When it comes to creating a seamless experience for cross-border transactions, especially for Global Citizens who are sending large amounts of money infrequently to institutions all over the world, it can be hard to know where to start.
Making those types of complex global payments both efficient and frictionless takes more than just establishing a solid platform.
In the latest installment of Flywire’s podcast series on meeting the payment needs of Global Citizens, we explored what it really takes to set up an international payments platform that doesn’t just work but works well to meet the needs of both senders and receivers.
Jason Moens, VP of Product at Flywire, joined Karen Webster to highlight what information, technology and integrations payment processors must take into consideration when facilitating payments across borders, especially for Global Citizens as they engage with educational and health care institutions around the world.
There’s really no monolithic solution that works for all sides of the global payments experience.
As Moens explained, it’s actually naïve to think that a single experience will work well for everyone because of the varying nature of individual consumer needs.
Not only do the needs of a Global Citizen have to be taken into account but also the needs of the receiving institution. Only when the needs of both sides are taken into consideration can they both be provided with an experience that's tailored to them, he added.
Of course, the challenge comes in not just doing this but doing it at scale.
These user preferences and needs can vary based on the differences in culture, the receiving institution itself or even the method of payment being used by the sender.
From an engineering perspective, Moens said, overcoming this challenge means taking a robust set of services and exposing the relevant APIs, web services and end points that can be consumed in any number of different ways.
Being able to have this focus allows connections to be made between the platform and the services offered in order to deliver more personalized, customized experiences that are tailored to a payment processor’s targeted segments.
Moens pointed out that it’s equally important to understand how these segments are unique from each other.
"They may all have very distinct needs from one another, and you really only figure that out by getting out of the building,” he said, describing this process as actually going out, doing discovery and having conversations.
"And then, based on the diversity of needs, building a platform that allows you to respond to them and quickly be able to introduce new variations to meet those needs,” Moens continued.
Making Integration Easy
When it comes to developing integrations with both the sender and receiver, ease of use is of great importance for both parties.
A platform and network should be simple enough for a receiving organization to integrate into, while also providing an easy way for senders to access the services they need as well.
Unfortunately, complexity and friction have become so commonplace in payments that it almost seems normal, especially when it comes to making payments overseas.
“There's a whole bunch of complexity that people, for a long time, just accepted as either a cost of doing business or a part of the challenge of going to another country to be able to get medical care,” Moens explained. “They just thought this was part of having to deal with those types of experiences.”
In fact, Moens noted, many of the receiving institutions Flywire works with did not believe they had any problems with international payments, simply because they were able to move the money.
But in reality, they are using methods that are incredibly expensive, delivering a horrible experience to their consumers and often leaving themselves unable to identify who the funds actually belong to.
According to Moens, there’s a significant educational effort that has to take place to show that there is a better way to accept global payments.
When Technology Pays
Outside of the educational and demonstrational work, Moens said creating the platform Flywire has today required building the connectivity and technology advances needed to be able to bridge the corridors for moving money around the world.
This was a byproduct of understanding the many different factors that are at play, as well as recognizing both the differences and challenges in all the different markets Flywire serves.
Though it may be easy to think about building one set solution for a single country, Moens explained, the reality is that there are too many things to consider, such as regulatory constraints, integration concerns and the state of a country’s banking system.
“Without having a good handle on all of the different possibilities, it's hard to chart a course,” he said.
There are a growing number of advancing technologies and innovations that are moving FinTech payments forward, particularly when it comes to cross-border payments platforms and helping these transactions happen more efficiently and seamlessly.
Moens said these enhancements, such as focusing on interconnectivity or introducing blockchain, all have the potential to present better payment experiences and provide global payment options that are more familiar, cost-effective and faster for senders and receivers.
"It’s a collection of distributed technologies that are allowing us to have these disparate systems talk to each other and to communicate in ways that used to be really difficult,” Moens said.
“That's allowing us to see a lot of momentum when it comes to connecting these different payment networks. All of that leads to faster, less expensive payments.”