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People in Payments video interview: Tony Craddock, Emerging Payments Association | Clearhaus Learning

The paytech and fintech industries are under constant development. New players, new rules, and new technology are popping up all the time.

We’ve asked Tony Craddock of Emerging Payments Association about the past, present, and future of the payments landscape

Check out this video, if you want to know how to thrive in the current payment industry and what threats you should be looking out for.

I’m Tony Craddock, I’m the Director General of the Emerging Payments Association and it’s great to have a few questions to answer.

When did you start working in the payments industry?

You know, I have been in payments about 15 years. I first got involved with emerging payments and exciting new things in payments, and have been in it ever since.

What are the most significant changes you have seen in the payments landscape over the last 10 years?

There has been some very significant changes around technology. Contactless, mobile wallets, all the things that are behind the scenes, at the back office. So, great technology changes, significant changes around regulation, of course, from what was the e-money directive through to PSD2, GDPR, all these fancy AMLs: 2, 3, 4, and 5. The regulations have had a fundamental and significant impact on our industry. I’ve seen great change in the geographical nature of our industry, to having a series of hubs around the world, particularly the UK, where there’s a paytech and fintech hub, that’s really thriving, and the combination of money, talent were benign and supportive regulator, early adopting consumers, and entrepreneurial zest has created a series of hubs, in which innovations and innovators can thrive. And I think we’ve seen structural changes around faster payments, around challenge of banks coming into the market. Around the bringing together of the e-money institutions, and the payment institutions, and the credit institutions, to creating a thriving, competitive, innovation friendly, and consumer protecting environment.

What will the payments landscape look like over the next 10 years?

And in terms of the payments landscape and how that’s gonna change, don’t forget: the fundamental shift we’re going to see relates to the quality and quantity of collaboration in our industry. Because things are changing so fast, because there is a high degree of uncertainty, because we need to get a great degree of security. And because nobody can do all of this. No man or woman is an island in this industry. We will be seeing more and more collaboration, and I don’t just mean as a word, I mean as a practice. I mean people doing more stuff together. And organisations like Clearhaus, who are part of our thriving network in the Emerging Payments Association, are practically showing that they’re out and open to working together with merchants, with PSPs, with EMIs and with banks, to create new products and services, and new solutions. And it’s organisations like Clearhaus, that will be driving the industry in the years ahead.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you forsee in the near future?

Open banking as a structural change, driven by PSD2, enabled by the open banking implementation entity is gonna be transformational. It’s gonna make a change, that we’ll look back on and go “why didn’t we see that happening?”. And so often it’s the case when the most changes happening and you’re in the middle of it, you don’t see it. We’re gonna be seeing that at the moment. And new models, new players, new use cases for new users will be enabled, and as a result, we’ll be driving better results to the end user, better value in terms of convenient, real time, low or zero cost value adding payments that will allow us to ultimately enable the consumers and the users to move money more efficiently, and as a result, improve their lives. Improving lives everywhere - that’s what the EPA stands for.

What makes or breaks a Fintech startup?

Well it’s again, it’s the yin and the yang, it’s the anima and the animus. It’s the ability to have both focus and flexibility. So focus, yes drive towards the business plan, but if it’s not working actually change it. Both passion and persistence. Passion, creativity, drive, enthusiasm, energy, but also dogged determination and hard graft - those things are both necessary. And I think you want both control financially and freedom financially, so the two sounds as if they’re inconsistent but the paradox is, you have to have both. You have to have data to understand where on earth your business is going, and you also have to have the freedom to invest in and expend on things that are the opportunity that can really grow your business.

What is the most common question your members ask you?

It’s “what do you think is gonna happen with Brexit?”. And I have two views. I have my personal view, which is one I’m not gonna share today, and I have my professional view which is, I believe on a micro level it’s gonna be disruptive and uncomfortable, on a macro level, long term, it’s gonna make no difference. If you have a thriving eco-system, a thriving industry, which is out there solving customer problems. If you have money, you have talent, creativity, and hard work, then you know what,a little bit of political infrastructure changes is not gonna make a huge difference. It’ll be a blip, but we’ll continue to look back on many years of significant growth for the paytech and fintech industry in the years ahead.

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