Transactions 20½ – Thank you paydirekt

One of our sponsors this year – paydirekt

The Corona pandemic still has us all in its grip and the infection figures are not yet falling to the extent that we can give the all-clear. This also means something for us and our event planning. Contrary to all our hopes to see each other live and in colour again in February, the second half of the Transactions will again take place exclusively remotely – in a really good TV studio in the Palais in Frankfurt.

Advantage: by now (almost) something like routine

But hey! By now have experience in it. After all, before Transactions 20 in November, the Banking Exchange had already been affected by the change in sign. So do we already have something like a routine in planning online-only conferences? Well, sort of and so preparations are already in full swing for the second half of TRX on 2/25/2021. Stress levels are rising!

So the Transactions 20½ starts in a few days. At #TRX20½, the forward-looking trends of the payment and banking industry will be discussed for one day, but also insights into the current developments and concepts of the industry will be given. The focus is not only on the people on stage: Above all, the guests are also given space to exchange ideas with each other and with experts and impulse providers from the industry. All this is in most cases never possible without the support of people who believe in the format.

For those who do, however, we’d like to give them the space to briefly introduce themselves and share why they think an event like Transactions is worth supporting. We invited the CEO of paydirekt, Christian von Hammel-Bonten, for an interview.

Who or what is paydirekt? What does your company stand for?

We are the online payment standard of the German banking industry and operate the payment procedures paydirekt and giropay. Our goal is to provide customers with an easy and secure way to pay directly from their checking account. In addition to user-friendliness, we attach great importance to data protection: all sensitive data remains where it belongs, namely in the secure banking environment. In addition, we also give dealers the certainty that they are addressing the right customer. Because every paydirekt customer has an authorised current account with a bank or savings bank.

What is the connection between paydirekt and Transactions?

For us, Transactions is one of the annual must-attend events in the industry. Especially now, the exchange is important, because 2020 has brought a lot of movement into the payment market: Consumers increasingly rely on digital payment solutions, for merchants the fast availability of sales has become even more crucial, BigTechs are pushing their payment solutions.

Interview Christian von Hammel-Bonten

For a look at the workbench and the future of the industry, we think Transactions is one of the most interesting events.

The topics of exchange and networking were hardly possible last year and this fact will probably continue into the summer of this year – how important are events like Transactions 20 for the industry nevertheless?

Very important! We should remain in dialogue, because as enablers we are even more challenged by the crisis. This requires professional exchange, looking beyond one’s own nose and controversial discussions of current developments.

At Transactions 20, established players, fintech start-ups and players from related industries will once again be talking about the future of finance. What were the most important topics from the payment & banking world for you in 2020? What trending topics do you see in 2021?

The Corona crisis has massively increased the trend towards mobile, digital payments. And that’s despite the fact that we didn’t see any groundbreaking news in 2020. An exciting trend topic for this year remains the development around cryptocurrencies and thus also around the digital euro. Will it actually be introduced and how will it change tomorrow’s payments? It remains to be seen how much clarity we will get on these issues in 2021.

Experience shows that you meet even fewer women in the industry than in other digital industries. How diverse are you with paydirekt and what is your position on the issue of quotas?

We do not need a quota with paydirekt. Half of the management team is female, and we have a female quota of 42 percent throughout the company. Diversity is one of our fundamental principles and is much more than a mere hygiene factor for us.

Interview Christian von Hammel-Bonten

Through different perspectives and approaches, we also benefit as a company. Unfortunately, this has not yet reached all companies, which is why it will not work without quota regulations.

With the start of the Pandemic, we immediately went into remote mode with almost the entire team. Thanks to appropriate tools, hardware and our corporate culture, this went completely silently and smoothly. We were already mobile before and thus positioned with maximum flexibility. We have maintained our pace, launched new product features and continued to grow steadily. With giropay, we have even brought a new payment method on board within a few months remotely. An achievement that makes us very proud, not only because it was a great team success, but also because it showed us how stable and resilient our processes and our corporate culture are.

Fintech is developing rapidly and dynamically. What do you think has changed within the last year? What were the most important developments?

