Ensuring Payment Systems Resilience: Mission Critical, Not Mission Impossible

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15 June 2021


Banks, fintechs, and even nonbank brands are increasingly spoilt for choice when selecting their card issuing partners. Attractive front-end capabilities—such as allowing customers to rapidly design and launch an innovative card product via APIs or offering sophisticated and flexible authorisation rules—are becoming table stakes for modern card issuing platforms. While these capabilities matter, the “back end” considerations, such as reliability, scalability, and resilience, are more important than ever.

Digital technologies have raised the bar for the industry—customers expect everything, including payments, to be always-on and available 24x7, and are quick to voice their displeasure via social media if anything goes wrong. The COVID-19 pandemic raised the profile of resilience to the Board level, by testing the business continuity plans for every firm. It also highlighted the importance of elasticity and business ability to cope with drastic changes in volumes and customer preferences. In card payments, the reliability and resilience challenges have been exacerbated by the interconnected nature of the value chain and the ongoing transformation in card issuing.

The objective of this report is to help banks and fintechs ask their prospective partners tough questions and select those who are up to the challenge of customers’ high expectations for payment systems resilience. Financial institutions should seek partners who can demonstrate that they:

  • have engineered and architected their solutions with reliability and resilience in mind;
  • constantly monitor and protect them from cyberattacks and other threats;
  • can restore service availability quickly while keeping their customers updated on the progress.

Payment systems are mission-critical but ensuring their reliability and resilience does not have to be mission-impossible.