Mike Vizard: Hey guys. Welcome to the latest edition of the Digital CxO video podcast. I’m your host, Mike Vizard. Today, we’re with Abdul Naushad, CEO of Buckzy Payments, and we’re gonna be talking about cross-border payments, digital business and how AI brings all that together.
Abdul, welcome to the show.
Abdul Naushad: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Mike Vizard: What is the challenge these days with cross-border payments? We’ve been doing it for decades. It seems, at least from the outside looking in, a little inefficient, and maybe there’s a lot of expense and time and effort. But explain to us, what is the state of cross-border payments right now?
Abdul Naushad: I think cross-border payments, as you rightly mentioned, has had a lot of challenges in terms of the delays in settlement to the cost factors, certainly the transparency issues of what the payment is once it’s sent. So it’s like fire and forget kind of a model in traditional means. And so it hasn’t changed much, and I think with all the technology advancements that we have today, it still has a long way to go in terms of solving these problems. But there’s been a lot of initiatives, and I think worldwide – in terms of making it faster and bringing more transparency and so forth. So it’s on its way to becoming better, but a long way to go still.
Mike Vizard: And what role will AI play in making it better? What’s the opportunity?
Abdul Naushad: So I think AI is one of those technologies where you can automate a lot of the decision points in the process. As you can imagine, cross-border payments is a workflow of different processes to settle a payment across the border. And these function points along the way in the workflow of processing a cross-border payment, AI will enable automation and decisioning of certain things that today is being done manually by humans sitting on a computer. And that will change. And some of these examples are right from the authorization of the payment to AML screening to payment routing, pricing, foreign exchange, those sort of things that traditionally has been – a lot of these things were done manually, and those things are really – I think AI can help a lot in automating and streamlining to make it much better and efficient and certainly a better customer experience.
Mike Vizard: It seems like a lotta transactions are conducted in different currencies, depending on who’s involved and maybe their preferences. But do you think we can also get to the point where maybe AI will tell us in any given day that maybe this transaction is better handled in this currency versus another based on valuations and fluctuations?
Abdul Naushad: Absolutely, and I think it’s already here. I know of a couple of banks that’s doing that, and certainly at BOTSE we are doing the same to predict – it’s more predictive analytics using technologies like that to kind of forecast how the currency payers can perform on a given day, on a given time and so forth. So that’s already here, and I think those are some of the things that I think will really enhance and help reduce the cost in performing a cross-border transaction.
Mike Vizard: We’re also starting to hear a lot more about cryptocurrencies, and is that gonna factor into these cross-border payments? Will people start using various cryptocurrency coins too, maybe? Some of them are private. Some of them are public, but are we gonna see more of that type of transaction?
Abdul Naushad: Yeah, I think that is definitely – cryptocurrency is here, and it will stay, from what it seems like. But there’s also another initiative by central governments for digital currencies, and I think that’ll be the mainstream, and they’ll continue to be the mainstream because of the buy-in from the regulators globally. But cryptocurrency for sure, it’ll have its own market that’ll be users that’s bought into that cryptocurrency segment. And so that becomes another method of an alternative to the consumers out there who probably doesn’t want to go in the mainstream through traditional means. So that’s gonna be there and here to stay.
Mike Vizard: There’s a lot of talk these days about digital business, and one of the implications of that is that I can onboard new suppliers faster, and I’m not as dependent upon one for my supply chain. But it seems like all those suppliers are now in different countries. So do you think that more organizations are gonna find themselves dealing with multiple currencies and trying to optimize that whole flow?
Abdul Naushad: Yeah, I think the world is becoming more borderless and with all the digital technologies out there. And that’s already happening, and there’s more and more growth and cross-border trade payments, and we see that year to year that there’s significant growth happening for cross-border trade. And I think that’s gonna drive a lot of this initiative in terms of enabling a better cross-border payment service, and I think that will continue to be the theme is to make it more seamless and frictionless and cost-effective and faster than what it is today.
Mike Vizard: What do you think the biggest challenge is gonna be in terms of making that transition? Is it just, say, simple inertia, or are there technology hurdles that have to be dealt with?
Abdul Naushad: I think there are different hurdles. Technology seems to be moving faster than the regulatory hurdles. It’s more on the regulations and the compliance and all that regulatory factors that’s going to help kind of make it more frictionless. And I see that happening worldwide. The governments are seriously revamping the regulatory guidelines, policies to support cross-border trade payments and so forth. But technology’s ahead, so it’s – the technology is there. It’s a matter of how fast the regulators will move. Accordingly, the technology is there to support it.
Mike Vizard: There’s also a lotta concern about fraud these days. Is there a way to think through how transactions occur across borders to prevent fraud? What can we do?
Abdul Naushad: Yeah. So for us it’s been a big challenge in payments, and I think organizations globally have invested a lot in technology to prevent fraud and to detect and prevent fraud. And certainly AI is one of those things that can improve or prevent – detect fraud before it really happens. And through voice, biometrics or authentication algorithms that users cannot just log in, but when they initiate a payment, there’s a second level of authorization for that transaction. You’ve seen smart speakers to whole lot of technologies out there that’s going to be coming more and more prominent in avoiding fraud in the future.
Mike Vizard: They say criminals rob banks ’cause that’s where the money is. Are cybercriminals zoning in on international payments and trying to figure out how to hack into those systems?
Abdul Naushad: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s always a challenge, and I think, like I said, it’s – part of it is technology, and part of it is also the controls and mechanisms. The service providers have to build into this whole process to make sure that even if it gets past the frontline – there’s another control on the backend that can prevent, stop, detect these type of transactions and eliminate fraud. We are in transition from the legacy technology to the new one. So we’re gonna see that during this transition, there’s always chances of fraud, new technologies coming in. I think the good news is that it’s reduced fraud significantly in the market using some of these technologies.
Mike Vizard: So what’s your best advice to folks as they kind of think about the global economy and how they’re gonna participate in it? What do you wish that a lotta these organizations knew going in before they even called guys like you?
Abdul Naushad: So I think advice to them is the good news is there’s a lot of innovation that’s coming into this product and service, and it’s not just from BOTSE, across our competition as well. But that will continue to evolve and improve, and it’s really – the only thing that’s constant is the change that the new things are happening, and we’ll continue to improve and innovate. So there’s a better service that’s available next month than what it is today. So it’s always evolving and always improve. And so folks who are out there doing cross-border payments for their business or for personal reasons, the service is ready. BOTSE as a company has done a lot of innovation in making sure that we’re kinda focused in real-time payments. So we’re kind of constantly innovating on that front to make it faster, a lot cheaper than what it is today and secure and frictionless. So that’s the good news, and I think the change – it takes time, but I think a lot of those challenges have been addressed, and it’ll continue to improve.
Mike Vizard: All right, folks. If you’re manually processing payments across borders, possibly you might be able to spend your time doing something else that adds a little more value to the organization. Hey, Abdul, thanks for being on the show.
Abdul Naushad: Thank you, Mike. Thanks for having me.
Mike Vizard: All right, and thank you all for listening to our show. You can find this episode and others on DigitalCXO.com. Have a great day.