Happy publication day to The Pay Off: How Changing the Way We Pay Changes Everything

July 1, 2021

We are delighted to announce the publication of The Pay Off: How changing the way we pay changes everything by Gottfried Leibbrandt and Natasha de Terán.

How we pay is so fundamental that it underpins everything – from trade to taxation, stocks and savings to salaries, pensions and pocket money. Rich or poor, criminal, communist or capitalist, we all rely on the same payments system, day in, day out. The payment system is what sits between us and not just economic meltdown, but a total breakdown in law and order. Why then do we know so little about how it really works?

Industry insiders Leibbrandt and de Terán shine a light on the hidden workings of the humble payment – and reveal how our payment habits are determined by history, as well as where we go from here. Challenging our understanding about where financial power really lies, The Pay Off shows us that the most important thing about money is the way we move it.

Get your copy now at Bookshop.org, Waterstones, Hive.co.uk or Amazon

The first accessible and authoritative exploration of how the way we pay is changing and why that matters, The Pay Off looks beyond the hype to answer such questions as:

Why do payments matter more than money itself?

What might happen if they stopped working?

Who owns our payment systems – and does that matter?

What influence does technology have on payments?

What are we paying to pay?

Is cash on the way out?

Do banks have a future in payments?

Is the future crypto?

Praise for The Pay Off:

“Payment is overlooked and misunderstood – but it shouldn’t be, say the authors of this lucid book. They ask the big questions – who controls our payments system? What do they do with our data? How can we teach children about money they can’t touch? … The Pay Off is a guide to modern finance from which everyone can profit.” Katherine Cowles, New Statesman

“Offering careful and accessible insight into the basics of payments and intelligent analysis of the Fintech boom, this book is an essential first step for all those looking to understand the possible future of the payments industry and its impact on the global economy” Martin Walker, LSE Review of Books

A “rattling read through the world of payments, an industry about which the authors say: ‘No part of the world of money is more critical to our everyday lives’.” Oliver Taslic, Reuters

“Leibbrandt and de Terán delve into … the notion that payments matter as much as money itself, untangling who owns our payment systems, the future of banks, the systems behind financial transactions, and the diminishing prospects for cash playing a role in the hyper digitalised societies of tomorrow… The Pay Off is fascinating, with genuine insights coming from expert authorities on the subject” Nick Smith, Engineering & Technology Review

“An excellent and important book. Payments are transforming our society and our lives, and yet few people understand what’s driving the change, or what the consequences could be, for good or ill. Hugely engaging and accessible, “The Pay Off” demystifies this critical subject for the layperson and policy makers alike” Natalie Ceeney CBE, Chair, Access to Cash review

“The world of payments is complex and confusing, but hugely important. The authors have produced a comprehensive, authoritative and even, at times, amusing, guide. I have read nothing better on a subject which increasingly preoccupies both commercial and central banks.” Howard Davies, Chairman, NatWest Group, and former chairman of the FSA

“What happens when we make a payment is literally a multi-billion dollar question. This is a fascinating and entertaining insight into those seconds between clicking a button and money appearing in far-off accounts – and the changing face of those who profit.” Dharshini David, author of The Almighty Dollar

“The Pay Off sounds like a thriller and it reads like one. The authors succeed in demonstrating ‘networks are an inexhaustibly interesting subject’ with wit and panache. The book was written with a twinkle in the eye and brought a twinkle to mine. Accessible and erudite, entertaining and enriching, The Pay Off delivers.” Tim Frost, former director of the Bank of England and chair of Cairn Capital

“The global payment system is the biggest thing that people generally know nothing about. The authors have managed to explain it in a way which is both engaging and intriguing, and it is hard to imagine anyone, from financial professional to general reader, not finding it fascinating. As technology begins to revolutionise payments, this book has never been more sorely needed.” Simon Gleeson, author of The Legal Concept of Money

“Whenever you buy or sell something, you use a payments system but, do you ever wonder how that system works? It’s like plumbing or electricity maybe, but it is actually far more complex as it is changing fast thanks to technology. You used to pay with cash, then with a click, now with a swipe or with a touch. What’s next? How does all of this work? The Pay Off provides a wonderful deep-dive into the subject by two experts who are at the heart of the system that links all of the payments and banking world globally, namely SWIFT. In this book, you find so many useful insights about the past, present and future of payments that anyone who is vaguely interested in the politics, economics and world of finance should pick it up and read it. NOW!” Chris Skinner, author, commentator and troublemaker

“Lucid and stimulating – this book sheds light on the scale [and pace] of the digital-money revolution that we are living through” Huw van Steenis, author, Bank of England Future of Finance report and Chair, Sustainable Finance UBS

Get your copy now at Bookshop.org, Waterstones, Hive.co.uk or Amazon

About the authors

A self-confessed payments nerd, Gottfried Leibbrandt is the former CEO of SWIFT, the global network for interbank transactions. Prior to joining SWIFT, Liebbrandt worked for McKinsey & Company. He holds degrees from Vrije Universteit Amsterdam, Maastricht University, and Stanford Business School.

Natasha de Terán is a former journalist, specialising in financial regulation and market structures. She has written for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Times, Financial Times, Risk, Week, and Money Week. She was the head of corporate affairs at SWIFT from 2012 to 2019.

Get your copy now at Bookshop.org, Waterstones, Hive.co.uk or Amazon