EDC’s Samee Zafar met with Paul Stoddart, CEO of Vocalink, a Mastercard company since July 2017. Created in 2007 from the merger between Voca and LINK, Vocalink designs, builds and operates industry-leading bank account-based payment systems. Vocalink's technology powers the UK's real-time payments, settlements and direct debits as well as the country's network of more than 70,000 ATMs.
The industry has been talking about a converged future for card and account-based payments. To what extent will this happen?
Following our acquisition, Mastercard is now able to offer customers either bank account and card-based payments solutions. So while there will be opportunities to converge card and account-based payments capabilities in new propositions for customers, for us it is important that we provide people with the choice and the ability to pay and get paid when they want, and how they want.
How will real-time payments evolve internationally?
Real-time payments is rapidly becoming the norm for economies. The world is moving beyond the question of ‘do we need real-time payments?’ and more to ‘once we have it, what can we do with it?’. With the implementation of Vocalink’s Immediate Payments Solution in Singapore in 2014, and in Thailand and the US last year – these countries are already looking at how they can leverage these functionally rich systems, to meet the demands of today’s economy by leveraging this new platform for innovation to generate new revenue streams.
Moving to a real-time payments system is often a catalyst for change. Themes that have begun to emerge across markets, include; local to regional and global payments i.e. cross-border; the power of the proxy, such as using mobile numbers and national IDs instead of account numbers and sort codes for a more secure payment system and; more convenience in the mobile commerce experience.
With the advent of PSD2/Open Banking, who do you think the winners will be?
We think the provision of standard APIs to bank services represents a great opportunity for the whole value chain but especially consumers. What the European regulators have done is create a new competitive market where firms of all sizes can compete to unlock opportunities to better serve the customer. Winning is now less about how big you are and more about how well your proposition can meet the needs of both consumers and businesses and how quickly you can take it to market.
As a consumer, it means I can enable trusted third parties to securely access my data and initiate payments on my behalf to provide me with greater convenience and control in my daily life.
What do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
Outside of work, I spend a lot of time with my family. I have two girls who are very active, so evenings and weekends I’m on Dad duties, which I love.
When I get some time to myself, I love my sci-fi. For those that have seen me present, I often use clips from my favourite films, a great way to mix business and pleasure! I’m also part of a running club and I try to run on most weekends. It’s a great way to clear the head after a busy week of travelling and meetings, and it’s also where I catch up with friends, who are a part of the same group.