The digital age may be looming in banking, and that means that upstart firms are bringing competition in the United Kingdom to bear against more entrenched, traditional lenders.
As new entrants come into the U.K.’s markets to offer financial services to individuals and to corporations, speed becomes a key selling point — namely, speed in making transactions, obtaining funds, and in knowing that key compliance mandates are being satisfied.
In one recent announcement in the space, Payment Cloud Technologies (PCT) and AccessPay said they were renewing their partnership in order to collaborate on what they have billed as “next generation” gateways geared toward payments in the U.K.
The platform itself uses APIs and the Cloud to leverage business processes for PCT and its client roster. That technology ties in with real-time connectivity to a number of initiatives, ranging from the Faster Payments Direct Corporate Access to direct debit and BACS credit services. The new gateway offerings come on top of gateways offered three years ago; and now, multiple tenants can be connected and new accounts can be onboarded in hours, the companies said.
In an interview with Ian Clowes, CEO of PCT, the executive told PYMNTS that maximized efficiency moving systems through the Cloud means that building banking services among small- to medium-sized banks and digitally focused financial services firms allows companies to avoid drawn-out implementations. In the past, such tech-intensive implementations might have taken months (or more) and cost millions of dollars. Now clients can opt to install and work with systems within as few as nine months, at a cost of only a few hundred thousand dollars. More entrenched players may be hesitant to embrace such initiatives, as they may risk cannibalizing fees that come with traditional checking or other account activity – “these banks,” he said, “may need a behavioral change.”
Within the U.K., the emergence of “regtech” has a prime mover in regulations that govern transactions between firms or between regions or up and down supply chains. These are all activities that the executive said “are going a lot more digital.” And as those activities go ever more digital, he added, they must satisfy regulatory requirements based on anti-money laundering and Know Your Customer oversight. As those smaller firms become new entrants into the market and seek designation as financial service providers, they will contend with these regulations as they extend reach and scale.
Clowes said that with the Cloud-based infrastructure, companies need only to “dial up” their functions on the platform rather than implement changes to, or add to, existing technologies.