Covid-19 has proven how critical the payments sector is to our modern lives; it’s a profession we deserve to be proud of.
Payments professionals are highly valuable to society. Of course, unlike many (particularly public sector) professions, payments professionals are largely considered “fairly-remunerated by society”. It is an eminently safe, esteemed and positive industry for most of us to work in. So we’re not asking for any extra special thanks.
It’s nevertheless worth reflecting on the enormous contributions that our industry, and its talented professionals, have made over the course of this challenging year. For any who were in doubt, 2020 has demonstrated how valuable our professional contribution to society can be.
As an industry, we’ve responded in two core ways to the pandemic.
First, we kept the critical payments ecosystem fully operational despite widespread disruption to operational infrastructure, and our workforce. Payments staff were generally categorised as ‘key’ or ‘critical’ workers at the height of lockdown, and whilst many were able to work effectively from home, others made significant personal sacrifices or took additional risks in the interest of maintaining BAU.
Second, we have worked with extraordinary speed and innovation to deliver new payments services for businesses and individuals in need. As outlined in a March 2020 McKinsey report, our sector has been (and continues to be) critical in responding to major issues including: ensuring universal access to digital payments services; rapid adoption of contactless; rationalising cash; fighting against a rise in cybercrime; and much more.
At the heart of all these myriad responses to Covid-19 are talented and passionate payments professionals.
Feeling proud? Perhaps you should. Because although few individuals would feel immediately able to take personal credit for our sector’s recent achievements, it is the small contributions of many that have amounted to its overall success.
Consider this: it’s no coincidence that the FCA published, in its March 2020 guidance on Key Workers In Financial Services, a wide-ranging list that included senior managers, product managers, customer service representatives, risk managers, compliance professionals, auditors, finance professionals and IT staff.
It takes collective effort to achieve what our industry has pulled off in recent months. On whatever level you’ve been involved, we should all take this as a chance to feel proud of our professional value.
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