More and more, consumers and businesses are enjoying instant access to finance and the ability to pay and receive money within seconds. Contis is the engine that’s powering this revolution, offering end-to-end solutions to bring clients’ banking and payment visions to life.
Banks and payment providers can either use Contis’ solutions to build their own user interface (UI) or skin the UI developed by Contis which is delivered both in app and portal format. Regulated by the FCA in the UK and by the Bank of Lithuania and a Visa Principal Partner member, Contis empowers innovation and enables financial services organisations to quickly get their ideas to market – as Jason Ollivier, the company’s first ever ‘Chief Disruption Officer’ explains.
“We have a platform that is configurable, with enormous scope and industry leading reliability with 99.99% uptime,” he explains. Contis removes many of the elements that create friction when a company tries to bring a financial solution to market, and its API feature is “quick, safe and pretty much real time”. Using such a solution allows organisations to plug in new features and try new things, encouraging innovation without the commitment of having to overhaul core software.
These levels of efficiency are especially important for startups, but also for established companies that want to put out a proof of concept quickly. In order to help achieve this, Contis has partnered with payments giant Visa to get clients up and running with a proof of concept within four weeks. “This is unheard of in the space,” comments Ollivier. “That’s a full current account and card issuing and processing product. Pretty cool.”
The ability to plug in, develop new features, and innovate at speed has given rise to collaboration in the financial services space, especially between banks and technology companies – but is the importance of working together fully understood? “I think we’re getting there, but I don’t think we’re there yet,” says Ollivier. “Trust is the most important thing. Once you can prove you’re trusted, you need to be able to deliver things simply. Then there are big organisations with specific ideas – so you need the flexibility to be able to develop initial functionality to suit their needs.”
In being a trusted partner, Contis works as a consultant to clients to figure out what their end goal is and how the tech company can help. “It’s worth spending that time,” says Ollivier. “We won’t start delivering a product until it’s been fully scoped. How can we possibly configure a platform to deliver a solution if we don’t know what the solution is?”
Buffer, Contis’ newest product which allows card payment transactions to be funded in real time from a secondary source as opposed to the main cardholder account – ideal if you run out of money unexpectedly – came from having these rich conversations with clients. “It’s exciting because it’s a genuinely new product that is valid across multiple use cases,” says Ollivier.
Buffer is an example of thoughtful innovation: it’s a solution to a real and prolific problem, rather than an excuse to use the latest tech or chase a bright, shiny object. “Goodness knows there are shiny objects out there – it’s easy as an organisation to be wasteful because you’re choosing the wrong ones,” Ollivier comments. “You need to be aware of what’s going on. You also need to have a very firm compass as to what your role is in life and stay true to that compass because that way you’re operating within your sweet spot and you’re delivering very real opportunities.”
The mantra is similar when it comes to disruption – Ollivier’s main remit. It’s the same sage advice he offers his nine-year-old daughter: “Think it through and try to be yourself. Know who you are, know what you stand for, know what you’re trying to achieve and be true to it.” Often, ‘disruption’ is a buzzword that every business wants to lay claim to, with the result that many are disrupting for the sake of it, or or aren’t doing anything very disruptive at all. Looking at the true meaning of the word, Ollivier says: “Where there is friction and where there is customer driven requirement, there is room for disruption. Heaven knows in our industry we have both of those things.”
At Contis, the role of Chief Disruption Officer was created to fulfil the need for disruption in a measured, efficient way. “I’ve focused much of my time on making sure our platform is sufficiently scalable – that is, significantly configurable and rich in product to facilitate disruption,” says Ollivier. Having achieved effective disruptor status, the next job for Contis is to fully commercialise on this. “Our clients want a highly tailored solution delivered in a turnkey way. For me, it’s taking all the hard work we’ve done and making sure the world understands what we offer.”
The business’ modular setup allows it to provide this interesting paradox – something standard yet bespoke – in a scalable way that stands it in good stead for the future. “It means you’re not getting into the nitty gritty of code to add anything else in – we can just build and build and build,” says Ollivier. “It allows us to be agile. It’s a pretty fabulous place to be.”