This blog was originally shared as a Lightning Talk at PAYMENTSfn 2019.

While payments can be a fun and compelling industry to work in, keeping up with the pace of change in payments can be a tough challenge, even for the most seasoned payments pros, not to mention the newbies among us coming from backgrounds outside of payments. Like most industries, the best way to learn payments is to do payments. You can’t replace “OJT” – on-the-job training.

For me, though, OJT just hasn’t been enough. Because payments is so complex, it seems good to plan some form of learning into my work-week in order to thrive and grow as a payments professional. Let me say it this way: “To boost your payments IQ, you have to plan to learn more about payments.” This has certainly been true for me! And I bet it’s true for you, too.    

So, how do we keep up? What kinds of learning do we actually plan into our days? I want to offer three easy suggestions to boost your Payments IQ: read, listen, or talk. I suggest picking just one way that works for you.

#1 - Read a payments blog

While I’m sure that there are some really helpful books out there on payments and the payments industry, the pace of change in payments makes blog reading the best way to keep up with news and changes in the industry.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Fin by Plaid has a nice collection of resources in their payments section, including a February submission by PAYMENTSfn keynote speaker, Michelle Vautier from Patreon, “Are you a platform or a marketplace?”.
  • Alternatively, I like PYMNTS.com for more general payments news. Their “Masterclass” VLOG is another great resource that I’ve started to dip into for new learning content.
  • As the name suggests, “Mobile Payments Today” is more specific to the intersection of payments and mobile technologies like NFC, in-app payments, and mobile banking.
  • Some of us here at Spreedly are regular readers of “Payments Views” by Glenbrook Partners.

#2 - Listen to a Payments Podcast

Perhaps a better option for you is to schedule your payments learning as listening. As an avid audiobook and podcast listener, this is definitely the on-the-go learning method that helps me retain the most content.

Check out these podcast options:

  • Personally, I’ve learned a ton from listening to “Payments on Fire” from Glenbrook. If you don’t know anything about Network Tokenization, for example, (and you should), check out the OCT 18th episode from last year with Russ Jones. He does a nice job explaining the key concepts.
  • In addition to blogs, Mobile Payments Today and PYMNTS.com also have solid podcasts, though I’m not a frequent a listener to those. PYMNTS.com has a “News in 90 seconds” that offers quick soundbites worth being aware of in nice, small chunks.
  • Though not a podcast, I certainly recommend Spreedly’s “Payments Dialog”, a VLOG series in which we interview global payments experts about topics like tokenization and payments in LATAM.

#3 - Talk to payments people

Do you do your best learning in a kind of immersion environment? Why swim in the kiddy-pool when you can just jump straight into the deep end and TALK payments with people who know payments deeply?

Like reading blogs and listening to podcasts, my last suggestion to boost your payments IQ is pretty basic, too. Here are some places you can talk to “payments people”:

  • If you attended PAYMENTSfn this year– thank you! We’re glad you came! Don’t miss PAYMENTSfn 2020!
  • We really enjoyed the speakers and community-vibe at PaymentsEd Forum last year in Boston. We’ll be attending again this year in San Francisco in August. Let us know if you’re going!
  • Payments Innovation Summit (PIS) put on by The Innovation Enterprise was excellent last year in San Francisco. PIS included a strong blend of talks by industry leaders, panel discussions, and interactive roundtable discussions. We’re hoping to go to the 2019 version as well.
  • If you’re brand-new to the payments industry, you could go to Glenbrook’s Payments Boot Camp. Payments Boot Camps are 2-day immersion workshops put on by Glenbrook Partners. We found so much value in sending Spreedlings to their boot camps, that we brought Glenbrook here to Durham to put the whole company through boot camp together earlier this year.

There you have it – three options to get-smart and stay-smart on payments: read, listen, and talk. Any of these can be planned into your busy schedule, even to a small degree. But, don't try to do it all. Pick one of these learning methods and go for it. You won't regret it, you'll be smarter and wiser. And frankly, the whole payments industry will be better for your efforts.

I’m sure that there are dozens more suggestions for payments learning that I haven’t heard of or seen yet. If you know another good payments blog, podcast, or conference that should be included in this list, send us a note! Thank you in advance!

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