Emerging Payments Association Asia (EPAA) is a thriving community of payments professionals whose goals are to strengthen and expand the payments industry to benefit all stakeholders. Responsible for the APAC region, EPAA is a member-based organisation focusing on advocacy for payments policy to bring the region together and through payments, improve lives everywhere.
Liz Beggs, COO at Payments Consulting Network sat down with Camilla Bullock,
CEO and co-founder of EPAA to discuss the payments landscape in the APAC region.
LB: Please provide a brief high-level overview of your association.
CB: EPAA was launched in late 2018. We are aligned with Payments Association UK but are independent from them. We are active across APAC but have a heavy focus on Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia. It’s worth noting that India is progressively gaining prominence as a crucial market in this region.
EPAA services include advocacy and policy to enhance the payments industry with a purpose of improving lives through payments. We are most well-known for creating thought leadership for our members and act as a conduit between members and regulators and other official bodies in the industry.
LB: What types of services do you offer your stakeholders in APAC?
CB: EPAA provides thought leadership through conducting round tables as well as advocacy, interoperability and harmonisation. We provide a level playing field in the payments industry and ensure we bring the industry together to make sense of what is going on and then consult with the regulators through a unified voice.
LB: Are there any particular industry sectors or client groups that you focus your services and or support?
CB: Our attention isn’t directed towards specific industry sectors or client groups. Instead, we oversee the entire payments industry from merchants to central banks, or trade to cash finance and everything in between.
We’ve dedicated quite a lot of our work around cross-border payments recently, while maintaining a broader outlook on the future of payments as a whole. For example, emerging payments in merchant acquiring as well as corporate payments.
LB: Who are your target stakeholders and what do you offer them if they wish to join EPAA?
CB: Our target audience are all stakeholders who are passionate about payments. EPAA offers them the space to think and bounce ideas around. We bring this cohort together with the intention of making sense of what is going on in the payments industry so they can stretch ideas to see the emerging payments trends. From the results of these discussions, we present the findings and share these ideas with the regulators.
LB: What do you see as EPAA’s key strengths?
CB: EPAA excels in curating a room and orchestrating gatherings to bring the right people together—people who are needed for meaningful conversations and discussions.
We also have the ability to link discussions together and do something with the information. If there are questions at the end, we follow through. If there were findings, we broadcast them.
Given that EPAA represent the APAC region, we are in a great position to be able to focus on regional topics and uniquely placed to compare different markets in the region.
LB: What were EPAA’s key achievements over the last 12 months?
CB: There have been a number of key achievements for EPAA over the last 12 months. Firstly, EPAA was invited to put forward what the EPAA members think are the key bottlenecks in data frameworks across cross-border payments at the FSB (Financial Stability Board) workshop held in Basel, Switzerland.
The audience included 6 central banks and 6 private companies and led by the US Treasury. The information we shared resonated with the room as many of the audience members were not aware of the challenges faced in this area and believed that the recommendations provided by EPAA should be shared at the G20.
Secondly, as a result of the FSB workshop, EPAA was invited to attend two task forces, namely the PIE task force (based on infrastructure) and LRS (Legal, Regulatory and Supervisory) task force. This was a major win as we had not previously attended these task forces.
LB: What do you have on your 12-month roadmap for the next 12 months?
CB: After receiving numerous requests, EPAA has finally launched the first APAC Payments Awards. This initiative was prompted by frequent inquiries on what the most innovative solutions in payments are in each of the regions. So, we decided to launch the inaugural awards, receiving submissions from 18 countries for the Excellence Awards celebrating innovation, collaboration and outstanding achievements in payments.
The 50-member strong global judging panel, who I personally admire, and led by Stephen Benton, is entrusted with the task of selecting the winners who will be notified at the Award Gala Dinner event in October 2023.
Given the recent successful trip to India, we are also looking to build our presence and focus on a region where there is currently a lot of activity in the payments space.
LB: What industry changes or trends to do you see occurring over the next 2-3 years that will have a major impact on the payments industry?
CB: EPAA anticipates several trends set to emerge in the next 2-3 years which include:
- Uptake of real time payments
- Corporate real time payments – whilst this hasn’t progressed much yet, it is definitely coming
- Privacy-enhancing technology – the biggest bottleneck in payments in general at the moment is in relation to cross-border payments. Solutions may sit in tokenised solutions or digital assets which is something we are watching closely and;
- Financial inclusion – given the focus on the APAC region, financial inclusion is certainly an emerging trend.
LB: Where do you focus your advocacy work and how do you determine where to put your energy?
CB: Given that EPAA are a member led organisation, we focus our advocacy work on what is important to our members.
We represent the regional voice to regulators in markets where our members have a presence. We are the voice for the APAC region globally.
LB: You are a wonderful advocate for women in payments. Do you have any messages for this group?
CB: The only message I have is, if you are not at the table, you cannot be represented. It is important to show up and be included. You need to demand the voice and help other to also have the space and the voice.
As advocates for a comprehensive and inclusive approach, EPAA embraces the invaluable insights of its diverse membership, spanning banks, payment service providers, and fintech innovators across the region. This diversity mirrors the rich tapestry of the Asia-Pacific market, where unique regulatory approaches and a multitude of currencies converge, shaping a payments ecosystem that is both complex and vibrant.
Author: Liz Beggs, Chief Operating Officer, Melbourne, Payments Consulting Network
Liz Beggs is a versatile and results focused leader with over 25 years of multi-industry experience in consulting and management. She delivers value add, innovative solutions to internal and external clients with subject matter expertise in commercial cards and payments technology systems, drawing on her broad commercial GM level experience in corporate services and product management.
Payments Consulting Network is one of the media partners of the upcoming APAC Payments Excellence Awards happening on October 13, 2023 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
Get the chance to connect and celebrate with industry leaders by securing your golden ticket here.
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