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Q&A with Mobey Forum’s ED Maikki Frisk

A little more than six months ago Maikki Frisk took the reins of the Mobey Forum, a global industry association aimed at helping banks and other financial institutions lead the future of digital financial services. She came to the organization with more than 15 years of international corporate experience at Microsoft, Nokia Corp. and Line Ltd., holding strategic, executive business development, and program and product management positions. A specialist in cloud, Internet of things (IoT) and mobile technology, she spoke with Paybefore about how she’s approaching strategy in a rapidly changing environment, what it will take for mobile payments to really catch on and how Brexit, PSD2 and fintech challengers will shape the industry.  

Paybefore: What been your big focus as the new ED of Mobey Forum?

Maikki Frisk: I love this era in digital payment and digital finance. It’s time to realize all those big and innovative plans that have been brewing since the end of the 1990s.

I was fortunate to join Mobey Forum at a time when the industry is evolving increasingly rapidly. The global banking and financial services sector is progressing the delivery of digital services. The concept of mobile means more today than 15 years ago and is much bigger than an app or feature on your mobile phone. Mobile is the freedom to engage anywhere, anytime and with anyone and, similarly, Mobey Forum is expanding its focus to analyze integrated digital financial services.

A key focus for me will be to drive digital transformation initiatives to help our members stay ahead of the curve. I’ve always been interested in how digital innovations can be adopted securely across organizations to improve efficiency and enhance the customer experience while also creating a platform to drive growth. This, along with helping our members to enhance their digital customer interactions and respond to changing regulations, will be a key focus for me as executive director.

I’m looking forward to this period as well as continuing our core activities: delivering a unique quality of insight—content you cannot Google—together with meaningful interactions and collaborative opportunities for our members.

Paybefore: What will it take to drive more adoption of mobile payments?

MF: Mobile payments are increasing in popularity day by day, particularly following the introduction of mobile apps like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. The industry is busy working on the technology rollout—there is a lot to work through and, globally, it’s proving to be a slower process than any of us would like.

User-friendly solutions, understanding service design and the end-to-end experience, from the point when the customer considers acquiring a product or service to the moment they’re in receipt of their purchase, are all fundamental to driving adoption.

A cultural change among the banking sector is necessary. The industry must come together to create secure transaction environments, facilitate seamless payments and deliver these services in line with the end user’s preference.

Although Mobey Forum is bank-led, it supports a variety of mobile financial services stakeholders in its membership and always has encouraged collaboration. Our wide-ranging members not only gain valuable insight from the traditional banking sector but also share their industry knowledge and discuss upcoming influential issues, including m-commerce.

User-friendly solutions, understanding service design and the end-to-end experience, from the point when the customer considers acquiring a product or service to the moment they’re in receipt of their purchase, are all fundamental to driving adoption.

Paybefore: What will PSD2 mean for payment providers 12-18 months from now? How important will it be?

MF: The PSD2 regulation calls for strong customer authentication, secure communications and increased innovation from third-party providers, which altogether is a huge and exciting opportunity for a whole new world. These issues will have wide-reaching implications for the payments industry, not just from a technical integration perspective but also from the end user’s perspective.

To do this right, payment providers of all kinds need to consider how PSD2 will affect their business over the next 12-18 months and beyond, including how to overcome any short-term challenges so they can leverage the golden opportunities these changes will generate in the longer term.

Adopting a long-term approach to get ahead of regulation requirements will highlight opportunities for collaboration with other financial digital stakeholders. Effective execution of this strategy will contribute to fast, convenient and intuitive user experiences and propel payment providers—as well as other financial ecosystem players—to greater success in the future.

Paybefore: What can we expect from fintech and payment challengers and disruptors?

MF: The payment scene has been shaken up with new European regulations covering digital payments and consumer privacy. New players and disruptors are entering the marketplace and banks are facing the reality of adopting a completely new way of viewing their solutions, offer and customer base. Through PSD2 enforcement, nonbanks will receive standardized access to customer bank account data while General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) promotes consumer ownership of their own data.

This will have wide-ranging ramifications for businesses of all sizes, as well as governments and individual consumers. For example, the fines that businesses will now be subject to if they fail to comply with the new legislation can reach as high as €20 million (US$23.6 million), or 4 percent of the business’ total turnover (whichever is higher). Data processors and controllers also will face much higher accountability, while consumers’ data rights (including the right to be forgotten) will be extended. GDPR marks an unprecedented change in the way businesses interact with their customers’ data, so all stakeholders in the payments industry must be ready to adapt.

Paybefore: How will Brexit affect things?

MF: Despite Brexit, the U.K. will obviously want to continue to engage with Europe and the EU. In terms of payments, this means it must continue to align itself with EU payments regulations, regardless of whether it will be bound by them. PSD2 is the most influential of these and will come into force well before Brexit actually occurs, so the U.K.’s compliance here is a given. This is a good thing. The open banking revolution being triggered by PSD2 has such tremendous opportunity for all stakeholders that the U.K.’s banks and payment challengers will not want to be left behind.

In many ways, open banking will help the U.K. once Brexit has occurred. Bank-to-bank transfers can be simplified, account information exchanged and security bolstered. Systems integration and harmonization will be given a massive boost, making it easier for an independent U.K. financial services industry to continue to participate in the global economy.

Paybefore: What’s most exciting about the future of mobile payments?

MF: The future is not about the payment process; it’s about the delivery of the ultimate user experience. Looking at what consumers expect from their payment experience has limitations. Innovation can transform customer expectations quicker than we can dream of. The payments industry will benefit from digging deeper into consumer behavior.

Understanding, interpreting and acting upon the micro-moments of the consumer’s behavior are key. Partnership and collaboration across the industry is essential to produce personalized shopping experiences for an increasingly connected consumer base.

Digital transformation is happening all around us and will have a dramatic impact on the world of payments—much of which will become intangible. Who pays whom and how when a consumer wants to recreate a Disney figure, generate custom-made glasses or tailor-make a skirt with a 3D printer?

Thanks to IoT connectivity, street lamps will order and pay for their own maintenance. Smart buildings will self-regulate their support facilities (air conditioning and lighting) to minimize their energy consumption and reduce overheads. We’re looking at a world that’s soon to include the Internet of Everything.

In the mass-market adoption of m-commerce, digital wallet technology will only be adopted if the user is delivered rich content. Today’s savvy shoppers want loyalty rewards, special offers and shopping experiences precisely tailored to their tastes and requirements. The smartphone is the most popular device on the planet and the market potential of m-commerce over the next 10 to 20 years is mind-blowing.

Those who truly understand and facilitate the digital realm will create the winning formula for all consumer experiences. A prospect that I relish with genuine optimism!

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