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Nov 2, 2021

Summary

On this special episode of COMMERCE NOW, Steve Kremer, Director of Sales in the Payments division at Diebold Nixdorf, and Sarah Grotta, Director of Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group, sat down with PaymentsJournal to discuss the most popular payment method, both in the United States and globally: Debit.  Listen in for a  discussion of why modernizing debit payments is crucial in both the banking and retail sectors.

Related Content: 

https://www.dieboldnixdorf.com/en-us/banking/insights/blog/get-your-message-out

https://www.dieboldnixdorf.com/-/media/diebold/files/banking/insights/qa-faq/mindshare-payments-innovation.pdf

Related Links:

https://www.paymentsjournal.com/the-time-to-revitalize-debit-rails-is-now/

LinkedIn Profiles -

Steve Kremer

Sarah Grotta

Transcription: 

Speaker 1:

On this special episode of COMMERCE NOW, DN Steve Creamer, Director of Sales in the Payments Division joins the PaymentsJournal's, Ryan Mac, for a discussion on why modernizing debit payments is crucial in both the banking and retail sectors.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the PaymentsJournal Podcast. In here is your host, Ryan Mac

Ryan:

Welcome to the PaymentsJournal Podcast, I'm your host Ryan Mac. Now, debit is the most popular form of payment in the US and globally and it is influenced by the growing popularity of digital payments and preferences of millennials. Now, it is projected that debit transactions will continue to grow and remain the highest transaction type of consumer payment. Now, modernizing these payment systems will become table stakes. And solutions that have reusable technology that can support multiple channels are key when implemented in phases, especially when starting with one that has the high rewards and low risks, AKA debit. To unpack this further, I'm joined by Steve Creamer, who is the Director of Sales for the Payments Division at Diebold Nixdorf and Sarah Grotta who is the Director of the Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisor Group. So, there's certainly a lot of information to unpack on today's episode.

Ryan:

So, without any further delays, let's start the show. So, Steve and Sarah, it's an absolute pleasure to have you on today's episode. And I'm really excited to talk about our subject to hear today that's really focusing around debit because of all of the interesting news and statistics that we've started to see come out of just the debit side of the paintings' ecosystem here. Now, to get our conversation started here today, we've got this fantastic chart provided to us by Mercator Advisor Group that's taking a look at MasterCard and Visa Debit and prepaid volumes versus credit and charge card volumes in the United States. So, Steven, if you could, maybe you could kind of unpack this chart for our audience here today and maybe pull out some of the kind of the key highlights or what you find interesting of what this data is representing.

Steve:

Thanks, Ryan. In seeing this data, I really had to pause for a moment and let this information sink in. It certainly is very interesting that in United States, the dollar amount spent with debit cards increased by 14% in 2020, and also that debit card transactions continued to outpace credit cards two to one, the terms of number of transactions. We may all have our own personal bias on preference between debit and credit and some of us may have a preference for using credit over debit for certain types of transactions, but we need to be careful not to our own views, to administer relevance of the data on the continued strong debit usage.

Steve:

Did the impact of the pandemic and stimulus money have some impact on increase of debit usage in 2020? I think it did, but I also think that the pandemic also accelerated the consumer migration to digital payment channels and debit is still the most popular form of retail payment, and it's not going away at any time soon. Once you really look at the information that Sarah summarized so well, it really makes a lot of sense, especially when including the influence of younger generations that are growing in importance and how debit is leveraged on a global basis. Close to 83% of younger consumers use a debit card and not credit and that's understandable at their age. Many may have not had the ability to obtain credit, and they also seen or heard so many negative stories about how credit card debt that they formulate a consumer behavior outside of credit usage.

Steve:

Given the high percentage use of debit now, and with the ever-growing payment e-commerce options, we can really see why debit usage continues to grow. An important note is that the continued popular debit is by no means unique to United States. For instance, in India, I think there are 900 million debit cards versus only 55 million credit cards. And in Europe it varies by country, but debit continues to make a very, very strong showing. From a consumer convenience standpoint, we can see the advantages of using debit over other payment rails. And then finally for the retailer, there are real economic advantages of debit based processing solutions as debit interchange fees are typically much lower than for credit cards. I think at this point, it probably be good to turn over to Sarah and allow her to provide some additional insights into her report.

