Spotlight on Prepaid Financial Services Limited
We talked to Marie O’Riordan from Prepaid Financial Services Limited.
Europe’s number one digital technology company, Prepaid Financial Services Limited (PFS), recently celebrated winning the RSM European Business Awards Digital Technology Award in May of this year. PFS provides multi-award-winning payment technology solutions by offering comprehensive innovations in e-money.
As the focus of this month’s ‘Spotlight’, Mapa Research and Marie O’Riordan, Senior Marketing Manager PFS, discuss the changing regulatory landscape, influencing the FinTech roadmap as one of Europe’s largest e-money issuers and how digital finance can continue to improve in supporting financial well-being for society.
Photo: Marie O’Riordan
- In a changing regulatory landscape with APIs and data sharing, how do you see the payment space evolving?
As Europe’s overall Digital Technology winner at the RSM European Business Awards, PFS is at the heart of a massive change being witnessed in the Europe-wide and international payments ecosystems with the arrival of open-banking. We are in the age of accelerated adoption rates for technology, with customers who have come to expect a frictionless, low-cost experience with personalised transactions. Traditional financial services can now be unbundled and recombined by FinTechs/non-bank payment service providers. This will mean much greater convenience for the consumer, for example being able to make payments via messaging apps and will likely greatly reduce or even eliminate banking charges altogether. Also, with the onset of GDPR in Europe, we as an authorised and regulated company, are used to a high-level of compliance and facing up to the demands of new directives. Live in 24 countries, the company has always followed industry-leading security standards when dealing with personal data and privacy. EU citizens can be confident that their personal information and privacy is handled in a highly professional manner in line with European Union regulations.
- How does PFS know where to move to next?
Fresh from emerging as the Best in Europe in terms of Digital Technology from 112,000 European Business Awards entries, PFS is in a unique position to be able to revolutionise and redefine the FinTech developmental roadmap, especially via mobile payments. Big data allows us to predict trends and pivot faster than ever before. In addition, the PFS €1 Million FinTech Innovation Fund has been a huge success with some winners already in the marketplace and others on the brink of launching. The fund, one of the biggest of its kind, attracted top entries from across 4 continents ensuring the next generation of FinTech talent has solid backing. Across Europe, millions of e-money account holders have benefited from our innovative payment solutions over the years. We will continue to develop the technology necessary to deliver the next generation of the world’s most advanced FinTech and payment gateways. It is also important to note that PFS successfully delivered 63% more projects in 2017 than the previous year. The 2018 figure already looks set to exceed expectations.
- Do FinTechs have an advantage over incumbent providers in being more agile and responsive to customer behaviours and providing greater choice?
The significant changes we are witnessing in the technology, banking, and payment sectors can only be described as revolutionary. In fact, the level of disruption is set to increase with the opportunities that PSD2 promises to bring with it. This, coupled with the new GDPR compliance legislation and the upcoming 5AMLD enhancement sees a number of major moves to empower tech-loving consumers who can benefit from the opening up of a marketplace that had been closed for too long. Existing institutions have legacy technology and structures which can slow the pace of response and so prompt many to partner with FinTechs. The market needs a constant and growing stream of new ideas and products to drive innovation, like those that are coming from our PFS €1 million FinTech Innovation Fund and others being developed in our technology laboratory in Malta.
- How can/should FinTech companies use digital finance to improve financial well-being particularly for vulnerable members of society?
PFS has a long history of supporting the most vulnerable members of society in Europe and internationally. This year, PFS was Nominated for Best Under-Banked or Emerging Banking Solution at the Benzinga Global FinTech Awards in New York and Nominated for a Social Responsibility Award at the FSTech Awards 2018 in London. Our 5-month long campaign with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Mastercard has just concluded. Due to the success of the drive, 200,000 schools meals will be provided to hungry children in war-torn Mali in West Africa. News of the campaign was carried by over 308 media organisations worldwide. This was the very first contract of its kind signed by the UN WFP with a prepaid FinTech. In addition, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), together with PFS, developed a solution which enabled the successful deployment of aid as part of a Cash Transfer Programme. Overall, the solution helped over 6,000 refugees, migrants, and vulnerable citizens in Greece. We hope these actions will inspire others in the sector to drive their own initiatives to protect the very vulnerable in our world.