In an increasingly globalised world, travel payment solutions have progressively been transcending national boundaries. Riding on this momentum is payments giant Ingenico Group’s Amsterdam-based ePayments division, which has processed more than 230 billion euros (US$254 billion) in 2018.
In October, the company deepened its foray into the China market by launching its full-suite of Chinese payment methods that cater to the preferences of local consumers for international e-commerce players. It is also one of the pioneering international payment service providers (PSP) to support all use cases for WeChat Pay, including the capability to integrate into WeChat Official Accounts and Mini-Programs, as well as offering an upgraded Alipay integration that provides real-time payments on desktop and mobile devices.
Speaking to TTG Asia, Nathan Salisbury, Ingenico ePayments’ general manager, Asia-Pacific shared that four major forces – changing consumer behaviour, technological advances, government regulations and industry competition – are now shaping the travel payment sector.
A shift in e-commerce behaviour among consumers has led to the rise of frictionless payment technology like tokenisation and Internet of Things (IOT) devices such as Amazon Alexa & Google Home.
Earlier this year, Ingenico ePayments partnered with technology giant IBM to launch an innovative payment-enabled chatbot that utilises natural language processing to foster a seamless customer experience.
“The IBM Watson capabilities will allow us to better understand users’ requests once they have been captured. Moreover, it allows businesses to gather valuable information on bot users’ needs and desires, enabling them to tailor their offerings to meet their customers’ changing requirements and make data-driven decisions for the business,” he said, adding that Ingenico ePayments is also developing new payment protocols based on IOT devices.
Another trend is the emergence of payment as a service software, which adopts a customer-centric and collaborative approach to empower merchants to reach and connect with customers. These solutions range from direct API integration to hosted pages. Besides the Ingenico Connect suite of APIs and services, Ingenico ePayments also offer TravelHub, a solution that specially enables travel merchants to easily connect to payment capabilities in fast-growing markets.
Salisbury added: “This helps travel businesses provide the best digital customer experience and tackle the complexity of managing multiple systems, payment service providers (PSPs) and acquirers.”
Online payment companies also need to be mindful of government regulations that govern the sector, including the Payment Service Directive 2 in Europe and Payment Services Act in Singapore. These regulations guard against concerns such as fraudulent data and theft of customers’ personal data.
On operating in the Singapore market, Salisbury said: “Singapore is among the fast-growing financial markets in South-east Asia, making it an ideal gateway to opportunities in the region. As one of the most business-friendly countries in the world, from both a commerce and regulatory standpoint, Singapore is a key market for our business, and we are open to working with the government to ensure that the e-payments sector contributes to Singapore’s digital vision.”
With mounting competition in the e-payments industry, consolidations and investments are becoming commonplace in the fintech verticals, especially in Asia. Ingenico ePayments collaborates with startups and innovative fintech companies which have developed industry-leading technology that remove any friction and accept a range of payment methods.
To this end, Salisbury pointed out that Ingenico ePayments recently partnered with Spain-based CaixaBank and American fintech firm Global Payments to launch international innovation programme, Zone2Boost, which is aimed at encouraging innovation of new products and services for the business and fintech sectors to support their growth.