Earlier this month, Melissa Smith, CEO of leading global corporate payments solution provider WEX, offered PYMNTS her perspective on the methods and strategies behind globalizing a corporate payments business. Smith discussed the trends and challenges she sees in the space today, and how she plans to lead WEX into further expansion of its global footprint.
More recently, Smith took a panelist seat during the “From Payments To Commerce” discussion at Innovation Project 2015. The conversations centered on how payments will become more critical the less visible they become. Smith, among other top payments execs, shared her experience in meshing mobile, data, the cloud and apps to make payments important yet invisible.
Fresh out of the discussion, PYMNTS caught up with Smith once again to gain her insights on issues and opportunities that came up, such as the concept of removing friction from the customer experience, and the growing need for data.
"I think the No. 1 takeaway was how we’re all looking at things from very different lenses, but we’re actually looking at a lot of the same issues and opportunities,” said Smith. “There’s been a lot of discussion on how data is becoming more important to the end user, and how technology is changing rapidly, but also becoming less expensive, which is affecting adoption."
The one point Smith said she would have liked to bring across to the audience was the fact that WEX, focused on B2B payments, thinks about innovation as it relates to data collection – from the very beginning of the process to how the data is presented to businesses, solving their problems in a targeted way.
"Then, we look at how we reconcile into those businesses’ systems in a way that’s seamless, so they can spend time on the things they should be spending time on, in turn generating more revenue,” she said.
For WEX specifically, Smith noted earlier this month that in the future, the company’s continuous investment in its technology would pay dividends in the marketplace.
As for the industry as a whole, when asked where she saw it five years from now, Smith emphasized that rapid change would turn it into something very different.
"That’s really the exciting part,” said Smith. “There was a discussion during the panel, for example, about checks still making up 50 percent of payments – that’s prevalent with small businesses. And I think when you flash forward five years from now, people will be paying electronically much more prevalently than they are right now. The mechanisms, and the way you can insert beacons into payments, and the whole experience will be very different."