Banks invest to improve and digitalize both their internal processes and their customer offers. Even so, there are still huge differences among them, as all banks did not start this race at the same point and do not move at the same speed, write Samatha Felipe-Lopez and Wesley Johnson.

The digital transformation

With the recent increase of many companies adopting the latest digital trends, there has been a boom in the ecommerce space. Ecommerce has been on the rise over the last decade, but the pandemic has contributed even more to the success of online shopping with physical shops being forced to close indefinitely. Corporates without an online/ecommerce presence have rushed to join those who already invested in the infrastructure.

What exactly is digital banking?

Digital banking refers to the use of both online and/or mobile tools to access various financial services and activities that were historically only available through physical bank branches. Driven largely by individual consumers (mobile banking apps, personalized financial planning, contactless payments, voice banking or on-demand loans), banks have expanded their digital offering to corporates both large and small(cash flow forecast, working capital, artificial intelligence – AI). Even though the needs for consumers and corporations are not exactly the same, they both have one thing in common that is now the new normal for our society: the need for real time digital banking.

Contributing even more to the ongoing ecommerce boom, the acceptance of digital wallets by corporates and the use of digital wallets by consumers grew rapidly in 2020 where they were used in “44.5% of the e-commerce transaction volume, up 6.5% from 2019” according to FIS from their annual global payment report. Even though there has been a rise in the use of digital wallets, it does not mean every region is on the same level. Some regions clearly had a higher usage of digital wallets when compared to others. However, all regions have seen an overall increase in the usage of digital payments in general. As more and more consumers switch to different forms of digital banking, one payment method suffers greatly. In today’s digital age, consumers and corporates have accelerated their transition away from holding, accepting, and paying in physical cash.

According to FIS’ Global Payments report, cash sales at the POS fell from 32.1% in 2019 to 20.5% in 2020 and have no sign of gaining back any market share lost to the other digital payment methods.

The treasury teams within most global corporations are no strangers to the digital transformation within their business function. However, the outside pressure of Covid-19 has expedited their need for innovation. (See graph below)

How has the pandemic impacted the digital transformation of your treasury

(Question asked to corporations with more than $2bn in revenues)

04/11/2022 | INSIGHTS

In this current environment, treasurers and their teams are focused on improving current processes around developing new key API’s, cash flow forecasting, and their liquidity and cash management. Identifying new data points and improving the teams overall data capabilities with more accurate forecasting, even with uncertainty ahead, is critical for the company’s survival. According to JPMorgan “40% of companies are exploring initiatives to enhance their data capabilities in treasury” A further one-third have already invested significantly in these” which is a clear indicator of what direction treasury is moving towards.

Where do banks stand in the race for digital?

Banks invest to improve and digitalize both their internal processes and their customer offers. Even so, there are still huge differences among them, as all banks did not start this race at the same point and do not move at the same speed.

Indeed, some of the oldest banks (especially the international ones) have a heavy legacy that might slow their evolution down and make it more difficult to innovate. Their 25-year-old banking platforms are not compatible with today’s varying needs. Sometimes, they even have to deal with layers of different platforms depending on the banks they have as acquirers over the past years.

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The growth and vitality of the payments industry has fascinated all observers during the past two years of the pandemic.

Now with recent geopolitical developments arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it is being tested again. Our new publication analyzes the most prevalent trends and innovations in the treasury world today.

Included in this publication:

Cash Management & Payment Trends:

How 2022 Will Transform Your Treasury Department

  • The Global Resurgence of QR Codes
  • Choosing the Right Payment Terminal in an Ever-Changing Environment
  • The Rise of Buy Now, Pay Later
  • PCI Compliance in an E-Commerce World
  • Where Do Banks Stand in the Race for Digital?
  • Virtual Accounts, Which Companies Should Implement Them?
  • The Future & Alternatives to SWIFT GPI
  • Global Digitization in the Depository Space
  • “Switching Banks Was the Right Decision”: An Interview with Olivier Bouillaud from Albéa

Meet the authors:

Wesley Johnson


Samantha Felipe-Lopez


Redbridge Debt & Treasury Advisory is a leading financial management partner to corporate treasurers and CFOs around the globe.

As an independently owned and operated advisory firm, we change the rules of the game to empower our clients and optimize their financial performance. Our advice is specialized, transparent and adapted to the complexity of each client.

We offer services in nine key areas and software solutions for the challenges of treasury. Our fee model is based on your success.

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