The 5th Annual Women in Payments Symposium took place on September 20&21 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. The theme this year was focused on Innovation in Payments. In attendance from AcceptEmail was Melanie Barteaux, Business Development Manager in Canada. Melanie participated in the panel discussion on Innovation in Payments.
When you compare Canada to other markets - what differences do you see in our approaches, generally, to innovation?
Canada is known internationally as a leader in payments. Our payment systems have been established years ago though and are not easily adaptable to new features. My personal experience in the Canadian market is fairly short. We started our market research and business development efforts recently. When it comes to innovation, I see Canada not as a front runner when comes to adopting changes, but a close follower; say second wave country. This translates into my personal experience in market research and business development. For example, cheques in Europe are almost non-existent, where in Canada most people still receive or use them. In Western Europe corporates and consumers are already used to a wide variety of bill presentment channels like online, via email, text or social media and of course some more traditional people can still get paper bills. In Canada there is still a strong preference for paper. Canadian corporates are hesitant in embracing change/innovation, often because of their legacy channels and products. For example, a lot of effort and money has been sunk into Self Service Portals. Years ago that was the new cool thing. But we all know that Self-service portals aren’t cool and are a pain to deal with. We all suffer from userid and password fatigue.
How do you believe being a Woman in Innovation makes your point of view different, gives you an advantage or makes innovation more challenging?
Being a woman in payments and innovation gives not just myself but all of us, a competitive advantage! I think we are more critical than man and look for other things. To illustrate this statement, I wanted to share a vision by Joanne Thomas Yaccato who developed a concept called Gender Intelligence. Her philosophy is simple: if the needs of women consumers are at the epicenter of a company’s strategic planning process, you’ll raise the bar for everyone. What I didn’t know is that companies like, IKEA, Scotiabank, RBC and many more have adopted her Gender Intelligence philosophy and have altered their product and service offering.
Women in Payments® includes keynote presentations, executive panel discussions, and breakout sessions that provide powerful and relevant content in the rapidly changing fields of retail payments, commercial payments and leadership. In addition, it celebrates women’s accomplishments, innovation, and leadership in the payments industry.
For the Payment industry in particular, what challenges do you think innovators in this segment face that are different than other industries?
The key focus should be on providing an easy and simple solution for customers while maintaining compliant. But that sounds easier than it is. In the Payment industry there are so many Global rules and regulations around compliance, the clearing and settlement of funds, EDI, that keeping it efficient and secure, is a challenge. Years ago, when ING partnered with AcceptEmail, I was impressed with the ease of use of their product. They were and are able to keep things simple while providing a service that is secure and efficient, a huge accomplishment! We have gateways with hundreds of Payment Service Providers who look after the execution of the payment. This way we focus on what we are best at, sending out bulk payment requests via digital channels.
Last but not least, how do you stay inspired?
The truth is that I live for my next project. Right now, I am totally focused on launching AcceptEmail in Canada. There isn't a time in my life when I'm not completely obsessed about something. My mom says I've been that way since childhood. That said, I stay mostly inspired by proving myself wrong! We've all been guilty of saying things like "I would love to, but I don't have time" or "I could never do that". These attitudes, especially in woman, are so common, but they probably aren't even true. I know it sounds a little cliché, but if you believe you can do something... you can! I've marked quite a few things off my list that I used to believe I couldn't do. Acting out of your comfort zone and proving yourself wrong, to me is a great way to stay inspired.