Listen Now: Bridging Divides, Building Inclusive Payment Systems


Author: Xanske le Roux

In this webinar, Natasha de Terán, discussed Bridging Divides and Building Inclusive Payment Systems. To move money, we need to bridge divides – the payment system is the mechanism that allows us to transfer value across those divides but is itself made up of a myriad of systems catering to different universes of users and use-cases and between which there are multiple divides. We all receive and make payments so regularly when the system works, we barely register its existence. When there are flaws that can restrict our ability and create friction in our lives and trade.

When we build payment systems, we need to build them for the users and use cases in question, and also consider future users and use cases. Payment systems need continual review and investment to keep them relevant and efficient in a digitalised and fast-paced world.

There is best practice when it comes to payments, it is important to make them accessible, interoperable, reliable, safe and affordable to all individuals and businesses. This approach needs to be inclusive. Payment choices are a social convention and are also shaped by national boundaries and sovereignty. The success of payment systems depends on the society it is serving. Every country will have different policies, history, legacy infrastructure, financial inclusion levels, use cases and levels of literacy. It is crucial that society is involved with the choices of payment systems, that it works reliably, and that the society trusts the systems for the payment systems to work.

How much can we learn from others that have built before us, including the self-appointed ‘world leaders’ in payments? Given the social and country-specific factors, direct implementation and replication is just not feasible. What is valuable, is to understand the questions asked and choices made in the design of their payments systems to give an insight into the factors and approaches we want to adopt or eliminate in our own payment systems.

Natasha de Terán works at the intersection between financial services, technology, communications and public policy. Serving as a member of the Bank of England and HM Treasury’s CBDC Engagement Forum, she sits on two independent UK statutory bodies – the Financial Services Consumer Panel and the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) Panel and she is a member of Carnegie’s Advisory Group on an International Strategy for Cybersecurity and the Global Financial System. Natasha also writes on technical and financial issues – in particular, the nexus between technology, security, public policy and finance; the race between FinTech, BigTech and traditional banks – and she is the co-author of the book – The Pay Off – how changing the way we pay changes everything.