Digital banking, mobile wallets and biometrics: The key topics at Money 20/20 Europe

By Alara Basul | 4 July 2017

Europe’s biggest fintech event, Money 20/20, kicked off last week in Copenhagen. With more than 70 sessions across five tracks, industry leaders and senior figures from around the world came together to discuss the emerging trends in payments and the future of banking, biometrics and more.

“You don’t have to be first, you just have to be the best”

Day One of Money20/20 Europe kicked off with Jack Dorsey, CEO and Founder of Square presenting his opening keynote speech to kick-start the three-day conference. Dorsey discussed the importance of creating an effortless e-commerce experience for consumers by enabling seamless payment methods. He also discussed that executing ideas is the only way to get started in the industry. “You don’t have to be first, you just have to be the best.”

Speaking about his payments start-up Square, Dorsey focused on how digital banking will continue to transform the way a consumer manages finances: “I can’t wait for a time when plastic doesn’t exist.”

He was followed on the main keynote stage by Carlos Torres Vila, CEO of Spanish bank BBVA. Vila’s discussion focused on the way Millennials prefer to bank, and why addressing their basic banking needs is crucial. He also commented on a recent study that stated that Millennials would rather go to the dentist than go to the bank.

“People don’t like banking. They don’t like to manage their finances. They don’t dedicate time to manage their finances; it’s usually around two minutes a day. When asked, more than 70% of middle class citizens stated they should have started saving earlier. More than a third of middle class citizens don’t have the most basic financial habit-to save for an emergency.

“The best base for a business is to address a job to be done.”

Jacob De Geer, CEO of iZettle also explained that while there’s a lot of talk about the great fintech revolution, the only real global game changer today is fragmentation. And Murray Raisbeck, partner at KPMG, presented in a track session where he analysed the trends from KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report. Raisbeck stated that VC investment in Europe had a record high Q1 2017, but the US still leads the VC investments for the year.

Analysing the data from the KPMG report, Raisbeck concluded that the three trends to look out for in Europe this year are PSD2, UK Challenger banks (since 2013, 26 UK challenger banks have been given banking licenses) and Ireland as a post-Brexit hub.

Track session ‘C-Level perspectives on tomorrow’s payments landscape’ brought together senior figures from Paysafe, Currencycloud and Vocalink to discuss how competition will thrive in the payments sector with new entrants accountable for the innovation. The session focused on how customer experience is the main driver for innovation, and why challenger banks and new fintechs are raising the bar for customer expectations. No single provider can deliver universal payment solutions anymore, and the traditional value chain is being unbundled.

The customer is more powerful than the CEO

Day Two included keynote discussions from Dr Won-Pyo Hong, President of Samsung SDS, and Google’s Director of Product Management for Consumer Payments, Gerardo Capiel.

Dr Won-Pyo Hong from Samsung Pay SDS (the ICT services and solutions arm of Samsung Group), kicked off the first discussion with a distinct focus on blockchain. Hong spoke about how large-scale developments are starting to build on blockchain and move from proof of concept to real world implementations.

He stated that blockchain will become increasingly mainstream over the next year years, and is an incredibly important technology that adds value, simplifies process automation and creates business innovation.

Philippe Vallee, CEO of Gemalto NV, was next on the main stage, and analysed the payments ecosystem and main differences between banks and fintechs. Vallee discussed new research on consumers and discussed how customer loyalty is changing, with 38% of people stating they would leave their bank if another provider offered better services. 44% would also leave their bank if their bank was breached. He stressed that the industry must work together to constantly enhance the user experience without compromising security.

Gerardo Capiel of Google was interviewed by Dave Birch from Consult Hyperion on AI and machine learning technology. Capiel explained how machine learning and AI technology will be “increasingly applied to Android Pay and it is currently used to help on-board users today.

“As we get more and more into loyalty points and offers, we’ll use machine learning to recommend what loyalty programmes you may want to sign up for.” Capiel discussed how Google want to tap loyalty points and transform the retail experience.

Gemma Godfrey, CEO of Moola, also discussed the importance of understanding and listening to your customers in her closing remarks on the main stage.

“The balance of power has shifted. Who is more powerful than the CEO? It’s the customer.”

We also spoke to Curve CEO Shachar Bialick on day two of the conference to discuss his new payments start-up. Shachar stated how there’s a huge disconnect with how consumers manager money, and that “there are a ton of useful apps, but users are not aware of them.”

“The internet is borderless”

Money20/20 Europe Day Three kicked off with track sessions on the revolution of banking and new innovations that are taking over the payments industry. Topics of focus were on customer authentication, AI, the power of biometrics and how regulation is driving innovation.

Rita Liu, Head of EMEA at Alipay took the stage for her keynote presentation and spoke about how Alipay and AntFinancial are driving the trend towards a cashless lifestyle for consumers in China.

Liu pin-pointed how the fintech company are looking to expand their borders and bring the trends to new geographies. With over 450 million users in China, Alipay has been leading the development of alternative payment methods in China.

Will Gaybrick, CFO of Stripe, also presented on the main keynote stage and discussed how Stripe’s technology-focused approach is helping solve businesses’ complex financial challenges.

“By design, the internet is borderless. Commerce on the internet is a story of international marketplaces and platforms.”

The power of biometrics was also discussed heavily on Day Three. Biometrics are becoming increasingly diverse with mobile devices and IoT technologies enabling fingerprint, face, voice and iris recognition all being used for online and in person financial transaction authentication. 

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