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Q&A with Chris Winter: Global Fintech Fest

Tell us about your role at Discover®

I have been the Managing Director, Head of Asia Pacific (APAC) Region for Discover® Global Network for approximately six months now. I manage new, existing, and potential franchise relationships to support the growth of Diners Club International® and expand acceptance via Acquirers and Processors for Discover Global Network. A few network alliance relationships I manage include BCcard, NPCI, NCCC, NAPAS, PayNet, NETS, and more.

I joined Discover 13 years ago as a director of Global Acceptance. I focused on building acceptance across the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region and over time I took on the expanded role of VP of EMEA Partnerships which broadened my scope by pivoting my focus to issuing activities with current Diners Club International Franchises and active Network Alliance partners across the region.

This is the first time Discover Global Network sponsored Global Fintech Fest. What did you enjoy most about it?

Global Fintech Fest brought together so many talented individuals within the fintech space. My team participated in multiple panels where we shared our knowledge and perspectives about cross border payments and the fintech ecosystem. At our booth, we met with individuals from across the industry to discuss what is next for the Payments Industry, our role as a global scheme and how we can support each other.  We also spent time with our current partner HDFC celebrating our newly launched Marriot Bonvoy HDFC Bank Credit Card and numerous milestones throughout our ten years of partnership.

Global Fintech Fest provided my team with the opportunity to accomplish a great deal in a very short time. The energy was fantastic, the information shared was spectacular, and the attendees were extraordinary. I’d like to thank and congratulate our partner, NPCI, for all their contributions and for organizing an exceptional event.

What data did you find most interesting from your conversation with Jordan McKee?

During GFF I spoke with Jordan McKee from 451 Research about our Fintech State of the Union (FSOU) study. Our discussion touched on three points:

  • The state and outlook of the APAC market
  • Digital payment maturity in APAC
  • Factors driving preference and usage of emerging payment experiences

It’s hard to pick one topic over the other, but I found our discussion about the usage of emerging payment experiences in the APAC region most fascinating. I’ve been focused on the Electronic Payments Industry for years and have seen the adoption of payment methods in APAC advance beyond my imagination.

In fact, our FSOU study identified that digital payment maturity is driving greater comfort with emerging technology in the region; noting that 32% of consumers in Asia have used a connected commerce purchase experience, compared to 8% in North America. 46% of consumers in Asia have used a biometric payment, compared to 19% in Europe and 17% in North America. Seeing the region adapt so rapidly and the data behind it is enlightening and I look forward to seeing the emerging payment adoption continue to grow regionally.

What trends did you see emerge at the conference? What are you most excited about?

Real-time Payments: I participated in a lot of conversations with attendees, vendors, and partners about real-time payments, a hot topic in the region. India is the global leader in this space  and it continues to grow year-over-year nationwide. The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has been critical to the evolution of real-time payments in India and with the National Payments Corporation in India (NPCI) presence at GFF, real-time payments and a few other payment products were top of mind: 

  • While there’s a strong interest in real-time payments within the local fintech community, our FSOU study, found that 80% of consumers in India have used real-time payments in the last 90 days, compared to 72% globally. As adoption continues, I’m excited to see how quickly fintechs can evolve the feature, whether on their own or with the help of a payment network.
  • In a number of these discussions, the idea of partnering with a payment network to develop new real-time payment offerings was a big theme. In fact, our study found that 70% of fintechs are highly interested in partnering with those payment networks. No matter what the new tech topic is, we always see the power of partnership as a key part of the discussion.

Global Collaboration for Growth:  In addition, the key theme of the conference was global collaboration for a responsible ecosystem. This included specific industry trends like innovation and the rise of competition, investment and regulatory dynamics, sustainability, and collaboration of growth. Discover Global Network plays a part in these areas, and we were happy to engage in these discussions through speaking panels, booth discussions, and networking.

Where do you see the payments industry in APAC heading in the next few years and what role can Discover Global Network play in the future?

  1. Collaboration:  I see continued collaboration between payment networks and fintechs over the next few years. There are plenty of examples of partnerships between fintechs and payments networks around the world. In addition, our FSOU study, found that 93% of global fintechs (rising to 98% in India) increased reliance on payment networks given the current conditions of the economic environment. We’ve seen this trend first-hand through recent partnerships with OmniPay and Mystifly. We also have longstanding partnerships with HDFC and NPCI which provide us touchpoints with numerous fintechs in the Indian ecosystem during an exciting phase of growth. While our relationships are beneficial to us, it’s a two-way street, where we provide value to partners through our experience as a bank in the regulatory environment, issuing, and innovation to name a few. We look forward to continuing to partner with fintechs in India as they grow.
  2.  Trust: Trust is key to consumer adoption of emerging financial experiences and due to long-standing trust banks have with consumers, banks will lead the charge in this area. As biometric payments, connected commerce, open banking, and other payment options continue to emerge, it will be key for fintechs to find a way to strengthen their trust with consumers to keep them at the forefront of consumer adoption.

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The information provided herein is sponsored by Discover® Global Network. It is intended for informational purposes, and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.