The global payments market is deeply fragmented. With rapidly evolving technologies, new regulations and increasing globalization, it can be hard for players to keep up.

The answer to simplifying these complexities? Standardization.

As it has done across a number of other industries, standardization offers huge potential to deliver greater operational efficiency and meet a variety of core business challenges that when overcome, enables all payments industry stakeholders, including merchants, to get ahead of the competition in both domestic and international markets.

Chart: Comfort in cross-border payments

For merchants, building trust with their end customers is key. Payment standards offer a simple way to deliver a consistent user experience at the point of interaction between multiple payment types and, crucially, across borders too. Even such subtle markers of familiarity can improve perception of a merchant’s brand.

The long-term efficiencies of standardized systems also benefit the customer too. With internal resources freed from "firefighting" payments, efforts can be redirected into delivering new innovative services, like mobile payment services and value-added loyalty schemes. Plus, on a standardized system, the rollout and maintenance of these services across all platforms is quicker, slicker and borderless with standardization.

By extension, standardisation also dramatically simplifies global expansion. For merchants looking to set up operations in new territories or acquire overseas brands as part of their international growth strategy, merchant’s international payment acceptance standards enable payments integration to facilitate growth, not inhibit it with complexity.

What about existing multinational retailers? Implementing standards offer the opportunity to harmonise existing systems globally, and enables them to deliver a fully interoperable, cross-border payments infrastructure.

Centralizing and unifying payments management for any stakeholder can realise huge efficiencies and cost savings.

International retailers can consolidate all their global payments into the same bucket. By enabling merchants to group payments together, retailers are empowered to negotiate volume-based deals via a smaller number of acquiring banks, driving down their total cost of payment acceptance even further.

With the use of global standards, merchants can also strengthen and consolidate their relationships with vendors and minimize expenditure on hardware and software solutions and maintenance. By standardizing systems, merchants can establish a consistent baseline upon which they evaluate solutions from different vendors, migrate easily and efficiently between different solutions when change is required, and engage with vendors on a truly global scale.

Normand Provost

Normand Provost is liaison chair of Nexo.