NEW DATA: The Four Things That Define A Top FI Payments Performer

The financial services industry is no stranger to innovation, but it increasingly appears that change in the space is being driven by outsiders instead of the financial heavyweights.

For several years, upstart challengers, rather than traditional banks, have been pushing a wide range of tech-powered financial innovations aimed at addressing the needs of consumers and companies alike. After years of watching these financial newcomers dominate the innovations scene, though, traditional banks are fighting back — and scrambling to roll out their own suites of new products and services.

In many ways, financial institutions (FIs) are competing in a Darwinian world. Traditional banks and FIs can either keep up with the pace of innovation or risk losing customers to disruptive innovators. These institutions are acting on the realization that only the strongest — or most innovative — FIs will survive.

But, lost in that scramble to innovate is an FI’s lifeblood — revenue. High tech comes with high costs, and nearly 90 percent of banks say they lose revenue due to the price of FinTech innovation. Even so, 77 percent say they plan to step up their innovation in the years to come, lest they fall behind these FinTech challengers.

So, which of these innovations work, which don’t and how can banks and FIs know the difference?

That’s the question the Top Payments Performer edition of the Innovation Readiness Playbook seeks to answer. The Playbook examines the elements that separate the best innovators, and innovations, from those in the middle of the pack.

The good news? PYMNTS research indicates that traditional FIs have a fighting chance, and can even be top performers if they make smart investments. That means carefully planning innovation strategies and not being shy about allocating money to make that happen.  

There’s more to finding success than just planning and funding, though. Making it to the top also requires the right mixture of infrastructure and innovation speed. The Playbook breaks that down.

Other key takeaways include that:

  • Planning is crucial — 100 percent of Top Performers defined priorities for the next three years, and 80 percent focused on innovating features over that same time frame.
  • Money talks — 87 percent of top performers allocate more funding for payments innovation than any other area, and 73 percent allocated at least half their budgets to innovation.
  • Existing infrastructure helps — 73 percent of top performers boasted current core systems that are well-suited for innovation, and 60 percent had existing IT infrastructure that makes innovation easy.

To find more news and insights, including more than 100 data points, check out the new Playbook, by filling out the form below:

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About the Playbook

The Innovation Readiness Playbook, in collaboration with payments and commerce solutions provider i2c Inc., gauges where banks are on the road to becoming innovators. The Top Payments Performer edition is designed to examine the elements separating the best innovators from those in the middle of the pack, including the top banks succeeding at innovation, why they outperform others and which attributes enable them to succeed. The findings in this Playbook are based on survey responses of 214 FIs in the U.S. (excluding the largest 25 banks), that were then scored from zero to 100 in terms of innovation readiness.



Banks, corporates and even regulators now recognize the imperative to modernize — not just digitize —the infrastructures and workflows that move money and data between businesses domestically and cross-border.

Together with Visa, PYMNTS invites you to a month-long series of livestreamed programs on these issues as they reshape B2B payments. Masters of modernization share insights and answer questions during a mix of intimate fireside chats and vibrant virtual roundtables.