Technology is making local bank settlement a reliable and speedy process. With enterprise payments moving across credit cards, debit cards and more, MiFinity’s Tony Ashe explains why travel and hospitality firms, not to mention multinationals, can see real benefits.
The corporate payments landscape used to be a pretty flat one, marked by paper checks, envelopes, stamps and, of course, cards. And now, there’s the wonder of disparate bits and bytes moving globally to reassemble in the checking accounts and cards of far-flung travelers.
One firm that has been at the intersection of various technologies and payments is MiFinity Payments, formerly known as NXSystems, before adopting the new name this year.
The company serves chiefly the travel, hospitality and gaming sectors and operates internationally at the nexus of financial rails across 180 countries and 80 currencies; these include embedded rails, such as SWIFT, and card rails, through issuers and acquirers, such as Visa, MasterCard and China UnionPay, Managing Director Tony Ashe told PYMNTS. In addition, MiFinity has presence in security, with tokenization solutions offered to travel agencies, hotels and transportation providers.
Ashe noted that, in an increasingly complex payments landscape, with huge sums of money changing virtual hands — especially with enterprise transactions, where millions of dollars can be moved in a single transaction — speed is important. Yet, challenges remain, he said, offering up an example of a hypothetical “blind spot” in the SWIFT platform serving, say, a very remote locale. In that case, settlement can stretch out from two to seven days.
And there is a virtual silence between the time a payment is sent out and then traced or tracked to a final destination — along with a cost, said Ashe, that can stretch from €25 to €35 for a fund wire and as much as a €6 to €10 cost for an eWallet transaction. The fund flows, he continued, are also increasing for card-to-card transactions, as has been showing up in RFIs and RFPs seen by his firm.
One key area for technology adoption in payments has been the corporate travel industry (and the traditional travel industry as well), said Ashe, stretching across “big European banks, online travel agencies, travel management companies.” All of these have reasons to want to split tenders as payments settle in different countries and different currencies. In that event, technology, driven in part by dashboards, such as the one provided by MiFinity, can help facilitate that disparate parceling of transactions. An example proffered by the executive: British Airways, which can take a $1,000 vacation package, allocate $300 to hotels, a few hundred to ground transportation and, in this example, $600 to airlines.
The dashboard, with reference numbers in place, steers information to the appropriate party and spans currency, amount, sending party and other data that is then reconciled at the back office. The level of control over the transaction is especially useful for B2B transactions with multinational firms, said Ashe, and mobile functionality means that it can extend to supplier relationships where business can be done onsite. In addition, said Ashe, with large multinationals, there is the ability to choose currency exchange service providers, done through API. For B2B, he said, the firm has a number of “know-your-customer” apps that are tied to each region in which a company does business and are layered on top of standard MiFinity platforms.