Even before the pandemic, the pace of innovation in the UK banking and payments industry was head-spinning. Open Banking, fintech disruptors, challenger banks and constant regulatory change were already shaking things up. And Coronavirus has only accelerated the need to rethink and transform payment processes.

Back in 2019, the World Payment Report¹ summed it up well: “The payments industry is at a juncture, facing dynamic innovation and the continued disruption of its traditional value chain and service propositions.” For companies who make a lot of international payments, all this change creates real potential for dramatically improving processes, manageability and transparency – while driving down costs. One thing is clear: your business bank is no longer the only option for paying across borders.

Opening up choice

As they cherry-pick the most attractive segments of the banking market, a new wave of fintech startups have turned to international payments as lucrative territory for innovation. These new players create more choice for businesses – but they each treat international payments differently, with real implications for payers. Before switching to a new payments provider, it’s important to understand what that will mean, in terms of costs, efficiencies and transparency.

When the underlying ‘payment rails’ change, the ripples can affect all of your AP systems and workflows. Clearly, it’s a good time to consider non-bank options. Traditional banks can be limited by compliance and technology, which drive up costs, slow down payments and create extra processes.

In contrast, the fintech payment platforms use the latest cloud-based technologies, carrying real advantages when making cross border payments. For instance, they may be connected to a range of different payment rails, so you can choose your payment routing mix to optimise for costs or speed.

The inherent efficiencies and automations behind the fintech payment platforms can also mean later cut-off times for making payments than the banks offer. That means you have a bigger window for submitting payments for same-day processing.


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