" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> EXCLUSIVE: "See it, touch it, smell it, hear it!" - Rüdiger Vogt, G+D in 'Discover Money20/20 USA' | FF News
Thursday, December 01, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: “See it, touch it, smell it, hear it!” – Rüdiger Vogt, G+D in ‘Discover Money20/20 USA’

Cards are so much more than a payment utility – and they’re not going out of fashion any time soon, says Rüdiger Vogt at G+D

For banks that nailed their colours to the virtual mast early on, their obsession with one very tactile, 40-year-old payment method seems curious.

Are they acknowledging the immutable human attraction to things we can touch and hold in our hands? Or is it just an excuse for some shameless marketing?

We’ve seen fluorescent, glow-in-the-dark, vertical designs, 24-carat gold-plated… business banking provider Anna even offers one that miaows like a cat (or, at least, the app notification does when users pay by contactless). The physical payment card is clearly still seen very much as a brand ambassador but, more than that, it remains core to a bank’s interaction with its customers, according to Rüdiger Vogt from payments and identity provider G+D.

“We still see the payment card as an important physical connection between the bank or fintech and its clients, and I think this will continue for the foreseeable future,” says Vogt, who is in charge of fintechs, neobanks, and payment processors in the company’s global e-payments division.

Clients looking for the je ne sais quoi that elevates their card above every other on the market will find art nouveau and neo tech blended in G+D’s ‘Card Bodies’ catalogue. There is something highly sensual about the form factors displayed as part of its Convego services design suite, right down to the aroma-emitting cards infused with ‘the scent of a brand’.

“Over recent years, fintechs have differentiated with cards representing their unique offerings, be they comprehensive packages for exclusive travelling via metal cards, green investment plans or cards manufactured from ocean-recovered plastic,” says Vogt. “And this is where we’re talking about going off limits, beyond anything we could’ve imagined, in terms of card material, packaging, unboxing experience – you name it. There’s still lots of potential in the physical card and we support our customers in creating innovative and exciting designs, like glow-in-the-dark, OLED (organic LED) display, 3D effects and using new materials such as metals, wood and ceramics.

“And let’s not forget alternative form factors: we’ve also ramped up our business enabling passive and active wearables, with fully tokenised, end-to-end solutions where we provide wearables manufacturers with the hardware, software and service back-up to add payment functionality to their devices, the most famous example being SwatchPAY.”

The investments G+D is making in new research and development (R&D) and production facilities just goes to underline its confidence in the durability of cards as a payment choice.

“We’re investing in physical card innovation and production, we’ve expanded our issuing services further globally and we’ve installed a lab for prototyping these new designs and materials, which keeps growing every year,” says Vogt.

As part of that expansion, the company recently also announced the acquisition of card manufacturer Valid USA, to expand its presence in the North American market. Established 170 years ago, principally to printed bank notes, G+D has evolved to offer everything from physical card production via numerous card personalisation centres around the world, to digital payment and security solutions.

It’s also heavily invested in virtual card payment and security mechanisms around digital wallets, where the card crosses into the touchless, automated environment. G+D is seeing growing demand for virtual representations of cards, be they bank-branded or from the big tech XPays.

As a crossover payment method, the card is a phygital blend of customer-centric services that ensure consumers feel loved and valued, says Vogt.

“So, we are not ignoring the trends towards, first, contactless payment, then digital payments and – the next stage – invisible or embedded payments. But I believe that a phygital approach to payments and banking will lead to more customer satisfaction and new growth in financial services,” he adds. “This means focussing on immediacy, ensuring things happen at an exact moment in time; immersion, users becoming part of the experience, and interaction, to activate the physical and emotional part of the process, which is key in this phygital experience.

“The idea is to combine the best of both worlds, and to add value for our customers in banking and payments, looking at critical points in user journeys.

“We learned not to underestimate the potential and power of the agile fintech approach”

Personalisation of services falls into this category.

Card issuance is that first crucial moment after you’ve signed up with a new bank or fintech. It should be a really fun, easy experience and that’s what we’re enabling with our customers.” G+D’s work with fintechs over recent years has had a formative influence on the company’s own business strategy Vogt adds: “Five years ago, we saw fintechs as an interesting development in the market, but didn’t really know what to make of them. We were used to large and mid-sized traditional banks and, all of a sudden, along came these guys that said ‘today my strategy is this’, and then, three months later, after a new investment round, had changed it.

“But you learn to understand the different dynamics and stakeholders, and fintechs’ stronger focus on growth rather than short-term profitability.

“We learned not to underestimate the potential and power of the agile fintech approach of try, fail, improve, try again. Fintechs are an enormous enrichment for the banking sector, and for us as a paytech.”

In fact, its work with paytechs has inspired G+D’s ‘Payment 4.0’ innovation initiative.

“We started Payment 4.0 with the goal of developing a dedicated business relationship with key partners in the fintech market, to identify companies for cooperation and investment and drive payments innovation together,” explains Vogt, “because we realised there is plenty of growth in this segment compared to some of the traditional customers we work with. Over the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve really started to see the success of this learning experience.

“Last year, we grew by more than 100 per cent in the segment, revenue-wise, and we’re targeting 200 per cent growth this year. It is the fastest-growing segment of the financial industry. It’s giving major impetus to ideation and innovation.

“In general, we benefit a lot from each other – combining G+D’s experience and R&D power with the ideas and agile business development of the fintechs.”

SHUFFLING THE PACK

Be it Revolut supporting LGBTQ+ charities with its rainbow card, banking platform Curve’s entirely numberless card, or the transparent design from German neo N26, our ‘flexible friends’ have been transformed into fashion accessories, status symbols and, most recently, statements of social responsibility

REVOLUT A GLOWING EXAMPLE

Neobank Revolut regularly hits the headlines with its innovative card launches – gold-plated, lavender metal, campaigning and personalised. Most recently, it teamed up with British professional boxing superstar Anthony Joshua to launch a ‘glow-in-the-dark’ debit card. The neo, valued at more than $5billion, backed this limited edition with charitable support for independent boxing gyms affected by the pandemic, donating £1 for every card ordered, and stumping up£50,000 itself for the campaign.

RABOBANK AND BBVA KIND TO THE PLANET

Rabobank and BBVA’s recycled payment cards symbolise their commitment to environmentally-friendly practices. Both use G+D’s Convego® Recycled Cards made from 100 per cent recycled PVC layers and produced using renewable energy. Rabobank also personalises its initial card mailings, using G+D’s Convego® Relate Print solution to include targeted brand and marketing messages related to each individual customer, using sustainably produced stationery and reducing unnecessary logisticslike stock transportation through on-demand printing.

AUMAX TESTING THE METAL

Metal cards are de rigueur these days for fintechs wanting to make premium customers feel extra special. G+D teamed up with French fintech Aumax to enable its metal card as an exclusive option for its most select ‘Aumax pour moi’ customers. A subsidiary of France’s Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, this card is linked to the neo’s premium service package, including fee-free withdrawals worldwide, refund guarantees, higher cashbacks, advantageous insurance benefits and concierge services.

 


 

This article was published in Discover Money20/20 USA 2022, Page 22-23

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