Last week the Emerging Payments Association announced the finalists for this year’s Emerging Payments Awards. With more than 200 entries from payments related businesses around the world, the awards are testimony to the amazing growth this area of FinTech is experiencing.
What is truly striking is the growing number of award categories – 18 in total. Remember this is just payments services. From Best Banking Initiative to Best Cross Border Payment Solution, it shows a maturing of the market, growing beyond the broad sweeping ‘FinTech’ term and defining specific niches within the space.
Quality, not just quantity
It’s not just the sheer amount of entries the Awards received. It’s the quality too. While we’re extremely honoured to be among those shortlisted, it’s hard not to feel a little intimidated when surrounded by so many amazing brands.
While they may be less than a decade old, many of these brands have already become household names, establishing themselves as the financial technology company of choice within their given field, and further compounding the fact that payment services is evolving from ‘disruptor’ to ‘business as usual’.
At home, much of this industrial maturation must be credited to the FCA. While not often the recipient of much adulation, it was the regulator’s early acknowledgement of the potential of FinTech, and continued proactive approach to reaching out to firms and helping them understand their regulatory obligations, that helped legitimise the industry, gave confidence to investors, and provided those operating in the UK a notable head-start over their international peers.
To see this in action, we need look no further than the much talked about Bitcoin. By its very essence it is anti-establishment, rejecting traditional power structures and offering greater transparency in financial services. Yet it is the Bitcoin Exchanges who’ve been knocking hardest on the FCA’s door, demanding authorisation. Why? Because they know the value such regulation offers.
The FCA has demonstrated a willingness to consult with financial services associations, such as The Emerging Payments Association, to create an environment where regulation does not inhibit innovation. One great example is the ‘regulatory sandbox’ initiative. Part of the FCA’s Project Innovate, it is promoted as a safe place for companies to test propositions that have not previously been offered in the UK.
What the future holds
In the world of FinTech the only thing that is truly predictable is that nothing is certain. Add Brexit to the mix and the future becomes even harder to tell. Despite the uncertainty that lies ahead, we can be confident that Payments Services has established itself as one of FinTech’s most dominant spaces, where competition drives innovation and ultimate user experience is forever improving.
Looking a little closer to the present, on 5th October we and the other shortlisted organisations, will gather at the Hilton, Park Lane, London to celebrate the success of the industry. We’d like to wish all finalists the very best of luck, particularly those with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working with in recent times – Tide, CurrencyCloud, Geo Swift, Monese, Saxo Payments and bacs!