SIBS CEO on EU digital wallet interoperability

“Very dependent on global networks.”

This is how Madalena Cascais Tomé, CEO of Portugal-based payments company SIBS, described cross-border mobile payments across Europe, a challenge she said requires accelerating innovation among European payment systems to circumvent rules and rigid standards set by these global networks. .

“[That dependence] it also shows that there is room to be more creative and develop European standards that are more personalized and targeted to the needs of Europeans,” Cascais Tomé told PYMNTS in an interview, adding that preserving “European sovereignty” will also require building networks of payment with unique solutions in the region.

That goal is one that the European Mobile Payment Systems Association (EMPSA) has taken on since it was formed in 2019, working to develop interoperability and provide roaming solutions between the network’s 16 participating payment systems, including member SIBS. founder of the association.

The success of the initiative is expected to drive payments for more than 70 million mobile payment users and more than one million merchant acceptance points, while facilitating several billion transactions for hundreds of European banks per year. .

When asked about the high cost of investment and the various national know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations that could complicate the process of ensuring seamless cross-border mobile payments, Cascais Tomé acknowledged the difficulty. of the task, but emphasized EMPSA’s goal is to build interoperability between existing digital wallets rather than trying to merge them into a single solution.

“There are ways to do that that have to do with helping the different solutions to interconnect, communicate and exchange information with each other. [without the need to] standardize what already exists,” he explained.

Antifraud and Cybersecurity

The Portuguese payment provider has placed a key focus on security issues and anti-fraud measures, and as a result takes a “security by design” approach when developing payment solutions, in addition to artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to analyze and spot potential outliers to help improve your models.

“We have, as a European benchmark, one of the lowest fraud levels in Europe, and this is due to the Paywatch solution and services we provide,” said Cascais Tomé, adding that the company is also investing heavily in the space. of cybersecurity. — “an area that will be increasingly critical to improving digital payments and services [more broadly].”

Another key aspect of SIBS’s anti-fraud approach is the need to improve digital literacy and awareness to minimize the number of businesses falling victim to cyberattacks, the rate of which has spiked significantly in the wake of the pandemic.

Read more: SIBS of Portugal takes over the international payment platform

Today, the 38-year-old Lisbon-based company is one of the largest FinTech firms in Portugal and one of the leading European payment providers, processing more than 7 billion transactions a year and providing digital payment services to more than 300 million users in several markets. throughout Europe and Africa.

Integration of Value Added Services

The e-commerce sector is one of the industries that has benefited greatly from the rapid digital transformation and the global shift from in-store shopping to online shopping brought about by the pandemic.

“E-commerce has almost doubled in the European countries where we are present, it is really accelerating,” said Cascais Tomé, adding that the fact that consumers feel safer when making mobile payments that do not require giving your card details is one of them. one of the main factors driving this rapid growth.

The rise of digital payments has also proven to be an efficient and convenient way for merchants to receive payments, significantly reducing churn rates and shopping cart abandonment at checkout, he noted.

In addition, the integration of additional value-added services into payment platforms, such as loyalty programs and buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions, is a key trend that she says will gain momentum in the future.

“Our habits are changing and payment solutions must follow that,” said Cascais Tomé. “We live in an increasingly hybrid context and [it is critical] to ensure that we can manage our payments, solutions, payment transactions and payment information [effectively].”

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