Blog / Business Insights Blog /

Streamlining of the payment and billing processes thanks to digital transformation - Part 1

Streamlining of the payment
and billing processes
thanks to digital transformation
Part 1 

Emmanuel Chivot

Business Analyst Manager

In the first part of his interview, Emmanuel Chivot discusses how digital transformation is impacting consumption habits, the challenges that companies face in regards to said payments, regulations related to billing and more.

Nowadays, digital transformation is changing several industries. What are the impacts on payments?

Today, digital transformation impacts all consumption habits. In the past, for example, we used to go to a hardware store to buy a hot water tank. Tomorrow, the store will no longer sell it to us but will rent it out. This will be a connected tank and its rental price will vary according to its usage. Similarly, when it comes to insurance, we will no longer pay a fixed monthly fee but a fee depending on the usage of our car or of our home.

We also find this digital transformation in B2B. Major manufacturers connect their vehicles, their buildings, their machines in order to offer new added value services to their clients, and to bill them recurrently.
This transformation is taking place in a context of globalization where boundaries, which are supposed to disappear, are actually quite present due to the various fiscal regulations and payment methods.

What main challenges are companies facing regarding payments?

Companies are mainly facing legislation issues, generally linked to billing rather than to payment itself. Nevertheless, they are also facing the diversity of payment methods and of their uses. Indeed, some countries prefer to use the payment card, others prefer to use the e-wallet on their smartphone and others prefer direct debits. These different use cases, the local corresponding legislations, and also the diversity of payment methods’ schemes represent a real complexity that merchants and manufacturers have to manage.

Payment and billing are highly regulated sectors. What are the main regulatory constraints that companies have to comply with?

Regarding billing, regulation is relatively harmonized throughout Europe, with the obligation to respect the authenticity, the integrity, the readability and the long-term conservation of bills thanks to a certain number of technological means, but this is not necessarily the same worldwide.

At an international level, generally speaking, we have to ensure the authenticity and the integrity of a bill, but some countries have hardened the rules, by imposing new controls to lower fiscal fraud. For example, some Latin American countries require that the bill issuer sends proof of products or services delivered in order to obtain a token that will give him the right to emit a bill.

Regarding payment, the arrival of SEPA in Europe enabled the harmonization and the simplification of the rules but quite a few local payment systems, with different degrees of complexity, still remain, wherever it is in Europe or elsewhere.

Other regulations, such as the US Sarbanes-Oxley law on the accounting and financial transparency reform, or the implementation of the PCI DSS security norms for the protection of debit and credit cards’ data, require the implementation of technological, as well as processes and specific and necessary controls to guarantee our solutions’ conformity.

"Uberization" is a recent phenomenon linked to the digital economy. In your opinion, what are the payment and billing stakes in regards to the economy's "Uberization"?

Today, “Uberization” is synonym of new habits, of a new way to consume which is more instant and comes with a streamlined order and payment system, which results in purchase, billing and payment simplification. Thus the use of the e-wallet is favored because it can memorize payment means and can streamline the buying process. This way, we do not have to use a credit card or even tip a code thanks to more flexible, but highly secured, mechanisms, via a smartphone for example. Similarly, it has now become a necessity to streamline the billing system through digitization in order to prevent any hurdles linked to paper processing.