A chat with Frits

Having lead numerous payments projects for banks, processors and PSP´s, Frits Steenmeijer doesn´t really need an introduction. Why did the latest Associate Partner to join the team chose for Connective Payments? Time for a chat.

In three sentences, who is Frits Steenmeijer?
Together with my, originally form Germany, wife and two daughters we are living in the fortified city of Naarden. In my spare time I do a lot of endurance sports (including training for marathons). When I was in high school, I wanted to become a computer game programmer, but during my computer science studies it turned out that my interest was wider (and that there were much better programmers around). There you go, three sentences.

How does the Payments industry appeal to you?
I don’t want to offend anybody, but working within the payments industry used to be a bit boring. Payments specialists were almost like plumbers working in the basements of banks. In the past 15 years, working within this industry has become much more exciting, due to rapid changes and the use of new technologies. This resulted in a lot of innovation, new products and new players (fintech). Who does not want to work in this industry?

You are the last one who joined Connective Payments as an associate partner. Why did you chose Connective Payments?
I joined this club partly because I feel related to their hands-on mentality. All of us know a lot about the market developments and we are good in developing product roadmaps and strategies, but we also take responsibility for the implementation: what we advise, we can also implement. That no-nonsense approach really appeals to me.

What is your specialism?
I am specialised in project management; developing new payment apps, on-line payment products and acquiring services.
I am not an expert pur sang. However, from my experience and knowledge of payment transactions and technology, I can take a deep dive into complex knowledge-intensive areas, if necessary. I have been involved in large classic “waterfall” programs in the past. But I prefer projects with an agile / scrum approach and with clear lead times.

What are the results you are most proud of?
Because of SEPA, the Dutch banks decided to switch from domestic PIN scheme to Maestro in mid-2009. On behalf of Equens I was project manager for a project that made it possible for all these debit card transactions to be processed cheaper than the standard Mastercard protocol (so-called “incloud” processing). In addition to being on time, this project has also made a major contribution to keeping payment transactions in the Netherlands cost efficient and to remain “best in class” in Europe.

How do you keep up with all the developments in Payment services?
Connective Payments colleagues keep each other in the loop, sharing all kinds of articles about new developments. In some cases, my assignments are more substantive and less project management oriented. It is always great to immerse myself deeply in a specific subject, such as the recent PIS and AIS developments in Europe.

In your opinion, what are the most important developments in Payments in the next 2 to 3 years?
Due to the rapid development of technology and new regulations, more and more new players with innovative services will enter the market, settling between traditional banks and their customers. The banks will then increasingly concentrate on their basic services and the need to comply with all kinds of legislation. A bit similar to what happened in the telecom industry 15 years ago; with the incumbents (eg KPN in the Netherlands) focussing on providing the basic infrastructure and new players such as WhatsApp and Netflix offering new customer-oriented services based on that existing infrastructure.

You can reach Frits by telephone: +31 6 11361143 or email: frits.steenmeijer@connectivepayments.com.

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