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A Postcard from Money20/20

Greetings from Las Vegas. By the time this note finds you, I will be back at my desk pouring over my follow-up notes from another crazy, wonderful, insightful and totally exhausting Money20/20. The event itself has grown to become the annual ‘must-attend’ on the financial technology schedule, and this year’s event didn’t disappoint with new attendees, old friends and an agenda that kept you on your feet for 4 days (and nights).

This year’s event covered everything under the sun in our market, and featured over 450 speakers (including yours truly and my Rantings partner Dan Ring), but there were four main themes that stuck out to me as driving a vast majority of the conversations.

Money20/20’s Four Themes:

 

Convergence

In nearly every discussion I had this week, the conversation at one point or another talked about how the payments ecosystem is changing, and for me, the best word that can be used to describe this change is convergence. I am not just talking about payment types, though that’s a big part of it. The convergence is in the market segments, the consumer interaction channels, and the value propositions being brought to market. Everyone in the value chain wants to talk from the client experience layer, all the way through the interaction, to the execution (and settlement) of the transaction.

The best analogy I have heard, and have used myself, to describe this phenomenon of the new payments ecosystem is imagining a swimming pool with lane lines keeping everyone in their lane suddenly no longer having lane lines. Everyone is looking for full visibility and access to the data through the entire value chain; whether it’s a consumer proposition or a corporate proposition.

 

Real Time (Everything)

You couldn’t get far without talking or hearing about real-time payments. While this trend was more under the surface than others, it certainly was showing its reach. Keeping pace with the speed of payments (or trying to get ahead of them) was driving the fraud and AI conversations I saw and heard. And making those payments faster, cheaper and more ‘open’ were the primary discussions we were having on the consumer and corporate proposition side. Having access to real-time data was a key talking point on my panel from a treasury perspective. Real time won’t necessarily get the headlines from the show, but it wasn’t far from any discussion.

 

Digital Identity and Authentication

I’m going to put these two together because they are intertwined. If you were to walk around the show floor, you probably noticed the same thing as I did identification and authentication services are hot right now. As the payments ecosystem continues its sprint towards being almost entirely digital, there is a real world need to make sure those interactions are secure. Whether it’s using a user’s biometric print or new encryption options, real-time payments creates a new need and market opportunity for services that prove you are who you say you are and have given the requisite permission to initiate the transaction in question (all in real time). Dan’s wink payments may be coming to fruition!

 

Digital Channels and APIs

If you turn back the clocks to the very first Money20/20, the conversations around the digital channels were all around “omni-channel strategy.” The term at that point was focused on how to create a seamless experience at your branch, online and in the newly-emerging mobile channel. That conversation continues today; however, it has evolved into a discussion that goes way beyond the bank-owned interaction channels and screens. Platform banking and making API services available to the widest audience possible is a key trend in the banking space right now. How wide an audience you are looking to reach, and how broad that catalogue of services is, are open topics at most – if not all – banks globally. But having an intertwined channel and API strategy is no longer just an option, it’s becoming the market standard.

I hope everyone who was in Las Vegas enjoyed the show as much as I did. Looking forward to seeing you all again in 360ish days!