WHAT OUTWEIGHS THE CONVENIENCE OF CASH
The situation surrounding financial and payment services has undergone dramatic change. In any era as dynamic as ours, a comprehensive conceptual framework that can serve as a guide pointing toward a better future is essential. Toward this end, Celent uses its payments taxonomy and payments value chain frameworks as lenses to examine evolution in the payment sector.  Payments innovation is also informed by the changing behavior of payment services users and exists in the context of the payments value chain. Service providers should see this field as a blue ocean—a market space ripe for pioneering new payment initiatives.
The intense competition over the already existing services, which is called legacy systems in Japan, makes the market a red ocean. There is no room for anything new in the interbank payment settlement systems such as the BOJ-NET or the Zengin; ATM as a cornerstone of cash distribution; and credit card network systems as the most noncash methods of payment. We need to think of some “value proposition” which is new and beyond already existing payment methods. Despite consumers in the digital era hoping for something more convenient than cash, the supply side is not aware of this demand. As a matter of fact, the number of online banking accounts is about 60 million. This accounts for only 20% of the number of ATM cards, which is 300 million. The financial services institutions have failed to provide handier and more convenient services than cash. FSI which are thriving in Japan's growing e-payment market are not very traditional ones so far.
Here, Celent wants to advocate a conceptual system as an open innovation platform that would create a platform layer (the formulation of rules under new frameworks) with an innovation layer (creation of new services within the new framework). The expectation is that this conceptual system could fulfill the role of API provider in the era of the API economy. This envisions a situation in which financial institutions use an infrastructure shared with the manufacturing, retail, and logistics industries, using the API to fuse together not only B2B but also B2C information—that is, information about consumer lifestyle and consumption patterns—with financial information to create a blueprint to enable technology to bring relevant financial services into the daily lives of consumers. Historically, the business or commercial information regarding companies and consumers’ lives has been far from integrated; doing so moving forward is aimed at illuminating the flow of related funds and creating a closer and more useful relationship between the two.
In crafting a vision of the financial services of the future, one must ostensibly imagine services that transcend the traditional confines of financial services and are more intimately intertwined with corporations and their activities as well as the lives of consumers. The advent of fintech continues to raise the expectations of financial services customers. Indeed, the key to competition in financial services may lie outside the financial industry, coming from services and businesses that specialize in knowing the customer such as YouTube and Ritz-Carlton, customer behavior prediction such as Google and Amazon, or even referencing how SNS seek to clearly iterate their services and realize simple interactions. In short, meeting these needs and expectations can be seen as a compass that points toward building the financial landscape of the future.
Celent prioritizes the following three points when it envisages “the future of financial services.”
- The technology evolution that is taking place through the building of financial market infrastructures: the rise of Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and their latest examples.
- Competition and co-creation in building these financial market infrastructures: Classical technology (ACH, SWIFT, etc., which are equivalent to Japanese Banks’ Payment Clearing Network) VS Emerging Information and Value Transfer (Next-generation digital gift card service networks of Gyft and Chain.com, Ripple’s bi-directional messaging system coupled tightly with distributed ledgers for international banking payments).
- Blue Ocean Strategy on payment services: New services based on financial market infrastructures which have resulted from the fusion of old and new techniques; Resultant new digital lifestyle or new digital supply chains.
- a) for retail market: inexpensive Peer to Peer (P2P) money transfer services for less frequent and small transfers.
- b) for corporate market: next-generation transaction banking services where commercial distribution, commodity distribution, and money transfers are all integrated.
These new money transfer services for retail customers will be a total watershed, replacing existing e-money. They will serve as a basis of information transfer and value transfer for digital native generation as well. On the other hand, the next-generation transaction banking services for corporate customers will make it possible to renovate existing supply chains and exercise tighter control over corporate information and value transfer through digitalizing and liberalizing contracts and settlements. Celent sees great potential for significant innovation and a “fund transfer revolution” in these new services.
Figure: Open Innovation Platform
This area is explored in depth in the Celent report: