Q&A with Liam Bath at Worldpay from FIS
Payments Consulting Network Merchant & Acquiring Director, Glenn Bowles recently had the opportunity to speak to Liam Bath, Vice President Commercial at Worldpay from FIS to discuss the company’s merchant services business and to learn more about Liam.
With 15 years’ experience in payments and ten of those years at Worldpay, Liam bought into the company vision and now has responsibility for the Worldpay Commercial team, looking after Australia & New Zealand; its’ own self region within the wider Asia/Pacific structure.
But what was his background?
Many people involved in sports know that it can be helpful when you suit-up and head into the office, and Liam is no exception. Having been introduced to the sport of baseball at an early age, Liam went on to represent Great Britain in baseball at three European Championships in 1997,98 & 99.
So how does a kid from the UK, now living in Singapore, end up getting interested in baseball?
LB: My family moved to Atlanta in the US when I was about 6 years old, and we stayed for about 6 or 7 years. It was there that I was introduced to the sport. The importance of commitment, focus, goal setting and teamwork became evident, and these are key learnings that you can translate into the workplace.
GB: Are you involved in any other sports?
LB: I enjoy sport in general as it has so many benefits that contribute to your overall quality of life. I have a 2 ½ year old son and my wife and I are looking forward to the arrival of our second child in late October. With a busy life, I now enjoy running as I find it therapeutic and helps me to stay fit. I have done several half marathons and completed the Gold Coast Marathon in July this year. I am now planning on my next one, hopefully next year in Austria.
GB: There have been many changes in the past few years in how people work and more importantly how we care for the health and well-being of our staff. What are you most proud of in this area?
LB: I am extremely proud of the fact I work in an organisation where our people and their well-being are our number one priority. We are constantly checking in with the team to get a pulse check on how we are doing, while looking for ways to do more.
Worldpay/FIS offers global well-being initiatives such as the Virgin Pulse program, Employee Assistance Program, Telehealth etc. The last full week of July, August and September are also designated as #FISBeWell weeks. During these three weeks, every FIS colleague has the opportunity to participate in live and on-demand activities that promote physical well-being, mental well-being, financial wellness, and fun.
GB: I always find it interesting how people land themselves in ‘Payments’. What’s your story?
LB: I started my journey into the world of payments when I joined Visa nearly 15 years ago now. My time with the organisation provided a fantastic overview of the financial ecosystem, before I made the move to the world’s largest acquirer, Worldpay.
GB: In terms of Worldpay, can you provide a summary of the business?
LB: FIS is a leading provider of technology solutions for financial institutions and businesses of all sizes and across any industry globally. We are also the largest fintech globally, having ranked first in the 2022 IDC FinTech Rankings.
Worldpay from FIS payment processing solutions allows businesses to take, make and manage payments seamlessly across channels, geographies and industries. Over 1M+ merchants globally utilise Worldpay, enabling them to accept 300+ payment methods across mobile, online and in-store transactions. Offering industry-leading scale and an unmatched integrated technology platform, Worldpay solutions help businesses unlock new opportunities, manage payment processing more efficiently and deliver an exceptional omni-commerce customer experience.
GB: And what’s the relationship between Worldpay and FIS?
LB: Worldpay was acquired by FIS in July 2019. This combination greatly expands FIS’ capabilities by enhancing its acquiring and payment offerings and significantly increases Worldpay’s distribution footprint, accelerating its entry into new geographies.
GB: What payments services do you offer merchants and not-for-profit organisations in Australia?
LB: We offer advanced acquiring services, which include authorisation, clearing and settlement, dispute management and data insights.
GB: Are there any industry sectors or client types that you focus on for merchant services?
LB: Mostly Travel (especially airlines), Retail, Digital Content & Gaming, B2B / Payfacs.
GB: What do you see as your key strengths with respect to merchant services?
LB: There are several but in summary. Firstly, our fintech payment solutions advance the customer experiences and the merchant’s business. Secondly, our integrated gateway acquiring and value-added services solution provide best practice risk controls and payment types. With over 300 payment methods available globally that this supports domestic requirements while being able to also scale globally. Our global platform and support network helps clients scale quickly into a new market.
GB: What do you see as your key differentiators?
LB: We are the largest acquirer globally and our global coverage is second to none. We have a single integration that allows merchants to take payments in 126 different currencies, as well as offering more than 300 alternative forms of payment to their customers. Our dedicated industry experts support our merchants in growing their businesses.
GB: What were the key achievements over the last 12 months in merchant services?
LB: We launched Worldpay for Platforms, revolutionising the way SMBs gain access to embedded payments and finance solutions through software providers (Note: currently US only). We also continue to broaden our global merchant services footprint, recently announcing Worldpay from FIS merchant solutions are now available in the rapidly growing market of South Korea.
GB: What industry changes or trends do you see occurring over the next 2-3 years that will have a major impact on your business and/or your clients?
LB: As we outlined in our 2022 Global Payments Report, they are:
- Growing adoption of crypto payments
- The rise of super apps
- Embedded finance empowering brands
- Innovation in real-time payments
GB: It’s a relatively new term, but tell me a bit more about embedded finance?
LB: Embedded finance is when consumers have unique, tailored financial services delivered to them at the point of need by non-financial companies. It entails a blurring of the traditional lines between financial and non-financial companies, with technology advancements making it easier than ever for companies from all industries to layer in financial capabilities to their products and enhance their customer propositions. From e-commerce platforms to quick-serve restaurant apps, embedded finance puts tools that once required a trip to the bank within a single tap or click.
Invisible to consumers, embedded finance seamlessly blends into our everyday experience and is reimagining the way Australians consume financial services. A recent survey by FIS asked Australian consumers about their experience with common examples of embedded finance in the past 12 months. 60% said they have paid for goods and services within a brand’s app (embedded payments), with 23% saying they pay this way at least once a month. BNPL (embedded lending) is also growing in popularity with 41% saying they have used such offerings in the past 12 months. Convenience and speed were identified as key drivers for embedded payments, while affordability ranked high for embedded lending use.
GB: Finally, what is Liam Bath excited about for the future and also, what do you think will be most important in the world of payments in the next few years?
LB: In terms of my personal life, my second child is due in a matter of days now, so I am very excited to meet the new arrival, I’m less excited about the sleepless nights! From a professional perspective, given the economic uncertainties around the world, the next couple of years are likely to be a challenge for many businesses and consumers. For this reason, it is as important as ever to find ways to allow a business to grow and thrive, while providing consumers with more flexibility when paying for their goods. The fastest growing payment method in both eCom and at POS is BNPL and I fully expect this trend to continue, as this payment method does just that.
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