How Data Is Transforming Payments

How Data Is Transforming Payments - Nathan Trousdell Nathan Trousdell is the Director of Strategy & Corporate Development at Payvision, a global online payments processor based in Amsterdam. He works with the founders and department managers across all areas of the firm, including sales strategy, data science and product. He is also responsible for the valuation and analysis of strategic investments and merger & acquisition activity. Prior to joining Payvision, Nathan worked as an Investment Banker in London and Wellington. He has a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from The University of Otago, and an NZX Diploma in Finance.


The emergence of Data Science is gradually picked up also in the Payments World. We talk to Nathan from Payvision, a company at the vanguard of driving the importance and real value for customers of data in Payments.


What do you think is the role of Data Science in the Payments sector?


I think Data Science in the payments sector is multifaceted, with fraud and security being a large part of it on one side, and the optimization of payment processing on the other side. On the fraud side, understanding fraud patterns and trying to bring in obscure data that may help you recognize and catch fraud is incredibly powerful. You can also use Data Science to help your merchant’s process payments more effectively, by diving into authorization and conversion metrics and looking at card holder patterns and motivations. Overall, Data Science is helping payment companies provide safer and more reliable payment services to both merchants and their consumers.


What role does Data Science play in your firm’s strategy and day-to-day operations?


It is an interesting area because in the payments business you sit on a huge amount of information. You have live transactional flow, running into the millions of transactions, and the more data you can collect on these transactions the better understanding you can obtain about your customers and about the process. At Payvision, we work to make business decisions based on a mix of data information and intuition. Many businesses run on gut feeling and experience, and while this intuitive approach to business is important you always back up your decision making with fact and logic. With so many human biases it’s vital to look at data and understand the full picture before making decisions. We at Payvision are evangelists about doing business this way and are quite passionate about getting this approach more and more into the DNA of our company. We always work to educate people in all departments about the importance of data based decision making, and how it can be leveraged to improve the organizations performance.


Picking up the aspect of combining intuitive and data based decision making, do you think adopting to this new environment is a big challenge?


It is definitely a learning curve and an educational process. Proving the worth of data through tangible results is important because analyzing it, creating reports and teaching people about how it can help them serve our customers better is time consuming and soaks up resources. However, as I noted before, I think that at Payvision we will never solely rely only on data because there is always a chance you can incorrectly interpret it and act in blind faith. The philosophy that inspires us is to always have curious and critical mind, and be skeptical of everything. It is easy to make a mistake and suddenly lose the value of the data and exercise that you were going through, which needs to be focused on solving real problems, not creating new ones.


There are numerous advantages of using data within the Payments sector. What are the disadvantages in your opinion?


The only disadvantage is that it’s really time and resource consuming. This is because the market is highly fragmented especially when you work with a lot of partners, like we do, who may still use old systems with different data sets, styles, information management approaches. To provide a seamless experience to merchants and consumers, and enable them to process and review payments in all regions through a single system, you need to take all of that differing data, clean and consolidate it so it can be used to provide real insights. This is a pretty heavy exercise in terms of resourcing, but we need to face this challenge in order to provide the omnichannel experience that is the future of payments industry. To me, outside of the resourcing issues, and the need to continuously educate people who don’t have a data-driven approach to problem solving, there aren’t any disadvantages. In the long run seeing past those shortterm disadvantages allows you to reap huge long-term benefits.


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