DIGITAL PAYMENTS. Innovations in digital payments environment is expected to further increase customer satisfaction as governments and the private sector introduce more policies and products towards this goal. This, as more regulators support the continued improvement in digital payments schemes in Asia Pacific, among others. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Banks should not consider financial technology firms as competitors but instead as partners in ensuring customer satisfaction vis-à-vis the digital finance space, an executive of a financial software company said.

In a briefing on Tuesday, Finastra Asia Pacific Payments managing director Tal Weiser said the current time is a “payment perfect storm” both in terms of challenges and opportunities.

He said banks thus need to keep up with the new regulations to serve their clients.

“Customer expectations have changed in recent years drastically,” he said, noting that in the past, payments process for small and medium businesses could took three days but this had become unacceptable given the digital payments innovation.

During the same briefing, Finastra regional head for Payment Solution Consulting Dheeraj Joshi cited the rising electronic wallet (e-wallet) usage in the Philippines, which he said is in line with the growth in Asia Pacific.

He said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is “very supportive of the changes” and has implemented a lot of initiatives, such as the PESONet and InstaPay, to improve payment system infrastructure in the country.

These two electronic fund transfer facilities are part of the central bank’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap eyed to increase the number of adults that are part of the formal banking system to around 70 percent of the total by 2023, and increase the share of digital payments to around 50 percent of the total during the same period.

Joshi said banks need to carefully re-assess their payments modernization strategy and should not consider fintechs as competitors.

"(It's better) to collaborate to gain success in digital transformation," he said.

Joshi said Finastra continues to see further improvements in digital payments space in Asia Pacific as governments and the private sector implement programs towards this path.

“We are seeing that consumers are picking up on those digital payments and among banks, we see more and more digital payments penetration supported by the growth of e-commerce, supported by government initiatives as well as innovation,” he added. (PNA)