Sarah:

Yeah. Thanks so much for that. And really, I liked your overview, particularly the comparison with other countries. Certainly, I think the US is somewhat unique in its history, its legacy of being very credit card-focused that isn't necessarily the case around the world. And certainly, things like the economics play into that. The fact that particularly in the US, we really, really love those credit card rewards. So, it was kind of interesting, I agree, I think this was really pushed by the pandemic when we saw the debit card volumes for the first time tip over in above the credit card numbers. And let me clarify, looking at this chart, that we are looking at debit card purchases. We did make some calculations to extract some of the debit push payments, right? So, that would be MasterCard send or Visa Direct.

Sarah:

So, we're really looking at something closer to an apples-apples comparison of just debit card purchases from MasterCard and Visa in comparison to what's happening on the credit card side. So, I think as we look forward and as we start to see purchasing habits maybe coming back to something that looked a little bit more like pre-pandemic patterns, so more things like purchases for eating out purchases, for travel in particular, I think that we'll start to see the credit card numbers start to come back up again. But I do think for many of the reasons that you pointed out Steve, I think that we will still continue to see very, very strong debit card growth for the foreseeable future.

Ryan:

Steven and Sarah, thank you so much for that. Now, to kind of just recap a lot of what was said there, obviously historically, in the US we have seen debit cards outpace credit in terms of transaction volumes. But also, then as we were kind of pointing out, in 2020, we did see that percentage gap changed dramatically with debit card volume seeing that 14% growth over 2019 numbers. Now, Steven, as you pointed out, I think that there's a fair amount of that double digit growth was related and due to the pandemic. And as Sarah kind of stated there at the end that she foresees this growth in debit being a continuing trend. But beyond the pandemic, are there other reasons that you could kind of sight or maybe glean to, of why it is that debit may remain a preferred payment method of choice for consumers?

Steve:

Yeah. Ryan, I think that's a great question. And in that, I think it's always important to keep the customer experience in the forefront. And the thing about debit is that it's a 24/7 always-on experience. Consumers expect to seamlessly get cash out of, if they're using an ATM or if they're making a purchase, they expect it to be approved right away. And that's true if it's in-person or if it's a debit being used online. As noted in Sarah's report, 40% of debit transactions, I think in US were made in a card-not-present mode. So, consumers want to make sure their cards and data are safe and that they can quickly pay for what they want. But what we're hearing from our customers, both banks and retailers, but primarily the banks, are that the debit networks are being challenged with new payment types and they're spending a lot of time and money on the overall upkeep and maintenance of their debit networks.

Steve:

As you know, the debit system has been around since the early 1970s and many of the systems that are used to process these cards have really not changed since, or if they have, it's been for band aid updates for their old technology. Legacy debit payment platforms were designed to quickly and securely approve and process of payment or withdrawal, which has always been authenticated with a card. The future payments is not so straightforward. The method of authentication may be different based on the channel, for example, tokens, biometrics, things like that. And the funding could combine payment methods including 'buy now pay later', or other variations. Modernizing this payment infrastructure, and not necessarily just the debit side, is really the key for banks to remain relevant.

Steve:

Diebold Nixdorf has been a global leader in the processing of debit-based solutions for the last 40 years. And now we're leveraging this experience with our Vynamics payment solution. Vynamics payments is a modern system that it's built using cloud-native technology and microservices architecture that allows banks and processors to not only improve their debit channel, but quickly and efficiently handle other newer payment types and innovations like request to pay and buy now pay later. Which is where we see things moving, will help kind of perpetuate the predominance of debit going forward. Just time out. I'll turn it back over to Sarah for her insights on that same question.

Sarah:

Yeah. I think that the whole idea of core and payment modernization is really very interesting. And sort of tying that back to debit, it is kind of interesting even though to your point, debit has been around for a really long time. There are still things that we can do as an industry to improve that user-experience, that kind of dovetails into the ideas and concepts around modernizing the infrastructure. So, I talk to issuers about things like making sure that they can digitally issue debit cards as an example, so that they could really make that seamless transition for immediate account acquisition or provide a really great experience should a debit card ever get lost or stolen, or for whatever reason needs to be replaced. So, I think that's a very interesting part of the payment ecosystem right now, is sort of the intersection of things like debit cards and more modern infrastructure.

Ryan:

Yeah. So, I think that it's really interesting. And one of the keywords that I kind of hear a lot is that the modernization side of things here, and obviously as we continue to look as Sarah pointed out to kind of add enhancements to kind of really improve that consumer experience here. And then Steven, at the end of your commentary, you had broadened up a little bit about your organization, Diebold Nixdorf here, and how it's kind of going through a little bit of modernization here and what it's doing to help their consumers. So, I want to dive into that a little bit more because I think it's certainly fine to talk about it at a high level, but I really kind of want to get into some specifics. And with your insight into the industry, maybe you can give us a few more examples of what you're seeing that your customers are doing to revitalize kind of their debit rails, so to speak.

