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A Rocky Mountain High on Payments Innovation

rocky mountain payments innovation ACI Exchange 2018

We were so high last week; in fact, we were a figurative mile high… in sunny Denver for our annual ACI Exchange user conference. And among the myriad highs during the week was our own ‘Un-conference,’ which generated major buzz that sparked an enormous appetite for some tasty innovation. Some of the ideas generated included the following:

  • Cashless municipalities
  • Federated identity
  • Ubiquitous loyalty
  • Biometric payments (you might recall my ill-fated ‘wink-pay’ example)
  • Remote cash on delivery
  • Customer controls

Cash delivery by drone

'Cash delivery by drone' - brought to life by Rabobank.

Let’s explore a few of these, and understanding that none is fully baked, let’s see which ones are (more) budding. I’m joined by a couple of my Rantings cohorts, including Mark and Lu, who led the Un-conference.

Dan Ring: Mark, I have 2 words for you: plastics…and cashless. But let’s talk about the latter.

Mark Ranta: Ahhh the cashless society, the utopian payments paradise city, where the grass is green…

DR: Mark, focus, Cashless.

MR: Right, cashless. We talk a lot about cashless and we look at this from a lot of angles, but what we constantly come back to is that cash is expensive for the system (counter to the way it is treated sometimes in the consumer market, where you can often find a discount for using the most expensive option for the system). The issue is how do you protect the most vulnerable in the system, the underbanked and unbanked who are often the most reliant upon cash or live a cash-centric lifestyle. It is hard to truly get over that hurdle without regulatory policy; however, the value and cost savings of moving to “cashless” as an ecosystem can likely offset the cost of bringing the unbanked and underbanked into the system!

DR: Lu, talk to me about Ubiquitous Loyalty and how it ties into Customer Controls (and in this case, we’re not referring to anything GDPR-related).

Lu Zurawski: Ubiquitous Loyalty essentially means that I, as the user, want control over any and all payment types and relationships with retailers—from how I use my card to maximizing my benefits, to defining which data I am willing to expose to third parties. It’s a shift from the traditional B2C model toward a Me2B perspective, where I am the focal point, not the business.

DR: You recently uttered a phrase that piqued my interest…. Cyclical Neophilia. What’s this about?

LZ: Cyclical Neophilia refers to the repeated belief of generations that we live in uniquely transformational times, where innovative new things are appearing faster than ever before. Arguably it is a clichéd conceit, but in the world of payments, it’s actually seems to be true.

DR: Mark, we had the pleasure of spending some time with the talented and innovative folks from Rabobank. Their real-world example of Remote Cash on Delivery [video] was not only fascinating, but truly enjoyable (and special thanks to Mart, Fred and Edwin). That said, I’m conflicted about delivery via drone… maybe it’s because I’m a grumpy Gen Xer. What are your thoughts on Remote (anything) on Delivery? When and where will it take off?

MR: The idea of remote delivery is one that has been and will continue to get attention as we solve for the elusive “last mile” of the consumer experience. I think pizza delivery by drone may not be something we see any time soon, and I don’t think it would be a stretch to say drone or “autonomous” delivery models will become more normal to all of us, both in remote locations or in dense suburbs. I do think that advancements in mobile payments may make our fun experimental idea less likely to make it mainstream, but the enthusiasm around the effort will 100% lead us to ideas that will.

DR: Thanks guys… and I also want to extend thanks to our many amazing customers who descended upon Denver last week… we look forward to more fun engagement throughout the year!



Read more about the Innovation Awards, presented during ACI Exchange 2018 to customers for innovative use of ACI's portfolio of leading payment solutions.