Money 20/20 day two: adoption of digital banking, omnichannel payments and Star Wars

By Vicky Beckett | 24 October 2017

It’s clear that mobile-first consumers are leading the industry and revolutionising retail banking and personal finances.

New companies are constantly challenging incumbent banks by providing specialised digital solutions such as budgeting, easy wealth management and payment habits that allow a consumer to easily track their finances.

In a panel talk on voice payments, panellists Brian Roemmele from Multiplex and Rami Thabet from RBC spoke on the adoption of why voice payments are quickly transforming the industry with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s assistant.

Voice payments have gone from an idea to a reality, with millions already speaking commands to repay friends, pay bills and to shop online. Thabet added that RBC customers can use their voice to pay for a utility bill.

“Voice has to fit naturally into your day-to-day life,” comments Thabet.

According to a Business Intelligence survey, 9% of consumers have made voice payments, and the percentage is likely to grow significantly once voice payments become more mainstream.

For wider mainstream adoption, panellists agreed that voice payments integration needs to start with the idea of finding what you want to do, such as buying an item or paying for a utility bill.

Brian Roemmele said that AI will become “the electricity” of the payments industry in upcoming years. He added that businesses and retailers need to analyse Amazon and how it has transformed the retail experience.

“Brand, voice and personality are going to become key in payments,” adds Roemmele.

Addressing financial inclusion

Next up was the highly anticipated keynote speaker Dan Schulman, who took the main keynote stage and was introduced by Money20/20 Managing Director Tracey Davies.

Schulman began his keynote speech with a humble and honest manner: “Over 2 billion people live outside the financial services industry.

“In the US, there are 70 million people outside the financial services industry. It’s expensive to be poor – this is very true in the financial services industry.”

The PayPal Chief Executive believes that new partnerships across the financial ecosystem are the key element to building an inclusive economy around the world. He continued on the importance of collaboration between industry players and stated that PayPal aims to be an alley in the industry, and not a ‘frenemy’ (his own words!).

He continued: “Driving towards financial inclusion and financial health as an industry is not something we should embrace, but lead.”

“I don’t believe that anyone can address the industry issues alone – this needs to be a partnership.”

Schulman shared his thoughts on why fostering economic opportunity for every business around the globe is not only the biggest challenge facing our industry but also our greatest responsibility.

Omnichannel doughnuts

A panel of payments experts from companies including Wendy’s Company and Doughnut company Dunkin’ discussed payments innovation in the quick-service restaurant industry.

All panel agreed that forcing a payments solution down consumers throats is not the answer, rather businesses need to offer a variety of payment methods.

Sherrill Kaplan, Vice President of Digital Marketing and Innovation at Dunkin’ Brands, argued that being payment ‘agnostic’ would be the ideal state which could be achieved through omnichannel payments systems.

However, she noted: “this is certainly not a treasury answer.” Denis Bouchard, Head of Payments at The Wendy’s Company, said that payment decisions are, “always treasury versus marketing”.

Bouchard added: “As cool as payments is, it is really about interaction with the consumer.

“As a business, we don’t touch all the consumers ourselves so we need to create partnerships with those who engage with a wider range of consumers.

“If someone goes to Dunkin’ every day, but Wendy’s once a week, we want that experience and knowledge to spill over t0 us so that the consumer can get the optimum experience,” he explained.

Kaplan said: “Our next big frontier is how do we create the same level of payment convenience to our drive through customers.”

The force (of data) be with you

The next session was less conventional. It had a Star Wars and Star Trek theme with Yoda t-shirts being handed out on entry, Darth Vader made an appearance and the speakers concluded with a lightsaber battle.

Bruce Parker, Modo CEO, and Sheryl McKenzie, Vice President of Marketing for Alliance Data, hosted the session, announcing their new partnership in which Alliance Data's card services business will be used to leverage Modo's payment event data service to improve the checkout experience and provide more loyalty rewards to consumers.

This is intended to accelerate innovation and increase interoperability with retailers.

McKenzie argued this would boost retailer’s profits as statistics show 77% of online cart orders are abandoned.

She argued that 80% of these abandoned orders are due to payments friction.

“We believe that when we focus on taking the friction out of payments, we will really increase the number of sales for a brand,” said McKenzie.