Steve:

Yeah, that's a great point, Ryan. Thank you for asking. Really when, when Diebold Nixdorf set out to develop our next generation payments platform, we try to approach payments with a fresh perspective. We ask where would it make the biggest impact and provide the greatest opportunities for our clients? And as you ask, as an example, we recently began a multi-year, multi-phase implementation with a top 10 US bank. This bank is using Vynamic payments to deliver substantial TCO benefits to their organization. They are currently using our terminal software as well as our device handling in the Vynamic's platform for approximately 16,000 ATM's. And the bank has also started to deliver on their roadmap to provide switching and cloud processing as the next phase in their migration to Vynamic payments.

Steve:

And by doing this, they're taking a modular multi-phase approach and we have successfully maximized their greatest opportunity, which in their case started with the debit rails. And now, we have laid a foundation to scale for the future. In the age of technology, limitations on handling the current demand of transactions and the expense for trying to keep it up-to-date has oftentimes made the debit network the best place to start. And at Diebold Nixdorf, our cloud-native microservices architecture has enabled new functionality, such as handling the card-not-present transactions and digital wallet-based transactions.

Steve:

We also add the ability to reuse certain components or services such as authorization, routing, and authentication, that provides a single platform that can easily transition to credit or real-time payments or other payment rails. It's truly a build once but use often design that will reduce over-operational costs and pre-speeder market for alternative payment methods. And I'll turn over to Sarah for her perspective on that.

Sarah:

Yeah, actually, I think I've got another question for you given those comments, if you don't mind. I hear a lot of financial institutions in particular, talking about the need to modernize their technology infrastructure so that they can be more responsive, particularly at the user-experience layer, thinking about things like breaking down silos to better manage data and better manage data for fraud. But when financial institutions are thinking about modernizing their infrastructure, do you see that payments is often an instigator for a lot of these modernization demands or the idea that financial institution wants to move forward with a modernization project?

Steve:

Sarah, I think it does. And I know I threw on this term 'build once, use often' is kind of a code word for modernization, and it does sound simple enough to build once and use often. However, really the benefits are very, very powerful and widespread. As we talked about with mobile and contact-less payments, continuing to grow and support for QR codes, digital currencies, request to pay and peer to peer payment applications are added, many larger banks are opting to build separate in-house silos to process these new payment types. And given the large number of dedicated channels that are required to process this vast array of payments, it quickly becomes a very complex undertaking that generates significant cost to support.

Steve:

Meanwhile, smaller banks are tackling the same challenge by outsourcing services to vendors. While this may work in a short term, it too, can become very expensive and really stifles differentiation and creates barriers to innovation with this 'build once, use often' as the goal to consolidate these single use channels by deploying a payments platform, it is built with the microservice architecture and API connectivity. These platforms really do enable banks to realize the desired end state of building once, but using across multiple payment rails. And to be a bit more specific, if a bank's priority is to start with the modernization of their debit platform, which is part of our topic today, and by the way, often is a logical place to start given that 1st Generation debit payment platforms are quite cumbersome and channel specific.

Steve:

And really these older debit platforms are edging closer to critical [Inaudible], and effectively the end of life. There are many ways that 'build once, use often' methodology yields significant benefits to the deploying institution. And some examples of that is to add credit to the same system that's used for debit, the settlement and clearing services can really be reused. Another example is in the fraud area where fraud mitigation and some of the limiting safeguards can be implemented once and then used often across multiple channels.

Steve:

So, with Vynamic payments, we're able to later on the promise of 'build once, use often'. And Diebold Nixdorf is really kind of moving digital payments processing to a new era, introducing an open APIs integrating with best of breed FinTech solutions across banking and retail, and really delivering seamless customer-centric journeys on a state of the art platform. So, quite simply, it is a great time to speak with Diebold Nixdorf about the future of retail payments.

Ryan:

Excellent Steven, I think that was absolutely fantastic. And I think we'll end it there on that note. Oh, so, Steven, Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time today for speaking to us about the debit rail here and also the very interesting consumer changes that we've seen in the industry of the debit versus credit. And I hope to have you both back on the podcast real soon.

Steve:

Pleasure.

Sarah:

Thanks Ryan.