When the first fintechs appeared on the scene, it was “fintechs vs. banks.” As a subsidiary of German banks and savings banks, we live a fintech culture to a large extent and have been working successfully with the banks from the very beginning. We are therefore of the opinion: Let us put aside the David-against-Goliath airs and focus on cooperation. We can all learn from each other – in all areas. Over the past year, we’ve seen new collaborations that show fintechs and incumbents benefiting from each other.

Looking back: From your perspective, what has been the biggest hype or disappointment in the scene over the past few years?

Not hype, but rather a lasting trend, is the increased acceptance of mobile payments. At the same time, digital offers and thus also online payment methods are being used to a greater extent. The Corona crisis has only accelerated these developments, which we believe will continue in the long term.

What was perhaps more disappointing was that we in Germany have some catching up to do in terms of digitization – across all industries and in many areas. This applies to the Internet connection of many regions alone, with corresponding challenges for e-commerce. Corona has made that clear as well.

“In Germany, we have some catching up to do when it comes to digitalization.”

To what extent can and do you want to help shape the banking industry with your company?

As the payment standard of the German banking industry, we not only help shape the banking industry, but also the payment industry. Our positions and goals are clearly defined here: We want to combine the highest convenience with secure payment directly from the current account.

What does innovation mean to you?

Innovation is important, but far too often just a buzzword. Innovation is not an end in itself, but must consistently meet the needs of the target groups. And accordingly, we see innovation as a continuous evolution with a focus on straightforward payment, easy checkout across all channels with high conversion rates. That’s why in 2020 we implemented the approval of payments via the paydirekt app with biometrics or PIN, without entering a user name and password. We are the first payment to offer this function on the German market and have received a lot of positive feedback from our merchants and users.

What do you think is in store for the industry in 2021? Where does the industry need to go from here?

Clearly, the trend towards seamless payments across all channels continues. Customers expect to be able to pay in almost the same way online, in apps or in stores. We are successful as a payment when we reduce complexities for buyers, creating benefits for merchants.

Interview Christian von Hammel-Bonten

That’s why we have to offer maximum convenience with omnichannel solutions – online, mobile and at the POS. Even more so since BigTechs entered the market. We are working on this – also in the context of #DK, the project to bundle the payment procedures of the German banking industry.

Why would it be so great to work for you guys for a day?

Our mission is unique in the industry: we establish the payment standard of the German banks and savings banks. With around 1,400 participating institutions, almost the entire German banking industry is behind us. And although our team has now grown to more than 130 colleagues, we have retained our start-up spirit: Short decision-making processes, flat hierarchies and agile processes far away from suit and tie.

After the great guests is before the great guests

Following our November guests Dan McCrum, Verena Pausder and Sascha Lobo, we are once again bringing national and international stars and hidden champions from the business world to our “digital” Transactions stage in February. Who’s all this? We’re simply picking up where we left off at Transactions 20 in November, and look forward to guests discussing the important issues facing the industry and providing an outlook on current developments. We welcome, among others, Aya Jaff, who will reflect on “Get Green or Die Tryin'” in her keynote, as well as Tom Dapp, Kristina Walcker-Mayer, Verena Thaler, Imke Jacob, Alexander Bechtel and many many more.

Bam! Also remotely connected will be Edward Snowden, who not only has his own opinion on the topic of data protection, but will also provide exciting insights.

Good news: There are still tickets available – be there!

Be part of it!! Lucky is who already has his ticket for the event. They retain their validity and can be redeemed again without any problems. If you don’t have a ticket yet, we have excellent news – there are still some available here:

And if you get a ticket now you will automatically have access to the past Transactions 20½ lectures. In other words, get a ticket and you’ll get the concentrated load: Sascha Lobo, Verena Pausder, Aya Jaff, Edward Snowden and many, many more! You can find the complete line-up as well as all speakers at!

We’re bringing the Transaction 20½ online stream right to your door.

Nicole Nitsche
Nicole Nitsche ist studierte Theaterwissenschaftlerin und hat mehrere Jahre als Regieassistentin beim Thalia Theater Hamburg gearbeitet. Danach war Nicole Leiterin der Presse-und Marketingabteilung eines Hamburger Musiklabels. Zu ihren täglichen Aufgaben zählten dort, neben dem Verfassen von Pressetexten, die Umsetzung und... mehr