How Nium is leading payments into the post-internet age
The payments process has become even more complicated than before; there's a panoply of options with which to pay for various goods and services. Handling all the behind-the-scenes infrastructure is more complicated than ever.
Frederick Crosby, Chief Revenue Officer at Nium
Payments infrastructure provider Nium is playing a key role in the future of how we pay for items and transfer money. Nium's Chief Revenue Officer Frederick Crosby explains all.
How does Nium help bring payments into a post-internet age?
Payments are starting to just bleed and meld into everything. I liken it to what happened to telephone calls. Telephones used to be like this domestic network and, "Oh my god, we can do international calls!" And that was crazy. But today, things are now all melding together. We don't know whether it's a phone call or it's a FaceTime, or whether it's a WhatsApp call. They all come through one avenue.
The same thing is happening with payments. When we talk about payments, we talk about bank-to-bank payments a lot. Card payments are out there as well. And then you think of crypto. Everything is happening quicker, everything is settled quicker and we're almost getting to the point of a virtual reality of payments, where you just swipe to get something done and the payment automatically goes with it. We're optimising a payment rail that is becoming the most cost-efficient, seamless thing possible. Everything is going to be absolutely perfect because you don't even have to think about it.
And Nium fits into that world. We've already built the infrastructure. We're already tying crypto and cards and banks' e-wallets all through one API solution so people don't have to go out and figure out the equivalent infrastructure of how to make all my phone calls and digital calls happen in one place — in this case, payments. It just happens. We build the infrastructure so people can plug into all this variety of different payment rails centralized into one account structure, one API solution, and everything elegantly can talk to each other. That provides businesses with a great opportunity.
Where do you see key areas of growth in the payments space?
I think the current revolution, believe it or not, is still only halfway there.
I think the physical card is going to die here soon. We'll have no physical cards in five years. But the card rail — using those 16 digits in order to communicate with each other through virtual cards, or embedded cards — will still exist, and just makes everything so efficient in a way that bank-to-bank can't.
So then what about crypto? Leaving aside the idea of investment in crypto — because I'm not the right person to ask — and looking at the technology, it offers a lot of the same promises that cards do, and more. There's opportunity with crypto rails, which can suddenly hold a lot of data and a lot of history all in the same place. I think that's really where crypto is going to be heading. The stablecoins are just the right channel for that: the conduit for where all those changes are going to be done.
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In what way does Nium help broker that business-to-business connection?
Well, first let's break down what you need when making a payment. It requires some very basic information: You need to know the name of the person sending it, and then the name of the person receiving the payment. And all the account information, either through your bank or your card or the e-wallet, needs to be there. The tricky thing about global payments is the "know your customer" requirements got tight in the early 2000s. The other element that got hard is that in the likes of China and Brazil, there's documentation you've got to provide that adds a lot of friction.
So where there's technology and where there's friction, you automate as much as you can. You make anything else that's still not automatable into something that is very fluid and has an easy flow. And that's where we get this global infrastructure payment infrastructure that we have. Through one API solution, it allows people to seamlessly make all that work. We've done the hard work underneath in the infrastructure itself to make all that work.
What kind of gains can it provide?
Some people will swap out us for another rail they add called SWIFT networks that they use to make payments. We've heard numbers such as 30% gains and efficiency and profit savings, but really it changes from case to case.
But then there's a whole upside and business opportunity that people are getting that they've never had an opportunity for. This goes back into the whole embedded finance area, where people on B2B platforms used to make all their money through subscriptions where people organize their AP or AR. When we bring in the possibility of payment revenue, this is just a whole new business line. They don't have to go and get their business or bank licenses — they just depend on us to provide all that. The number really doesn't change depending on the size of the business.
What could the vision of the future of global payments look like with Nium?
I think we're not going to think about bank versus card versus anything. It's just going to be about your currency and how it all settles back into your currency. You're not going to have to worry. People will just say, "I'm sending my $100, whatever interface I'm working with automatically has the intelligence to know how I like to send, and knows how my receiver likes to receive." All that's going to be brought through an integrated network.
That is our job. That's Nium's job. Nium will provide that infrastructure and not only has that ubiquity of options, but also has an intelligence to make those kinds of decisions.
Want to see how the simple, seamless, and scalable vision of the future will play out, and how Nium will play a key role? Download Nium's white paper here.