FinTechBlockchainFraud and cybersecurity top list of treasury fears

Fraud and cybersecurity top list of treasury fears

Fear of payment fraud and cybersecurity continues to rise, according to survey of finance professionals.

Treasury and finance professionals anticipate more operational challenges in 2019 than in previous years, according to a survey of treasurers.

The TD Bank survey of finance professionals found that risk of payment fraud/cybersecurity was the most feared operational challenge – a 14 per cent year-on-year increase.

As the risk of payment fraud/cybersecurity threats is top of mind across the industry, there comes an expectation from 98 percent of respondents that financial institutions should assist organizations with protecting against fraud and cybercrime.

More than half (55 per cent) said financial institutions can help them better protect against fraud and cybercrime through education – although 48 per cent of respondents admitted that their company does not have any in-house cyber fraud prevention training. Additionally, one-in-four finance professionals surveyed feel that banks should offer greater controls on transactions and 18 per cent state they want risk or process reviews.

“As global fraud and cybersecurity incidents continue to rise, corporations recognize the need to bolster their protective measures and improve employee understanding of how to safeguard finances,” said Rick Burke, Head of Corporate Products and Services at TD Bank.

“To achieve real success, organizations and their employees need to be better able to identify and deter fraud attempts. This should be a responsibility shared by businesses and their financial institutions, beginning with better education.”

Second on the list of challenges is the ability to adapt to or process faster/electronic payments, which was viewed as obstacle for 37 per cent of survey respondents. This concern is in line with widespread anxieties around the constantly evolving world of commercial payments. In fact, the majority (60 per cent) of respondents expect to see the largest amount of growth this year within faster or real-time processing.

Positive about blockchain

Unsurprisingly, the survey found that technology continues to influence treasury operations, and the majority of survey respondents (90 per cent) feel that blockchain/distributed ledger technology will have some type of positive effect on the payments industry.

Blockchain’s ability to create stronger audit trails was its major benefit (29 per cent), followed by:

  • Speeding up the payments process (22 per cent)
  • Improving efficiency of cross-border payments (21 per cent)
  • Reducing payments fraud (18 per cent)

“Blockchain technology has broad implications for the commercial payments space, from speeding up settlements to securing cross-border transactions,” said Burke.

“Even though much of the industry has a baseline understanding that blockchain can evolve and improve payments, the varied responses indicate that the technology’s specific capabilities and implications are still a great unknown for many finance professionals.”

APIs split opinion

Despite the hype around new innovations like blockchain, finance professionals appear to be split on the use of another technology type to facilitate payments: open APIs. Fifty percent of respondents claim that their organization currently uses or is in the process of integrating open APIs into company operations, while 49 per cent do not use open APIs and nearly a quarter of that group does not have plans to do so in the future.

With so much change on the horizon, companies are investing in training strategies for several facets of treasury operations. Survey respondents said their organization has training strategies specifically for data and analytics (45 per cent), AI and automation (26 per cent) and blockchain (14 per cent).

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