For Neosurf’s Andrea McGeachin, the current payments climate holds all the elements to create a ‘payments utopia’ – an environment where onboarding, security and initiating a transaction are all seamlessly integrated into a single organism.
A world where operators, regulators and customers can live in harmony. For McGeachin, the technology to do that is here, and all that is needed is to adequately synchronise it with all other factors that shape the user experience.
Giving SBC a bird’s-eye view of how Neosurf envisions this utopia, McGeachin explained: “It is to allow all of the things we do have to check – that it’s you, that you are where you are living and that you’re not a fraudster – to have a user experience that is simple.”
Not necessarily a one-click thing, she paused to elaborate, but definitely an experience that should be simplified as much as possible.
“A utopia is to serve all of the regulations at their fullest, if not better than they think we need to, whilst making sure that the customer gets on with what they need to do.
“We’ll stop you if you’re not a good guy”, warned McGeachin, “but let it all be in the background. There’s lots of digital tools, and we now have a strong science and AI behind the scenes.”
And while the focus primarily falls on creating a well-oiled product for the end user, creating a payments utopia also requires taking into account the conditions under which that product will operate.
In today’s world, not only payments but everything digital is quite frequently mentioned in addition to a concept that is certainly framed as an integral part of our future – the metaverse.
As a company that likes to stay ahead of the curve, Neosurf is taking preliminary steps to better understand the metaverse, something that many are failing at.
“The thing about the metaverse is that it is going to be there. The core thing that we’re going to be in our own role is the bridge between fiat currency and the metaverse.
“It’s a bit of a hype right now, but it is here and the whole point for us is to ensure that the metaverse journey, as it becomes more regulated, is what the players and the customers want and be able to use fiat currencies in the virtual world instantly.”
Going through fIve different steps just to be able to purchase something is unappealing to consumers, even in the metaverse McGeachin noted, which essentially leads to Neosurf’s ultimate metaverse goal of “making sure that payments into virtual currency are done properly and quickly”.
With all the excitement around digital currencies and life online, cash seems to be slightly pushed back into the conversational background. But that does not even remotely mean that it’s less prevalent today than it was before, McGeachin reassured, firmly criticising the “cash is dead” rhetoric that is often heard.
“The Financial Conduct Authority here in the UK is pursuing that we engage more users of cash”, she explained. “Cash is not dead. The minute we think cash is dead, it’s going underground. Don’t do that because that’s the worst bit.
“There are more Euros in circulation now than there was 10 years ago. So cash is not dead. Most of the people who say cash is dead are people who don’t have a need to use cash.
“You’ve probably got a job, you’re probably in the country that you’re born in, you’re probably alright with your banking, and that’s great. That’s not the case for everybody. We have to make sure that cash is still around and able to be used.”
Moving on from the topic of cash that is familiar to all of us, McGeachin took one final venture into the new world with esports and the sector’s exponential growth over the last decade. More particularly, can gambling be successfully incorporated within the space?
Referring to the size of both industries, McGeachin believes that it’s only natural for them to collide sooner or later. She said: “At the end of the day, if there’s an esports competition going on and you want to gamble on it, it’s going to happen.
“Esports competitions are massive – I went to the League of Legends World Championship in Paris and I’d never been to anything like it in my life. There are more people who watch and stream that than anybody does with the Super Bowl or a world cup final.
“Esports is a massive beast. People are going to gamble on it. The question is though, do we cross that barrier of a youngster who’s playing esports to encourage them to bet? That’s certainly not something we want to do.”
With that in mind, social responsibility is obviously something that should take central place in the irrevocable merge of esports and gambling. According to McGeachin, taking this into consideration early is key.
She explained: “I think everybody that I speak to does understand that. There is the responsibility of not grooming an esports player into betting.
“The regulator is of course going to step in, but if we take our social responsibility now, we can help that education and trust with the regulator to not suddenly just close it down.”
Neosurf’s CCO added that SBC events are the perfect environment for such conversations to take place, noting that the industry should raise its voice now more than ever.
“People used to think, ‘I have to keep it quiet because nobody understands what I’m talking about and make me be the bad guy’. We’re not. The industry has a role to play in making the fun happen. This environment is very much one of engagement and talking and there’s some really good conversations going on.”
High level discussions on key industry topics will continue as part of the Payment Innovation track at SBC Summit Barcelona 2022, with delegates from over 95 countries, all joining together for a detailed discussion at the magnificent Fira de Barcelona Exhibition Centre. For more information and how to register, visit the SBC Summit Barcelona website.