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London to Mumbai: around the world with payment innovations

In part two of our International Innovation series, we discover the latest innovations in some of Barclays’ Cards & Payments locations from around the world.

18 Jun 2019 04:00

From pioneering Barclaycard corporate cards in the UK over fifty years ago, to building a payments system to enable Transport for London to accept contactless cards, innovation has always been integral to our business. And whether that’s for start-up businesses or for international corporations, we strive to exceed expectations across all four corners of the globe.  

The Cards & Payments segment of Barclays, which operates in key markets in UK, US and Germany, has a strong heritage of innovation and propels our business forward. Nick Kerigan, MD of Future Payments, Cards & Payments within Barclays, comments: “We drive new and exciting developments through our internal expertise at our Barclays’ hubs across the world, and also through our strategic external partnerships. There has been significant transformation in technology and regulation, and in order to get ahead and stay ahead, we are ensuring we stay on the front foot to continue to scale our business.”

Innovation supports economic growth and delivers value to our customers and communities all over the world. As we constantly look to improve and expand our offering of card and payment services, we explore some of our latest digital innovations we are developing that focus on giving customers more control, automate processes, and help with problem solving.

Putting the customer in control

Our Wilmington, Delaware team in the Barclays US Consumer Bank have brought to market Control Your Card – a significant new development allowing customers complete oversight on how their credit card is used. Sagar Dalal, Head of Digital Payments and Innovation for Barclays US Consumer Bank, outlines how it works: “Available via the Barclays mobile app, it allows cardholders and any authorised users to benefit from functions such as Secure Hold. So, if a customer misplaces their card, they can instantly freeze it with the swipe of a button using this feature (and switch it on again should they find it later). Other comprehensive spend control features allow card members to keep on track of their purchases such as how, when and where their money is spent, as well as setting spend limits and controlling which merchants their card is used at. For peace of mind, customers will also receive real-time notifications direct to their devices every time a transaction is made.”

In the UK, Barclaycard Commercial Payments is evolving Precisionpay, a virtual payment solution designed to help employees of corporate businesses make purchases and payments, allowing organisations to take better control. Whether online or using a smartphone, Precisionpay is quick and convenient to use with all card details encrypted and payments allocated a limited lifespan – making every transaction fully secure. Employers can then manage spend limits and payment approvals through a web portal, no matter where in the world they happen to be.

Launched back in 2017, Precisionpay is now taking off in a new direction and users can also make virtual payments by bank transfer as well as through card payments. Sarah Bunting, Senior Product Manager working in Barclaycard Commercial Payments, explains: “Not everybody takes cards as payments and we wanted to ensure that we didn’t miss that part of the business spend, so we enabled our customers to take the virtual payment architecture and flip it on its head so they can make a payment into a supplier’s bank account. It’s been really well received amongst our customers, it’s a new way of ensuring that they can make a payment to their suppliers but benefit from the working capital we can give them on a card.”

Cutting-edge technology to improve processes

In India, the machine learning teams based in Mumbai and Pune are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to improve processes. Tasked with digitising millions of documents, the team compiles key information to support the development of digitised document recognition. This in-house AI solution has resulted in much faster turnaround times for our customers. Not only has the business’s investment in AI provided an answer to real business problems, but it has also modernised the process with technology already being leveraged elsewhere.

In Hamburg, Barclaycard Germany is also automating processes for customers applying for loans. 25,000 such cases are now fully automated resulting in quicker approvals and improved customer satisfaction.

Clear business advice

In Barclaycard Payment Solutions, we are also helping customers identify and solve the problems encountered when taking card and digital payments (as well as invisible payments). Our Payment Optimisation Acceptance is yet another innovation that has received positive feedback so far; one client has even claimed a sales uplift of up to £24 million per year. By helping businesses to identify these hurdles and improve their own processing methods, we’ve already successfully advised a large number of clients on how Barclays can help them tackle any remaining issues. Whether face-to-face or online, our guidance has enabled clients to future-proof their businesses thanks to an innovative payments platform.

In the first part of our 2019 Innovation series, we explored where inspiration for such exciting new developments comes from. Whether this is from the cities we live in, our diverse working environments, or the people that surround us, it’s clear our teams can draw inspiration from these factors to go on and create new and innovative ideas. Showing us around the Barclaycard offices in Hamburg, Chief Information Officer at Barclaycard Germany Kat Haase underlines the strength of the Barclaycard innovation network, and the ways in which the various teams share their ideas:
“In our co-lab we use technology to collaborate with our colleagues in the UK and India – without them our innovation wouldn’t be possible. They help us bring our ideas to life.”

Of the new products and services happening in Future Payments, Nick Kerigan says, “The innovations here show the wealth of ideas we have across our different businesses and locations. They highlight how we take everyday scenarios and look at how we can make outcomes better for our customers and communities. However, these are just a snapshot of what we are we are currently working on – we are constantly looking at how we can drive new ideas forward.”

From London to Mumbai, our International Innovation series will be looking at the work carried out by our colleagues around the world and highlights some of the innovations they are driving – make sure you check it out.