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Open Banking, Payments

Beneath the hood: how open banking strengthens the building blocks of digital payments 

Digital payments are everywhere.

Whether we realize it or not, most of us have incorporated technology into our financial lives. According to the Mastercard New Payments Index, which surveyed 35,040 general consumers across 40 markets, 85% of people globally have used at least one emerging payment method in the last year.  

Part of the appeal is choice and simplicity. Consumers can buy a new refrigerator with a credit card, digital wallet or using an automatic buy-now-pay-later program. And they can perform most of their financial transactions from anywhere within a few minutes. 

Yet enabling consumers to bank and pay with ease is anything but simple. Banks and fintechs must carefully conceive and build payment technology stacks that are agile, user friendly and integrated with their organizations’ complex infrastructures. 

Platforms like i2c can help. A global banking and payment processing platform, i2c provides financial institutions and fintechs with “building block” technology to create their own unique consumer and commercial solutions. As a partner, the company relies on Mastercard Open Banking’s consumer-permissioned data to get the right information into the right hands, safely and quickly.  

In a recent conversation at the Tech Innovation Roundtable in New York, Jess Turner, EVP, Global Open Banking and API and i2c CEO Amir Wain sat down with moderator Sherri Haymond, Head of Global Digital Partnerships, to explain how their collaboration works and why it matters: 

What are the key market drivers that are leading to unprecedented demand for digital payments?

Jess Turner: The pandemic changed the way people interact with services and products, as well as the way they interact with each other. That change accelerated digitization faster than we expected, providing an opportunity for innovation. People expect more from their digital payment experience. And because of that, everything we do at Mastercard —whether it’s direct-to-consumer or business-to-business products—must have a best-in-class user experience. 

 Jess Turner and Amir Wain in conversation at the Tech Innovation Roundtable, Master Tech Center, New York

How does the partnership between i2c and Mastercard help deliver a best-in-class experience to fintech innovators? 

Amir Wain: A significant component to the digital payment experience rests in the hands of banks and fintechs. These financial institutions provide consumers with the ability to bank, borrow and buy what they need. To make those services work seamlessly, a lot of connectivity needs to happen between Mastercard and service providers like i2c. Through our platform, banks and fintechs can access Mastercard capabilities —such as digitization, open banking and APIs—to extend those services to their end users.  

How does open banking strengthen i2c’s platform offerings?

Amir: The basic tenets of payments—convenience, security and ubiquity—haven’t changed. Now open banking offers the right tools to keep us up to date with the new underlying digital technology, not to mention the consumer’s desire to interact with their finances differently. Through i2c, our clients can use open banking to help sign on new customers. Like mortgages, opening a bank account has largely been a manual process, one that required a lot of paperwork for banks and customers alike. But with open banking, customers can give permission to share their data digitally.  

Jess, can you share other use cases in which open banking creates opportunities? 

Jess: In addition to digital payments, another powerful example is that people can use open banking to get a loan for the first time in their lives. These are people who have been credit invisible or considered thin credit, perhaps because they have a low income, or they lack a credit history. Now they can share open banking data –such as bank transactions or rent payments— to prove they are creditworthy. And that could help a consumer qualify for a loan or empower a budding entrepreneur to kickstart their idea or a small business owner to invest in its growth. 

Open banking is also precise. At Mastercard Open Banking, we are working with permissioned data that we then must clean and categorize to verify things. So, if someone says they make $12.9 million dollars every year, we can check that quickly and accurately.  

What are you seeing in the landscape of digital payments that you are most excited about? 

Amir: I look forward to seeing consumers benefit from even more payment choice. Different people need different kinds of products that are relevant to them. Cookie cutter products are a thing of the past. Expanding what you know about the totality of a customer through tools like open banking and AI enables the development of more personalized products.  

At i2c, we work with partners like Mastercard to enhance our building block technology that helps banks and fintechs offer differentiated products and elevated customer experiences. 

Jess: I agree with Amir. Right now, these building blocks are critical for innovation because the world is becoming borderless. I am looking forward to seeing how our partnership with i2c will make real innovation happen at scale. 

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