In a recent survey of AFP conference attendees, professionals weighed in on the most pressing factors currently influencing innovation in the payments and banking industries — from the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in processes to real-time payments adoption to combatting payments fraud and financial crime. One thing is clear from the results, these factors are top-of-mind for payments and banking professionals. But when it comes to adopting the latest innovations, the difficulty of integrating new technology into existing systems is a common denominator.

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence

For the past few years, there has been chatter about AI moving into the banking and payments space, but according to 65% of respondents, the actual shift is happening now. What does that look like? At the very least, AI can be used to automate processes and analyze data. In banking that might mean looking for accounts that customers start to open online but then get held up for some reason, and using that information to solve the bottleneck. In a payments application, it can use data to forecast cash flow by analyzing past trends and transactions for patterns. Or as a tool to combat financial crime, AI can act as a virtual investigator by flagging suspicious activity and preventing fraudulent activity.

The survey also found that 79% of respondents believe improved efficiency and automated processes are the biggest benefits of AI. However, as an explanation for why more organizations aren’t implementing AI in their processes, 46% cited integration into existing technology as the reason.

Real-Time Payments Adoption

As the speed and convenience of real-time payments increases its hold in the B2B banking and payments landscape in the U.S., over half of respondents (54%) believe that their organizations won’t be prepared for widespread adoption. When asked the reason for the unpreparedness, integration was again the number one issue. Incorporating the real-time payments platform into corporate accounting systems and ERP platforms was the overwhelming response.

Combatting Payments Fraud and Financial Crime

Securing funds and customer data continues to be of utmost concern for financial institutions and corporates. Cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to circumvent prevention methodologies and hack into the latest technologies. In fact, 37% of respondents cite that placing a greater emphasis on combatting payments fraud and financial crimes in 2020 is a top priority.

AI, real-time payments and security are all top concerns for the banking and financial industries. The survey results show that industry professionals are well aware of the value that AI can bring to their organizations, but also of the issues preventing the use of such tools. Similarly with the adoption of real-time payments. And as fraudsters get more sophisticated, it’s clear that organizations need to bolster their defenses as well.  The survey results are reflective of the ever-changing landscape in the payments and banking industries.

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Posted by Germaine Lang

Germaine Lang is the Managing Editor of SmartPayments with a strong creative and technical writing background across many industries. She also works to engage customers and relate their experiences with vendor products and services, positioning them as innovative thought leaders.