Enabling customer-centric experiences through modern payment systems and legislation

Payments Canada’s Board of Directors advises on strategic and policy matters that support smarter, safer and easier payments for the benefit of Canadians, their businesses and the economy. Jennifer Hawkins, SVP & Head of Emerging Businesses, BMO Financial Group and Payments Canada board member, shares how modern payments, including Payments Canada’s proposed changes to the Canadian Payments Act, support customer-centric payment experiences in today’s increasingly digital economy.

Headshot Jennifer Hawkins

You are an integral member of the Payments Canada Board of Directors. Can you tell us more about your role on the board and what drew you to it?
The global payments industry is undergoing transformational change to deliver frictionless payments to commercial and retail customers. With over twenty years of retail payment experience, my role on the Board is to share my industry knowledge to help inform Payments Canada’s strategic priorities. I have served on other boards, which helps me share best practices in areas such as board governance and performance. I am also known for my collaboration and alignment skills, which are needed to foster an effective board.

BMO is a participant on Lynx, Canada’s new high-value payment system, which supports the ISO 20022 payment messaging standard. What are the biggest opportunities you see coming from the adoption of ISO 20022-enabled data-rich payments?
The adoption of the ISO 20022 message format is improving the operational efficiency of the banks through improved upfront validations, less friction throughout the life of the payment, and improved reconciliation for the beneficiary, which will ultimately lead to an improved customer experience. These improvements will be seen domestically and globally as more participants adopt the new standards.

BMO is also a member of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), a signatory of the joint letter calling for changes to the Canadian Payments Act to expand Payments Canada's membership eligibility and broaden access to its systems. Can you tell us why broader access to Canada’s payment infrastructure is important for financial institutions and their customers?
Put simply, it’s about the customer. A customer-centric approach will enable payments to occur faster and more efficiently. Expansion of Payments Canada’s membership and allowing non-financial institutions access to the payment ecosystem will drive greater competition as well as new and better payment services for consumers and businesses.

What payment trends or technologies do you think will have the greatest impact on the way we pay in the future? How will broader access support this change?
Real-time payments will deliver many benefits to Canadians and our economy. Faster payments allow entities to create more value through money movement, such as enabling businesses to improve their cash flow management. For consumers, instead of paying a bill two days in advance to ensure a cheque clears, they can do bill payment from home on a mobile device the same day it is due. It’s about ease and simplicity. With more entities participating in the payment ecosystem, there will be many new services and use cases we haven’t imagined yet. I am excited to see the innovation ahead!

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