Money2020 Review #M2020EU

Talking points of the conference

The energy of the second day grew from the first and notable talking points included open banking initiatives and what the future might look like as this largely welcomed fintech arrival will support banks struggling with legacy structures to loosen up. (That is, if traditionalist mindsets can shift a little.) While the first day seemed to set out the stall for current status quo, day two seemed to look at some potential solutions (the super heroes?!) in more depth.

Another potential rescuer in the digital transformation, albeit a less nouveau form, is UX and UI, which remained firmly on the agenda. Given its scope to create both frictionless payments and customer journeys, we need to keep talking about it, too. The track session that assessed the convergence and complimentary features of UX and AI generated thought provoking debate. Interesting to consider whether AI can be used to do designers’ grunt work while designers can focus on all things creative.  Amid the rather overwhelming array of very new finch solutions it was good to see that a fundamentally important one like UX wasn’t elbowed aside by maverick newcomers.

Former quantum physicist Gemma Godfrey piqued plenty people’s interest following her keynote ‘Why you have greater access than ever to the secret to success’. Aside from the intriguing bio note that includes advising Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gemma is CEO of investment company, Moola and majored on the necessity to have a win-win with one’s partners or customers, and that people are moving away from saving money owing to the rising costs of living to making money. Without listening to our customers, she says, we make a big mistake. She quotes Sam Walton: “The customer is the boss. They can fire everyone from the chairman down. just by spending their money elsewhere.

Amazon Pay’s general manager, Giulio Monteranno, packed out the keynote auditorium. It was a sharp, snazzy presentation, if delivered at a 100mph owing perhaps to the cute 20 minute time slots. (Maybe some longer ones next year, Money 2020?)  It’s all about creating instant gratification for Amazon. And according to Giulio, consumers “want” to be predicted by retailers. Forty-five days ago, Amazon began a whole different round of retail disruption when it launched AmazonFresh PickUp – seamless transactions with a bricks and mortar pick-up point for groceries. (No wonder the Whole Foods acquisition appeases their appetite for new growth.) Beyond that though, it is password authentication that has him up at night. “It’s a multi-billion pound problem,” he said. He wants Amazon to lead the way in improving customer experience motivated by the knowledge that three out of four customer purchases do not get processed. Three out of four! So yes, improved, frictionless  customer experience will yield considerable profits.

Buzzwords

Because it’s so difficult to get your tongue around you feel you need a reward if you manage to say it out aloud and be understood, ‘platformification’ is our number one buzzword from day #2. So, in the way that Amazon has become a retail platform, banks will become banking platforms – making inroads for fintechs to enhance the banking experience and proposition. ‘No man [bank] is an island.’

How could we not mention PSD2? It was (and is) everywhere. Payment Services Directorate arrived in January last year  with a view to becoming national law for all of Europe’s members states by January next year. Like GDPR, it signals unprecedented shifts in regulatory legislation, this time hoping to hand over more consumer rights through better security, protection and types of payments services and by increasing competition. It’s PSD2 that’s encouraging open banking, (see later). We could go further and talk about Account Information Service Providers (AISP) and Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISP), both of which are junior buzzwords but they will become grown up buzzwords once the concepts hit mainstream media and they start discussing whether Facebook will indeed become an AISP…

Instant payment – big buzzword because it’s all about the enhanced 21st century lifestyle. These payments are available round the clock and facilitate immediate – or as good as immediate –transactional clearing and allow the payee to be credited within seconds of its initiation. Happening real-time now. However, Uber drivers can for example request an instant payment from Uber and it may not come for a few days but even so it’s an improvement on what largely exists in the wider working payments world. Room for improvement and we will hear more of this as time goes by.

‘Scaling up’ – the age-old problem that startups face when it comes to reaching the next stage of growth.

We heard ‘co-badging’ a lot, where a strategic alliance can bring two more payment brands to cards, such as Visa or Mastercard – or two or more payment applications from the same brand e.g. Visa Credit and Visa Debit.

‘API’ – application programming interface, refers to the bunch of things (protocols, communication methods, tools and so on), required to build apps software. Like a rather large recipe that’s been written by computer programmers, it delivers a roadmap to recreate an app. This is the roadmap for open banking.

Leading nicely onto ‘open banking’ – a huge buzzword for Money2020 and refers to the way in which PSD2 has allowed ‘open APIs’ (ie readily accessible APIs) to be used by third party developers to build applications and services around their own bank or financial institution. It’s the equivalent of saying, if you like this particular component of our banking proposition you too can have it – click on this and we’ll show you how. (noting that not all components will be accessible of course.)

Announcements

ACI Worldwide, a leading global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, and Alipay jointly announced that they are launching Alipay in South Africa, via leading regional payment service provider, Peach Payments. Alipay, operated by Ant Financial Services Group, is the world’s largest online and mobile payment platform with more than 450 million active Chinese users. Alipay allows merchants to effectively gain share in the world’s largest eCommerce market through a payment method and lifestyle platform Chinese travellers know and trust.

MasterCard announced a fraud detection venture set to increase customer security against cyber crime. Customers of Citi UK and Paysafe are the first to benefit from Decision Intelligence, a comprehensive fraud decisioning service. The solution uses artificial intelligence technology to help financial institutions increase the accuracy of real-time approvals of genuine transactions and reduce false declines. It will be the first global artificial intelligence application on the Mastercard network. Customers of Citi in the UK and Paysafe will be the first to benefit. Citi and Paysafe have already begun to use the technology in the U.K., with additional markets and issuers to go live in the coming months.

Starling Bank announced its expansion into European markets after receiving its banking passport to initiate operations in the Republic of Ireland. The challenger bank has launched the UK’s first mobile-only current account and is taking advantage of its banking passport to introduce its services to Ireland. The Starling app is available on Android and iOS, and requires a valid photo ID.

The bank is able to apply for similar passports for each of the European Economic Area’s 27 member states and continue to roll out across Europe. Watch this space…

Visa Inc. announced the winners of its first European Everywhere Initiative competition, awarding a total of €100,000 to three start-ups for their successful proposals in three categories, and the opportunity work with Visa APIs in conjunction with executive mentors and technologists. Kompas won overall so their €25,000 was doubled to €50,000 but all three category winners received €25,000.

Kompas (UK) – Regional Intercity Challenge. Their “Dependable City Exploration” app uses machine learning to personalise content based on individual preferences and interests. bitemojo (Israel) – Local Community Challenge. They presented “Visa Bite”, an app that creates a self-guided food discovery experience using nothing but your smartphone.

• Fly Money (Israel) – International Travel Challenge. Their proposal provides an API to compare and select travel money solutions at the same time a consumer books a flight with a travel agent or airline.

Reaching more mobile commerce merchants was behind Visa’s announcement to buy equity in Swedish unicorn Klarna. The partnership will allow both companies to expand beyond their current markets. During the announcement held during a keynote on day two, Klarna’s chief financial officer, Michael Rouse, said the strategic alliance will allow them to “solve buying – not payments”– it’s about reducing friction points for the customer to deliver an improved customer experience, he said. Above all, Michael said that business growth is about identifying strengths and weaknesses and making adjustments accordingly. Both Jim McCarthy, executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships, Visa and Michael focused on ‘frictionless payments’ and used Uber as a good example of the direction in which companies should go. It’s about “creating next generation experiences.” Jim, who arrived like a heavyweight boxer to the keynote stage with the booming sound of Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, said we cannot underestimate the impact that our 20 billion devices is having on our lives, but especially around secure authentication. That said, he’s still firm believer in the “magic that the piece of plastics offers us.

Written by Tori Hywel-Davies

Author: Dylan Jones

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