Financial institutions remain positioned well to forge deep relationships with business clients seeking help in navigating the challenges of emerging payments technology and risks, says Capital One's Jim Gifas.
"It's still too early to know how all of these new technology options will play out, but all of the changes that have happened recently will definitely create more options for our clients," says Gifas, who in April became Capital One's senior vice president and head of treasury management's product management and innovation group.
"I see it as our responsibility to help educate our customers on how to protect themselves and spot best practices and make sure they can protect themselves from internal and external fraud," Gifas says.
Gifas reports to Colleen Taylor, Capital One's head of treasury management and enterprise payments. He will lead all aspects of product management and development, including strategies for different business segments. Gifas was most recently head of treasury solutions for RBS Citizens Bank, where he worked in cash management, credit card, trade finance, and foreign exchange payment products. He also worked on development of mobile apps for corporate payments and banking while at RBS.
In the corporate treasury space, banks face both security and competitive pressure. Alternative companies such as Square and PayPal are not only offering new payments technology, but also adding credit products for small business. Other alternative companies such as Fundbox, Kabbage and OnDeck are also offering credit to small business.
Gifas would not comment directly on these lending products or whether Capital One would offer similar fast cash advances to merchants that could be paid back via a percentage of payments. He did say companies should proceed with caution when it comes to new financial products tied to payments.
"These are very new products," Gifas says. "The industry is just coming out of the financial crisis. It really isn't that old an event, it just happened a few years ago, and we have learned about what we need to do to prevent that kind of event from happening."
In addition to providing guidance on technology, banks can offer extensive customer service, access to other financial relationships, compliance assurance and guidance for risk management that help differentiate from other payments companies in a crowded market, Gifas says.
"All of these other companies are coming in with their own types of payments solutions and some of these operations are running on the bank's rails.But they are not being regulated the same way as banks," Gifas says. Capital One's strategy with small business includes information on positive pay and other fraud protections, he adds.
Capital One's development calendar for business payments includes new options for mobile payments, deeper integration with mobile business banking, and expanding transaction data tracking and reporting. It provides businesses greater visibility into incoming and outgoing payments and the impact on their operations, Gifas says.
"At the top of the list is providing information to businesses about payments and getting it to them faster," Gifas says. "It's really sort of the same thing as what consumers are increasingly demanding from their payments applications."
He'll also keep an eye on developments in consumer payments, since consumer adoption of new mobile payments technology can provide clues for the business side, Gifas says.
"A lot of what's happening in the business payments area has to do with what's happening in their personal lives," Gifas says. "People are starting to enjoy the convenience of having mobile technology for their own transactions and want to include that in their business to use more digital means, or credit cards or other ways to minimize the use of checks. The key is to do that in a secure a manner as possible."