90% of financial firms have a long-term plan for technology innovation, with 41% already investing in artificial intelligence and 37% expecting to put money into blockchain projects over the coming years. New European banking rules are also driving change, by enforcing a level playing field in the market to empower a new breed of innovation.
However, B2B payments have historically been something of a backwater for financial services innovation — despite accounting for billions of annual transactions across the EU. Legacy methods including cheques and bank transfers are riven with cost and complexity — often stemming from manual processes that in turn can lead to human error. Reconciliation alone costs FTSE350 firms on average over €638,000 annually because of these issues.
In with the new
That’s why Optal is pioneering a new way to optimise B2B payments. Our Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) platform automates and digitises manual, error-riven processes so that finance teams can pay suppliers seamlessly. These 16-digit card numbers are generated for one-time use, and enriched data can be added to each transaction for automatic and immediate reconciliation, reducing fraud risk in the process.
What’s more, the supplier uses the VAN to pull the cash from the card scheme, which means finance departments do not need to store their payment details. This has two additional benefits: it reduces data security risks on the buyer’s side.
Optal is also innovating through its Invapay business, which enables businesses to maximise their working capital by using unutilised commercial credit lines to pay all of their suppliers — even ones that don’t accept cards.
At the event
Together, these digital platforms are already transforming business for organisations across the globe — reducing cost, complexity and risk and improving revenues. In some sectors like insurance, there’s also a strong link between prompt, error-free supplier payments and the quality of services provided to policyholders.
Darragh Deady, General Manager of Optal’s Irish business, Optal Financial Europe Ltd, will be sharing more info on these platforms and his thoughts on digital transformation in the industry as a whole, at the BPFI’s upcoming lunch-time event. Set to coincide with Start-up Week Dublin, the theme for the discussion is: “What does digitisation really mean for financial services?” These are exciting times for the industry as digital innovation continues to rewrite the rules of what’s possible.
What: BPFI panel discussion: “What does Digitisation really mean for Financial Services?”
Where: BPFI, One Molesworth Street, Dublin
When: 12.30 – 14.00, 22 October 2019