The future of fintech at Money20/20

The second day of Money 20/20 brought the future into focus. Everyone in the industry — startups and incumbents and anyone in between — is working feverishly to recreate a new financial services future, one that’s better for consumers and for businesses.

“More is going to change in the next two years in payments than has changed in the past decade,” said Oliver Jenkyn, EVP & Group Executive, Visa. “The decisions we make today will go a long way to shape the environment we operate in for decades to come.”

We couldn’t agree more. Oliver talked about several macro shifts that are occurring today, among them the changing customer experience at the point of sale and the decline of cash. In the U.S., Oliver said that while only 0.05 percent of face-to-face transactions are contactless, 95 percent of new terminals shipping today in the U.S. are contactless capable so he sees this as a sign of progress. He noted that other markets are far ahead of the U.S. — Australia is already at 90-plus percent of contactless transactions — and won’t look back. Related to cash, Oliver talked about the new opportunities, such as the instant payment of employees, created from the “electronification of payments.”

Likewise, Michael Abbott, Digital Lead for Financial Services at Accenture, talked about an “arms race of code” that is rewiring how people think about payments, enabling innovation and driving new user experiences. He issued a series of predictions on payments, including the importance of owning the user experience in the years ahead in order to affect customer behaviour at the point of sale and the ascendency of rewards programs. He noted that all of the growth in credit card spending since 2007 has come via rewards-related spend, a massive shift of spending.

Another prediction from today’s sessions: Everyone will eventually participate in some form of the gig economy, according to Mike Dinsdale, formerly of DoorDash. He talked about what goes into a payments solution for an on demand company that scales, is secure and real time in a panel discussion with our own CEO Jason Gardner, Toptal CEO Taso Du Val, Hyperwallet CEO Brent Warrington and Akkadian Ventures Managing Director Benjamin Black.

The very nature of on-demand companies is driving innovation in payments. Always on, real-time payment info is critical to DoorDash, as is the ability to reconcile transactions in real time. Jason, Brent and Taso discussed the importance of being able to adhere to local regulations, laws, and policies regarding the movement of money. All of the panelists also said security was a top priority.

On the mobile payments front, we attended a great discussion with Google, WalMart, Capital One and Cubic Transportation Systems.

Karla Allen, Senior Director, Mobile Wallets, at Walmart, reeled off some impressive stats related to mobile payments usage at the world’s largest retailer. Digital transactions volume is expected to double this year. Repeat usage of Walmart’s Scan & Go, which enables shoppers to pay via phone and bypass the register, is at 80 percent within 90 days and NPS is 20 percent higher for Scan & Go. She said the most important thing to Walmart is the customer need, and then figuring out a payment solution.

Spencer Spinnell, Director, Emerging Platforms for Google, said Google’s approach to Android Pay is similar across the 14 different markets around the world where Android Pay is accepted. “Using a mobile device to pay in store is good and useful, but it’s not enough,” he said. “We think about using tech to solve real consumer pain points.”

The future of tokenization came up repeatedly on Monday. Capital One’s Tom Poole, SVP of Digital Identity & Payments, said that everyone — banks, consumers, and merchants — come out ahead with tokenization. Likewise, Visa SVP Mark Nelsen, during a panel about tokenization, noting that upwards of 20 million connected devices will need to be connected to payment capabilities and tokens will be a key enabling technology to make that happen. “We’re very bullish on using tokens for connected devices,” he said.

Regarding innovation, Samsung’s Injong Rhee, CTO and EVP of Software and Services, Mobile Communications, talked about the primacy of user experience and how we’re heading to an era of multi-modal intelligent interfaces to help us interact with technologies in a more natural way.

And then in an uplifting vision, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman urged everyone in the fintech space to work together to do more for financial inclusion. “The moonshot for our industry is that we can come together to make a difference in people’s financial health.”

That’s a future we should all look forward to.

By Tracy Kraft, VP of Marketing