The Payments Canada SUMMIT: Making the Vision of Modernization a Reality

A couple of weeks ago The Payments Canada SUMMIT gathered more than 2,000 delegates from financial institutions in Canada and around the world for a virtual one-week conference. INETCO was a sponsor of Canada’s premier payments event. Our team participated in industry discussions, met peers, and learned more about future innovation opportunities in the financial ecosystem.

2021 was a record-breaking year for The Payments Canada SUMMIT. It grew in size and scale, featured 300 speakers, and covered a wide range of topics. From real-time payments to financial crime mitigation, open banking opportunities and inclusive payments, The SUMMIT was a great platform for meaningful conversations and insightful networking sessions.

Major Announcements

We were excited to see how one of our clients, Moneris, introduced new technology to make electronic payment terminals more accessible; the development was done in collaboration with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and the Government of Canada. New features for electronic payment terminals will help Canadians with visual disabilities when making payments. 

We also watched Clik2pay, a new payment service provider, launch a near-real-time bill payments service. It allows their customers to easily settle bills and invoices from their bank account via text messages, e-mails or a QR code. Clik2pay offers an alternative to more costly options, such as credit cards and cheques. The company showcased the ease of their payment options through a charitable campaign with Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Work in Progress

Throughout The Payments Canada SUMMIT, speakers and delegates explored the challenges and opportunities of the modern payments ecosystem in Canada. In the era of instant gratification, customers want a fast, frictionless payment experience, at a low cost and with excellent service. That paradigm requires financial institutions to be innovative and flexible at the same time. 

The migration to of ISO 20022, a standard for electronic data interchange between financial institutions, will start in Canada in November, 2022. It will change the way banks and other users exchange cross-border payment instructions and reports. The early adopters of the standard stand to win the most as they will be better prepared for doing business with their customers than their competitors.

Another opportunity covered at The Payments Canada SUMMIT was the ability to harness payment data to design a holistic profile of a customer across different payment channels. It will give financial institutions a chance to offer their customers more personalized services and will help secure payments, making it easier to spot anomalies in patterns and behaviors.

The Dark Side of Payments

During The SUMMIT, our CTO, Ugan Naidoo, took part in the breakout session “How to Stay Ahead of Fraudsters in Real-time” as part of the discussions on the topic “The Dark Side of Payments.”

The panelists discussed different ways of achieving an optimal balance between securing customers’ accounts and preventing fraud. The COVID-19 pandemic provided fraudsters with new opportunities and they became increasingly creative in inventing new types of payment fraud attacks. As financial institutions ramp up their payment fraud prevention efforts to keep up, they may end up with higher rates of false positives. Blocking genuine transactions causes customer friction and can negatively impact revenue.

“The evolution of digital payments relies on customer confidence in the system. Customers expect zero friction when they complete the transaction,” says Ugan. “One of the biggest problems for many financial institutions is harnessing the organizations’ information assets for the fraud systems. To make the right decisions, we need the right information at our fingertips at the right time. It starts with the right data foundation, which is extensible and adaptable, so when attacks occur in real-time we have the right data to prevent them in a single centralized place.”

Fraud is increasing in its complexity and it’s a 24/7 battle to counter it. Banks and merchants can learn from the experience of other countries in fighting cyberattacks. Collaboration with each other and with FinTech companies can help ensure they have the right tools and strategies.

Fraud and Payments Survey 2021

During The SUMMIT, we surveyed attendees on the current payment fraud challenges in their organizations and how COVID-19 changed their fraud operations. Keeping up with new threats and being proactive were among the most commonly named difficulties for financial institutions. 50% of the respondents mentioned a rise of card-not-present fraud in the last year, followed by cheque fraud and e-transfer fraud as the second most alarming.

Over the last year, financial institutions noticed more trust from consumers in digital payments methods, such as mobile wallets and electronic funds transfers (EFT), changes in behavior driven by the pandemic. The increased use of digital channels required fraud teams to stay more vigilant in looking out for new cyber threats, as some of them worked from home and couldn’t respond as quickly as they could if in the office. Some financial institutions saw it as a necessity to increase their investment in fraud prevention and increase their cooperation with the Canadian government intelligence services.

The SUMMIT closed on Friday, June 4th, with remarks from Payments Canada Board Chair Eileen Mercier to the delegates: “We are really moving now. You have made the vision a reality. Everything that has been achieved is a reflection of your hard work and commitment to making Canada a modern and progressive economy.”

As team INETCO reflects on the topics of The SUMMIT, we are excited for what’s about to come for the payment ecosystem in Canada, and proud to be part of it.