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The New iDEAL: Ready For the Future

Back in December 2020, iDEAL’s brand owner Currence announced that it had started working on the new iDEAL, and bits of information about the rehaul have been released since then. iDEAL saw the light of day in 2005 and has grown out to be the most frequently used online payment method by Dutch consumers. We had the pleasure to interview Daniel van Delft, CEO at Currence to discuss this program.

the new ideal ecommerce payments

Can you describe the role iDEAL plays in the payment ecosystem?

iDEAL is the predominant and most preferred e-commerce payment scheme in the Netherlands. iDEAL can also facilitate cross-border transactions between Dutch consumers and merchants overseas. The role we play is that we are the scheme that manages the interest of different players across the payment value chain. It's a so-called four-corner model.

The four-corner payment model

Why a new iDEAL and how will it affect the consumer and merchant experience?

We are working towards a more efficient and fine-tuned customer experience whereby the consumer can register his own profile.  This customer profile requires entering the payment and shipping details only once as opposed to at every transaction. Ultimately leading to a seamless experience for the consumer. This is done in an intelligent way, whereby the flexibility is at the consumer side. The new iDEAL will eliminate the need for merchants to request the customer’s shipping address because it is part of the customer’s iDEAL profile. Additionally, the next set-up of iDEAL will significantly increase the innovation power of the scheme, enabling our existing and new ecosystem parties to launch new functionality rapidly

iDEAL is the dominant e-commerce payment method in the Netherlands. Do you have plans for international expansion?

That's of course our ambition, but also a phased ambition. First, we strive to launch the new iDEAL in a way we believe is right. We also want all players in the payment value chain to find it right. At the end of the day, we are confident that the iDEAL scheme is in itself simple and easy.  Once we have launched the new iDEAL, we definitely see an opportunity to further expand iDEAL across the Dutch borders. Not only from a merchant acquirer perspective, because that's already the case. Also from an issuer perspective, there is more demand for e-commerce based ecosystems in European markets. Despite the fragmentation in the European landscape, we believe that we are well-positioned and well-suited to tackle this fragmentation.

When and how do you plan on launching the new iDEAL given that there is a lot at stake?

We have chosen a phased approach with an incremental rollout. The first transactions will follow the old protocol; the customers are only routed through our new platform. For that, we are running a pilot as we speak, as the first step towards the further deployment of the new iDEAL. As a next step, we will migrate from XML to API standards, enabling innovations like fast check out and value-added services, such as loyalty programs.

​​​​QR codes are steadily gaining popularity as a payment feature in the Netherlands, how does iDEAL relate to this?

Definitely. With the current iDEAL we already have quite a good proposition for QR. iDEAL QR-codes are rapidly replacing old-fashioned paper-based Acceptgiros, as an example. QR codes are also used more and more in physical stores in addition to or as a backup to point of sale card terminals.

iDEAL is well-positioned and well-equipped to further deploy and develop QR code payment propositions, based on existing ones in the market. iDEAL QR codes were first launched in 2016.

How does Currence look at instant payments, do you see a role for iDEAL?

That's another interesting debate. There are a number of cases where SCT (SEPA Credit Transfer) payments could be easily replaced by instant payments if the issuing bank is able to support instant payments. But is it necessary? It really depends, as we are open to whatever the market demands. From a European perspective, there's quite a push for instant payments. It definitely has advantages for some recipients. However, there is currently little demand from consumers. From an iDEAL scheme perspective, we are mostly involved in the initiation of the payment and we are entirely compatible with instant payments for the final settlement to merchants. 

About Daniel van Delft

Daniel van Delft is the CEO of Currence, the product owner of payment brand iDEAL and three other brands. At Currence, amongst others, Daniel and his team oversee the development and implementation of the new iDEAL, with a completely new and improved API-based infrastructure, and a platform that allows partners to develop and launch value-added services for the iDEAL payment scheme.

About Currence

Currence is the brand owner of the Dutch collective payment products iDEAL, Incassomachtigen (e-mandates), Acceptgiro (paper payment requests), and of iDIN, the collective digital identity service of Dutch banks. iDEAL is one of the most successful domestic payment methods in Europe: with well over 1 billion transactions in the past year, it is the dominant online payment method in the Netherlands, with a 71% market share in Dutch e-commerce payments. 

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