Industry Influencer Q&A #18: Ricardo Vidal

Posted by | | Industry Influencer Insights


This blog series is dedicated to sharing the thoughts of industry influencers from across the payments and e-commerce sectors.  Over the coming months, we will continue to ask experts to comment on the key issues and trends affecting the industry, and share their thoughts with you here.


Our latest industry influencer is FinTech expert Ricardo Vidal (@RicardoVidal).  Ricardo has more than 15 years of hands-on product experience and holds the record for the fastest agile execution of a Fintech product from idea to market, having launched a risk-based product in three countries in only 12 days. That accomplishment led to the 2014 “FinTech Start-up of the Year” award and 2015 “Digital Innovation of the Year” award. Ricardo is originally from Portugal, and now lives and works in Germany.


What are your thoughts on the future of payments?


In my view, payments will become more and more like the Uber experience. When you go for an Uber ride, you no longer think about payments.  It’s the same now with the test Amazon store; you go and buy your groceries without making a physical payment. It all happens in the background without interaction. I can see that happening in many different fields, from going to the movies to renting a car to basically buying anything, so there is a big opportunity there for the payment providers that can run the infrastructure in the background.


What do you feel have been the most notable FinTech technologies or initiatives of 2017?


I cannot let the big fuss around blockchain and distributed ledger technology go unnoticed.  They seem to be getting a great deal of momentum in general, though in my personal opinion the InsurTech industry is getting some good momentum as well. Many good and smart entrepreneurs with who’ve found success in the FinTech industry are now giving the insurance industry a try, and I have my bets on them as the new disruptors.  If we could make banking sexy, I am sure it won’t take too long to do the same in the insurance world.


What are your thoughts on the future of online lending?


I think online lending will become more intrinsic to the banking experience, and different players will play an important role in making it more ubiquitous and accessible.  I am a big fan of on-demand technology, and lending will not be any different. I can imagine a situation where you’re using your bank card (or pre-paid, credit card, digital wallet …) and if you have no funds at the moment of the transaction, you would just get a message asking if you want instant access to $1,000, and with just one click (perhaps even on your smartwatch) you would then have the funds on your card and be able to use it instantly.


In 2017, what are the key problems faced by SMEs in managing their working capital?


It is an alarming number, but 25% of all bankruptcies are related to working capital shortages. On the buyer side, you want to get working capital to buy goods, but you don’t always have access to capital. Typical SME lending products try to solve that problem, but the access to liquidity is not always that trivial.  On the supplier side, you want to get your money as fast as possible – over 30% of B2B invoices are paid after the due period (usually 30 days) – resulting in the need for factoring products. Working capital is a problem that affects both sides of the SME equation, and one that still has great potential for disruption through the use of technology and closely matching the needs of the buyers and the suppliers. I have my eyes on it.