ACI Worldwide: US firm ACI Worldwide sees a spot in cross-border payments business here

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Florida, US-headquartered instant payments company ACI Worldwide is looking to tap into the emerging cross-border payments market in India with its instant payment software, said chief executive Thomas Warsop.

“The regulator needs to think about making cross border payments easier, faster and less expensive. Use cases for instant payments will explode when you start to think about cross border,” Warsop said in an interaction with ET in Mumbai.

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On October 31, The Reserve Bank of India issued guidelines for payment aggregators focused on the cross-border space. As the industry moves towards enabling instant payments across geographies, companies like ACI Worldwide, which power debit card payments for banks and merchants, are sensing a fresh opportunity.

Warsop was in India to meet banks and explore ways to expand the customer base in the country. The US-listed payments firm, which has a market capitalisation of $3.3 billion as of Wednesday, is betting on the Indian market to achieve its target of a 6-7% growth in business worldwide between 2023 and 2024.

While Warsop did not provide a revenue split for each region where the company operates, the company had in the September quarter clocked total revenues of $363 million.

“We count the India business as a part of the Middle East, Africa and South Asian region, which is our fastest growing region,” Warsop said.

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Besides its sales and servicing teams in Mumbai, ACI has around 700 technical staff across its two centres in Bengaluru and Pune.ACI Worldwide is a major investor in Mumbai-based real time payments firm Mindgate, which supports a large amount of UPI payments in the country by powering almost all the major banks and a few large third-party payment applications on UPI.

Warsop believes that the international payments market will undergo changes initially due to bilateral pacts between countries and that eventually, there will be instant payment standards which will be accepted globally.

Currently, international payments are cumbersome and costly, and they are run on traditional settlement methods. Warsop said the technology for cross-border payments is already available and that it just needs regulatory push to boost adoption.

“The regulators want to make sure that consumers are getting what they are paying for, totally understand that so it should start with bilateral agreements. At some point (eventually) we will see a standard emerge,” Warsop said.

On the role of startups and new generation technology firms, Warsop said companies like ACI Worldwide with presence in 95 countries are in a better position to bring in local expertise around regulations and gain a deeper understanding of these markets.

“We are very mission critical, high volume industrial level software. The challenge in the case of cross-border payments is we want to make sure that the payments that get made are absolutely accurate,” he said.

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