In this featured article, our Director of Market Engagement, Steve Gilde, comments on the impacts of COVID-19 on the payments industry and shares tips for organizations to survive the crisis and take advantage of future opportunities
The COVID-19 crisis will have a profound and long-term impact on people, processes and policies across the globe. The payments industry is already experiencing significant pandemic-related issues, with others sure to surface before we begin to recover. While the current level of uncertainty makes it impossible to predict what the “new normal” will be, we are starting to see indications of where the market is heading.
In addition to these consumer driven changes, there will likely be new legal and regulatory requirements for the payment industry. There is no question that payments are an “essential service” that must be preserved during an emergency, but we should expect regulators to demand that the industry enhance protection plans and protocols for consumers and employees, boost data privacy and security efforts, as well as increase Business Continuity Plan (BCP) rigor and testing.
In order to survive the current crisis and take advantage of future opportunities, the payments industry must evolve more rapidly. Some organizations have been better prepared than others to navigate through the COVID-19 emergency, but it seems certain that every financial services company will find gaps in their BCP that need to be addressed before “the next time.”
Many companies have yet to take advantage of automation when it comes to testing their payment channels, a commonly overlooked but vitally important area. While there is an investment required to convert from manual testing, the long-term benefits are significant – faster delivery cycles, expanded test coverage, higher quality and reduced costs. Automated systems offer major advantages and will facilitate improvements in many key operational areas.
Other organizations have not integrated their payment channels with the broader enterprise. For many financial institutions, the ATM channel is still perceived to be “different,” sometimes to the point that these resources are physically separated from the general corporate population. No matter what the corporate strategy is for testing, all the payment channels need to be full participants. Open APIs make it easier to integrate disparate systems.
Manual testing and organizational silos do not promote timely execution or internal collaboration. The complexity of payment systems makes automation and integration essential requirements for companies that want to benefit from Agile development techniques and DevOps methodologies where testing is an integral part of the overall delivery process.