SMART CARD THINKING
It may be celebrating its 51st anniversary this year as the first credit company to launch in the UK, but Barclaycard has its eyes firmly focused on the future opportunities that digital innovation offers its customers. While it’s best known for the eponymous credit card, as advertised by everyone from Alan Whicker to Jennifer Aniston, Barclaycard is now a consumer and business payments company with 30 million customers worldwide and 15,000 employees.
The company has continually been a leader in innovation. It was the first UK card company to go online, the first to trial chip and PIN, and the first to bring contactless payments to Britain. Now it is at the forefront of the innovations inspired by a rapidly changing technology landscape.
Half a century of innovation
“The digital market space is evolving rapidly and Barclaycard is helping drive large elements of the disruption going on in financial services,” says Ian Bromwich, Managing Director for Digital. “We will continue to see that space change over the coming years and we predict the pace of change will accelerate.”
Barclaycard continues to be an innovative payments company in areas such as mobile apps, web, mobile payments, wearable technology, contactless devices, digital servicing and mobile wallets. The company has won a number of industry awards, while its mobile apps are highly rated on Apple’s app store. It has a strong record of customer retention across its many product lines and has successfully built on its brand heritage and on its position in the market.
In order to stay innovative and competitive, Barclaycard’s operations and technology teams work closely with the business executives running the various product lines across the company. “We are not just a think-tank or an ivory-tower operation,” says Bromwich. “We work very closely with the business to formulate a combined digital strategy and product roadmap to deliver compelling and innovative solutions for our personal and business customers.”
In order to maintain its edge in financial services innovation, Barclaycard is on a constant search for talent across a wide range of specialisms including creatives, designers, developers and testers – right through to the human-computer interface specialists who understand the science behind creating excellent websites.
“Getting the right mix of talent is vital,” says Bromwich. “It’s essential to find people with the right mindset. We are looking for self-starters, creative thinkers and people who come up with ideas and can deliver on them. We want people who can take a chance and make a difference.” The company offers a competitive package in terms of salary and pensions, and employees have the opportunity to move into new areas of activity as the technology continues to advance.
Barclaycard is, says Bromwich, one of the most fast-paced and exciting places to work within financial services, especially compared with traditional providers such as pension and mortgage companies. The firm has invested heavily in its digital activities over the last few years and has a portfolio of digital projects in the pipeline worth tens of millions of pounds. The areas it is looking into include biometric security, identity and emerging trends in the digital, innovation and payments arena.
The company is preparing for its next 50 years of innovation. “We want to remain a leader and a scale player in financial services,” says Bromwich. “That means having an innovation edge rather than being one of the start-ups that have a high-profile launch and then fizzle out a year or so after. Digital is an exciting place to be for your career.”