[Interview]: What the payment future is about – Starring John Kolthof #1

We asked our CCO John Kolthof about the future of the payment industry. What megatrends does John see and how do they influence CCV’s day-to-day business? Read more in our interview.

The year 2020 was definitely a tough one. The COVID19 pandemic has shaken the world and mobility, commerce and vending in particular. Within CCV, there have been a number of restructurings that have brought a lot of fresh air and have realigned CCV for the future. These restructurings always started from customer perspective, therefore we decided to consolidate CCV’s current commercial organizations in only two organizations. One has a focus on SME customers and and the other has a focus on Corporate/Large accounts in specific markets.

On the SME side, there is the independent entrepreneur with his own business and his own requirements for the payment solution. On the corporate accounts, there are the large international projects, chains and service providers who, due to the complexity of their systems, have their own individual requirements. Within CCV we concentrate on this – often international – group of major customers.

John, what kind of megatrends do you see and how do they harm our payment business?

Urbanisation, i.e. ever larger communities that are forming. Appropriate to this – even if it sounds contradictory at first sight – is the individualisation of society. That is, a desire for tailor-made products, at a self-determined time and independent of location. And then, of course, we have the smartphone, as the linchpin of the individual but also of society itself. This mini-computer is our third arm, perhaps even an outsourced part of our brain.
These three trends contribute to the fact that the customer journey has become far more complex and has expanded, especially in terms of mobility. Taxi, car sharing, e-bikes, aeroplanes – the touchpoints are becoming more and more diverse. However, there is always a payment process behind them: we at CCV see the payment process itself, but also the processes behind them and how these can best be integrated into the customer journey. This is our absolute added value, both internationally and locally. For example, we have created a complete payment infrastructure for a large international car rental company, which maps all payments at every point in the customer journey, online and offline, in one system all over the globe.

Does this mean that payment has also changed?

Yes and no. For most consumers, payment in the broadest sense means choosing between cash and cards. However, many other possibilities have developed in between, which we as payment service providers have to integrate into our services. This starts with wallets such as Apple Pay, but also new payment methods as WeChat. But for the big projects, card link loyalty programs or other bonus systems must also be integrated. These programs could also provide the large retailers with certain information about their customers, e.g. purchasing frequency or purchasing power, completely anonymously of course. We achieve this through new technologies such as tokenization.

EV-Charging is considered a major growth market – does this also apply to CCV?

We have been active in field of EV charging for many years now and have been able to gain a lot of experience and gain important partners. There is an increasing willingness to investment in alternative energies and e-vehicles worldwide, but I still see us at a relatively early stage of this development. There are still far more e-vehicles in company fleets than in private ownership. This will change in the medium term and systems will have to adapt to the needs of the end customer: Today, e-drivers have to come up with a lot of apps and cards to be able to show the right means of payment for one of the charging stations on longer journeys. This is of course poison for a comfortable customer journey. The payment process for charging the e-vehicle must be the same as for shopping at the supermarket or filling up at the petrol station. Uniform, barrier-free payment – that is our goal. Together with Mastercard, we will launch a major campaign in 2021.


Read here part 2