Over a coffee with Olivia: Expert insights into local payment methods around the world

Olivia Sicurani
Head of Local Payments

Adyen’s Head of Local Payment Methods talks culture, shopper-focus, and WeChat Pay

Olivia’s love of entrepreneurship and technology lead her to Adyen, where she joined the Local Payments team two years ago. She now heads up the team, working closely with local payment methods, integrators, and development teams around the world to ensure businesses provide the best possible payment experiences to their shoppers  – wherever they are. 

How do you take your coffee?

Gourmand. The coffee is a bit of a pretext, what I really want is chocolate. 

How complex is the local payments landscape out there? 

In short, it is pretty complicated! Payments are tied to the tradition and history of a country, and it can be totally contradictory to what you expect. For example Japan is a very modern tech-driven society, but, when it comes to payments, many shoppers still prefer to pay for online shopping with cash at convenience stores. Meanwhile China is at the cutting-edge, and shoppers have fully incorporated mobile payments into their daily lives. 

In Europe there are plenty of legacy payment methods that are still really popular, and essential to reach all shoppers. But we are also seeing new trends: Peer-to-peer payment apps for example, with the likes of Bunq in the Netherlands, MobilePay in Denmark, and Swish in Sweden. It will be interesting to see if/when these apps cross over into customer-to-business payments, and what impact Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay will have in these countries.

In the U.S., U.K. and Australia, large international players like Visa, Mastercard, and Amex dominate the payments landscape. Consequently these markets are relatively straightforward to enter, from a payments perspective.

We’ve just announced our support of WeChat. What should businesses consider when implementing Chinese wallets like WeChat Pay and Alipay? 

WeChat Pay and Alipay are blazing a trail for players across APAC, and the rest of the world. And they are ideal for businesses that sell to Chinese shoppers, such as retailers and travel services. One key thing to consider is that WeChat is a communications platform. And so to really get the best from this method, you should integrate it into your overall customer engagement strategy.

What will the local payments landscape look like in 5 years time? 

The rise of mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, is shaping the way people pay, all over the world. And so, while physical payments will remain part of our daily lives for a while, mobile will certainly prevail, both online and in store. 

What should businesses bear in mind when evaluating payment methods? 

It must all start and end with the shopper. But it is also important to consider your own business needs. For example: for businesses with high transaction values, guaranteed payment methods are a huge advantage, and, if there is a chargeback risk, you need to understand how you can tackle it. Subscription businesses might need to adapt their business models in some markets, as many local methods don’t support recurring payments. 

What are the benefits of integrating via a full-service PSP, like Adyen, as opposed to a gateway, or the payment method directly?

Well first of all, you don’t need separate contracts for every payment method. And reconciliation and reporting is unified, so you have everything in one place. But I think the most important benefit is the ongoing support you receive. As a global PSP, we work with these payment methods on a daily basis, building new integrations, and managing relationships. This not only results in the best conditions for our customers, but we can help push through improvements, and roll them out quickly to benefit everyone. 

What does the local payment method team look like at Adyen? 

Our team is a mix of product managers, developers, and partnership managers, located across the U.S., APAC, and LATAM, and Europe. It is very important for us to have experts on the ground around the world; it helps us to understand the local markets and local shoppers’ needs. 

And of course, last but not least, if you had one superpower, what would it be? 

Teleportation. It would be super cool to be able to travel everywhere with a snap of my fingers, and so convenient in dealing with all our partners all over the world! 

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