Can You Accept Global Payment Standards?


I hadn’t anticipated the sport of fencing to feature in the current nexo criteria yearly conference in Berlin. When François Mezzina of nexo member, Total, however, used the game to explain to the international audience of strategies, merchants, processors, acquirers […]

I hadn’t anticipated the sport of fencing to feature in the current nexo criteria yearly conference in Berlin. When François Mezzina of nexo member, Total, however, used the game to explain to the international audience of strategies, merchants, processors, acquirers and other payment stakeholders why international standards for payments approval were so significant, everything fell into place.

When competing in national championships, fencers use their mother tongue to punctuate their bouts: prepared , fence! And so on. At international competitions, however, French is adopted — en guarde! — allowing all parties to swap in precisely the exact same way and so compete equally. The verbal exchanges are so important to the game that having a standardised form of communication is a must.

The same holds for global payment approval. A standardised way for most international stakeholders to exchange payment information is necessary in case a truly international and harmonised payment infrastructure is to be created. This opinion was echoed by Matthias Hönisch, Head of Cards Business Unit in the National Association of German Cooperative Banks, during his keynote presentation. When asked to describe what a payment is, Matthias summarized it nicely…’a payment, is a payment, is a payment’. What Matthias is stating here rings true to us all.






A payment means many things to a lot of men and women. These days, a transaction can be achieved with money, cards, a mobile, online…the list continues. Indeed, once we consider how many transactions are made internationally using different currencies, devices and payment techniques, the task of standardising the exchange of payment approval information seems intimidating. Yet the more choices become available, the more we want a common baseline that may facilitate today’s global market.

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How to become omnipresent?

Commerce will change more in the next five years than it has done in the past 50, said Jonathan Vaux, Executive Director of Innovation and Partnerships at Visa in his presentation to delegates.

He’s right. Consumers have become increasingly empowered and powerful in how, where and when payment transactions are created. For many, time is a money more valuable than money . New generations are demanding more advantage in their shopping experience, to save them time. Today’s customer travel typically incorporates multiple channels like a site, followed by a trip to a store and then finishing off with a purchase made via an app. In this varied omnichannel landscape, merchants will need to respond to consumer requirements quickly if they are to make certain that they stay current and competitive in a fierce marketplace for their attentions.

The omnichannel motif featured heavily throughout the day’s presentations. Olivier Nora, Vice President Operations, Southern Europe in Verifone questioned how do we preserve the richness of current services and accelerate our development of this omnichannel approach.

His answer? Standards.

With a different method to pay in every nation, myriad payment apparatus and national protocols to think about, the payment sector stakeholders that actually need to provide seamless, borderless and cost-effective omnichannel services must look to criteria as the terrific facilitator.

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Celebrating success

Delegates were also treated to a deep dive into a payments success story — a partnership involving three payment business leaders, who, by using nexo’s payment approval messaging protocols and protocols, managed to create a strong, cross-border payment platform for approval and acquiring, which now supports 35,000 live devices across Spain, France and Belgium.

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During the semester, Carrefour, Crédit Mutuel and Ingenico explained how today’s fragmented international payments approval infrastructure is hindering innovation in the payments world. ‘The sheer quantity of national rules and schemes is the largest barrier to overcome’, clarified Frédéric Collardeau, Chief Operation Officer and Development director at Market Pay (payment establishment of Carrefour Group). For companies like Carrefour, adhering to differing country regulations means working with new providers in each region. The outcome? Rocketing costs and large delays in getting to market.

The three companies clarified how building their platform on nexo’s ISO 20022 messaging protocols allowed them to make a committed, standardised payments infrastructure that provides fast, interoperable and borderless card payments across multiple countries, saving money, accelerating product cycles and enabling more innovative solutions to reach customers.

PSD2: Business pain point or worldwide prospect?

No payments conference is complete without a discussion on the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). It comes as no surprise that the PSD2 panel’Reinventing payments in the electronic era’ was a lively affair.

Moderated by Alan Moss, Vice President of Product Marketing at Verifone, the board session addressed a broad assortment of subjects that will be front of mind for payment stakeholders across Europe and beyond. What does PSD2 actually mean? What problems is it trying to solve? Are the banks happy to create the upgrades which are needed within the new directive? How can this help the merchants? In fact, does PSD2 present a chance or is it just another regulation hassle? What was apparent from the talks is that for many, whilst PSD2 represents a chance, the resultant transformation isn’t happening quickly enough. The work done by institutions like nexo in standardising the landscape will help facilitate international understanding and accelerate integration of regulations, including those set out by PSD2.

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The thread that ties it all together

The thread that ties all these components together is the dire need for international standardisation. Jim Mortimer, Head of International Propositions in Vocalink (a Mastercard firm ) emphasized the challenge this demand poses to banks which have been using the exact proprietary standard for several years. It may be tough and expensive to migrate to a common standard. This is exactly why nexo exists. Our association is an international facilitator; its job is to encourage all card payment approval stakeholders by establishing a standardised and universally beneficial means to apply ISO 20022, via a portfolio of implementation specifications and messaging protocols.

By cooperating with all stakeholder groups from the payment approval chain and likeminded associations like the European Card Stakeholders Group, which will be accountable for cards standardisation in the Single Euro Payments Area (according to Esteban Martin, Vice President, Industry Engagement with the European Market Development Unit in Mastercard), nexo is delivering higher efficiency, choice, flexibility and more opportunities for all stakeholders on the market.


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