We have an exclusive interview with Haresh Hemrajani, Regional General Manager at FSS Technologies to talk about the latest developments of his company.
1. Could you share with our readers a brief intro related to FSS and its payments processing service in India? What is the company’s background and what are your main activities in the Indian market?
First of all, I would like to thank Payments & Cards Magazine for this Q&A session and providing us the opportunity to introduce FSS to your esteem readers. FSS delivers world-class payments technology platform and products to our customers around the world. We cater to the entire spectrum of payment needs for banks/fintechs/processors from transaction origination to switching to reconciliation. Our product portfolio spans issuance, omni-channel payment acceptance (ATM’s/POS/Online/Mobile), transaction switching and processing, analytics, 3D Secure and reconciliation. Collectively, we service 100+ leading financial institutions globally and our solutions directly impact an approximate 5% of the world’s population.
2. What are your USP’s? How do you differentiate from your competitors in the market?
I’ve been fortunate enough to gain experience in other leading organizations, but I have never met so many talented individuals dedicated to the future of payments as I have since I joined FSS. Our USP lies in our clear, determined focus on payments and as the world evolves from generalist to specialist, FSS is the ideal partner to facilitate the digital payments transformation journey of our clients. FSS has been in the payments domain for 28 years, so our experience is deep and wide. Our clients include banks, central regulators, governments, financial intermediaries including third-party electronic payment processors, merchants and payment associations in Indian sub-continent, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, Australia and North America. Our 3,000+ payments experts are able to tap into this rich pool of experience, deliver and even compete with considerable agility – as we’re now seeing in Europe.
Our solutions also provide customers the flexibility to pick and choose components from any of our core product stacks – acquiring, issuing, analytics and back-office. To cite an example; with our Payments-in-a-Box solution a challenger bank in Asia was able to go live within six weeks, with services ranging from payments processing, card management, reconciliation to payment gateway for e-commerce, and biometric-enabled payments for financial inclusion. In addition, we support a wide range of business models providing enormous business flexibility to banks of all sizes: licensed, Platform as-a-service and FSS private cloud.
3. Operating all over the world, where do you see the biggest opportunity in Europe and how do you anticipate the different needs across countries?
We are seeing substantial interest in our solutions and services evidenced with our recent signing of five new clients in Europe over the past 12 months. This is a testament to the fundamental power of our technology, solutions and services.
Digitization, shifting consumer preferences and regulatory reforms continue to fuel Europe’s importance as an influencer in the development of payments. But as we’ve seen elsewhere, the fundamental concept of a trusted institution acting as a store of value, a source of finance and as a facilitator of transactions remains unchanged and is the same for a bank in Amsterdam as it is in Atlanta. Customer demand has, however, changed significantly and requires banks to adapt at a pace they have not encountered before. In Europe we believe there are some particular drivers which will spread beyond its borders, just as we saw with contactless and chip & pin, the success of both supported by some of the region’s most diverse markets:
i. We are living in an experience economy: Customer expectations are evolving at a faster pace and European banks are particularly raising the bar and experimenting with how AI-enabled functionality such as chatbots and predictive learning can increase customer satisfaction while increasing operational efficiencies and creating growth opportunities.
ii. Accelerated API-fication of innovation: With new entrants and regulations including PSD2 in Europe, APIs have gained renewed business relevance with a number of European banks at the forefront in this area.
iii. Rise of real-time transaction rails: Europe is now a market where faster payments/instant payments infrastructure is centrally mandated and managed. In a world of immediate payments, a different set of capabilities is needed including 24×7 support for retail and business clients, supported by strengthened anti-fraud activities adjusted to real-time processing requirements. Risk and treasury functions will also need to raise their game in liquidity management to monitor, manage and fund transactions across the defined settlement time intervals during the 24×365 timeframe.
4. With some interesting developments going on right now around open banking, PSD2 and instant payments, how is FSS acting on those?
We recognize that the payments ecosystem will be frictionless, open, instant and with context. With several developments happening in Europe, our initial focus has been specifically at the adoption of 3DSecure 2.0 for strong customer authentication demanded by PSD2. Specifically, on PSD2, our solutions are embedded with open API’s that can be consumed by the new emerging TPP’s. In parallel, we are augmenting our API gateway to support the PSD2 services.
In Europe, payments have swiftly moved from being a functional utility to becoming a vital part of a winning customer experience where pre and post purchase activities including search, comparison, selection, payment, and rewards operate seamlessly together. We are adapting our own support and services to ensure that our clients across the region can support this increasing demand for frictionless, compliant and immediate payments in what is an unprecedented ‘open banking’ environment.
5. Last year FSS launched FSSPay. What are the benefits of working with FSSPay?
FSSPay is a two-sided services platform connecting merchants and banks. The platform aggregates merchants on the one side and banks on the other and assumes complete responsibility for transaction processing, currency conversion for international transactions, reporting settlement and clearing. Merchants benefit, as a single connection to the platform provides connectivity to multiple domestic and international banks. This effectively converts a substantive proportion of off-us payments to on-us transactions, significantly lowering merchant discount rates. Acquirers benefit as they have a single view of the merchant, enabling them to optimally manage a large portfolio of merchants.
6. What are some of the future developments of FSS in the coming period?
At FSS, 60/30/10 model forms the underpinning of our growth model. Essentially, this means 40% of investments at any point of time would be directed towards innovations in the mid-term and the long-term. FSS is making significant investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive our next phase of growth, by adding business value to our customers across a wide range of applications including Digital Banking, Payment Analytics, Digital Security, Reconciliation, ATM Monitoring and Data Centre Operations.
For example, we were early adopters of the 3DS 2.0 specification and are the few vendors certified by the Schemes for our Secure3D product. Our solution couples advanced identity centric approaches including behavioral and biometric based authentication backed by analytics. This enables service providers to authenticate customers in the background in line with customer demographic, transactional, location and risk profile.
7. How do you see the future of payments and how does FSS work towards those?
The future of payments will largely be open, ambient, invisible and instant. We have just touched the surface and the potential is unlimited. Open banking is already creating a platform for greater cooperation and collaboration between banks and TPP’s to help enhance the digital payments space, which is why we want to help banks better manage their investment in analytics, AI, open banking, voice commerce and chatbot commerce. FSS have several key solutions that we will launch in Europe and globally to capture this momentum.About Haresh Hemrajani
Haresh joined FSS Technologies in November 2017 as their Regional General Manager responsible for establishing FSS’ licensing and processing services across the Europe region, defining and delivering regional strategy through the sales, delivery and operations team across multiple customers and markets. His focus has been on increasing competitiveness, improving customer experience, improving employee engagement and increasing the depth of services.
About FSS Technologies
FSS Technologies is a leader in payments technology and transaction processing. FSS offers an integrated portfolio of software products, hosted payment services and software solutions built over 28+ years of experience. FSS, end-to-end payments products suite, powers retail delivery channels including ATM, POS, Internet and Mobile as well as critical back-end functions including cards management, reconciliation, settlement, merchant management and device monitoring. Headquartered in India, FSS services leading global banks, financial institutions, processors, central regulators and governments across North America, UK/Europe, Middle East, Africa and APAC.