Banking Fintech Interviews

GlobalFintechSeries Interview with Santa Kirsbauma, Head of Products at DECTA

Mobile payments and other forms of direct electronic payments are going to be must-haves for businesses and individual users. But given the effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the changing adoption patterns and needs of consumers, how else will the fintech industry shape up? Read more from this QnA where Santa Kirsbauma, Head of Products at DECTA shares some thoughts on this:


Can you tell us a little about yourself Santa?

I hold a Master’s Degree focused on Innovative Entrepreneurship from BA School of Business and Finance. Workwise,  I’ve been part of the banking industry – for over 13 years now. I have worked in several Latvian banks and have an in-depths experience in Banking IT, card acquiring (POS, ATM, Ecomm), product development, and e-commerce. Currently, I’m a Head of Products and Vice President at DECTA. My key areas of expertise are Card Acquiring, Cards and Payment Systems, Fraud Investigations, Portfolio Management, and Processing.

Could you share some biggest highlights from your journey so far?

Developing at the speeds, which only a few industries may allow – bound with the IT sector, a boost of technological innovation allowed the banking industry to flourish. My journey has started from POS and gradually evolved to e-commerce services. In fact, I have participated in the launch of online payments service in two Latvian Banks. I was part of those projects from the very first steps until the full project implementation. These two steps of market development are fundamental. The third step, comparable in its magnitude is contactless payments, the trend that is booming right now. In the cards sector it means tokenization. Tokenization is very important as it solves the problem of storing real credit or debit card data and helps the businesses to secure the payment process. The need for tokenization has been forced by a rapid shift to online purchases. Merchants want to make the payment process as easy as possible, as it helps to reduce the number of subsequent shopping cart abandonment.

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We’d love to know a little about your thoughts in how the payment processing marketplace has changed with time, what are some of the biggest challenges and changes you foresee in this segment in the time to come?

Payments are one of the fastest-growing industries, keeping pace with innovations and digital transformation. It is one of those unique sectors, where it is possible to almost instantly adapt to new market demands. The new generation of customers strongly believes in technological advancements and supports the development of the Internet environment, so payments naturally move to the online world. No doubt that online payments have a very bright future as more and more businesses are going online. In recent years, payments have moved from Card Present (POS) to Card Not Present, and now are further migrating to contactless payments and tokenization payments.

I think that in the future the convenient one-click payments will become more popular and common, as well as voice payments. I also expect more regulation in this developing industry and am quite sure that solutions will become better in navigation/UX for end-users.

What according to you are some of the biggest challenges e-commerce and online services companies face when implementing payment models within their sites online, what are your top words of advice/suggestions for them that you’d like to share?

There are several main challenges that every e-commerce and online services companies are facing when trying to implement online payment models within their websites. Of course, the most essential of them is to choose a way to get paid. Today in the competitive online marketplace, it is crucial for every business to take online payments. You need to make the buying experience for your customers as easy and smooth as possible, and having multiple online payment models could put your big advantage. The more payment options you can offer, the more chances you have to appeal to a wider audience.

My advice for those companies would be – you should find the best partner, who will be interested in your success.  The reliable partner which would offer you the largest variety of the most modern and flexible solutions, as these would be decisive in your competition for the customer. In the process of choosing the right partner, you need to carefully explore the features of the offered payment gateways, transaction types, and ways how to integrate a payment gateway into your website.

When it comes to implementing a self-pay model for international online services across industries, what are some of the must-haves you would advise providers to offer their users?

Card payments are still the most preferable way among all payment options, and it is constantly continuing to grow, especially now due to COVID-19. It indeed is a must-have for all the businesses planning global expansion.

However, acquiring itself is rarely enough – there should be an up-to-date payment solution that can do more than just funds storage. DECTA Gateway is a great example – an ideal service for medium-small online business. It provides statistics and  insights about your products and clients, stores information about their preferences, as well as keeps track of market performance by country.

One of the features it has – Paylink is the most convenient payment option which looks and works exactly like an ordinary link. This payment option is very easy and it provides your customers with a fast and secure payment method. The payment link by DECTA does not require integration. DECTA Gateway generates an invoice and a link based on the transaction details you provide and your clients can make payments in a way that is more convenient to them – by link, email, or text message. This feature is largely used in all sizes of business. For e-commerce giants – it is a way to make the process more efficient, for newbies – it gives the opportunity to receive funds from the buyer even without having a website.

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Could you share your thoughts on the contactless payment market- how do you see this segment shape up in the coming years – what other innovations in payment systems do you foresee will be in-market within the next few years?

The current situation shows us that the mobile and other electronic device payments are going to become must-haves, as without them payment companies from one side and offline stores on the other will be not competitive. Today businesses must adapt to a new reality.  As we can see now the mobile payments are expanding – now that it is possible to make them not only via your smartphone and tablet, they are going into things like bracelets and rings. Step by step, we steadily are we are moving towards a cashless society.

Voice payments and Open banking also increase their presence – – that is another natural extension of the evolution in the FinTech sector. Those solutions bring significant opportunities for businesses – FinTech companies to offer personalized services for Voice payments. Merchants can interact with their customers and find out their needs and behaviors. While Open Banking ensures lower transaction fees, less risk of chargebacks, and the ability to receive the payment faster comparing to payments by credit or debit card.

As for now, for sure, cards will remain the preferred payment option for the next 5 years.

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We’d love to hear about some of your top business / economic predictions (including predictions for the fintech segment) for the rest of the year, not forgetting the impact Covid-19 would have had on these.

 The current situation with pandemic has quickly entered into our lives and made every business to re-evaluate their priorities, change their plans and strategies, and quickly adapt to rapidly changing realities. Apart from total digitalization, which we expect in a post-pandemic market, we believe that companies will become even more customer-centric. User experience will gain more importance for companies, so solutions that do not provide a tailored approach will no longer be competitive.

As a parting thought, would you like to share specific financial management or business tips for our readers?

First, do your research to gain as much information as possible. Then choose the most suitable partner who will help you to achieve your goals. Companies that can offer you an effective solution to help your business grow and develop, and make different business processes easier for both – you and your customers. Partner up with companies that are interested in your success and listen to your needs! We care about our customers and do our best to offer them the best payment solutions tailored to their business necessities.

DECTA Limited is a leading processing center and provider of end-to-end services for payment processing, acquiring and card issuing for thousands of customers worldwide – including banks, financial organizations, payment services providers and online merchants. DECTA Limited is a fully licensed e-money institution, authorised by the FCA UK to provide financial services. The company is certified with the highest PCI DSS Level 1 standard and holds VISA and Mastercard Principal Member status.

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