Looking back on a year of evolution at Marqeta in Europe

 

If the public health crisis of 2020 accelerated the adoption of digital payments, then what should we remember 2022 for?

At Marqeta Europe, we’ve been looking back at the year in an attempt to draw out some of the big themes in the world of financial services innovation. Here’s what we found.

In-person events thankfully became a thing again and it’s been hugely positive to be able to meet our peers face to face, as well as online. On that note, in March this year the conversation around Lending 3.0 pivoted from a digital forum to the real world, with Marqeta’s sponsorship of Fintech Talents’ highly successful Lending 3.0 event in London.

Lending 3.0 goes from strength to strength

In fact, lending proved an ever-important theme in 2022, particularly thanks to the continued evolution of buy now, pay later. A key development has been the growing interest among traditional financial institutions and retailers, who are looking to grow their own share of the market and. consumers who see the convenience and value this form of payment enables.

In June, our London team hopped across the English Channel to attend Money 20/20 in Amsterdam and launch our newest research paper about how consumers are engaging with Lending 3.0. Insights included: an appetite for lending products that used digital currencies and assets as collateral; demand for lenders to offer an experience on a par with modern current accounts; and growing desire to see finance make a positive impact on society.

Digital currencies weather the storm

Interest in decentralised finance or DeFi has also exploded this year, with Fintech Talents’ DeFi event in July attracting hundreds of delegates keen to learn about the emerging financial foundations that offer the potential to disrupt relationships between service providers and end users, by giving greater control to individuals.

However, as 2022 progressed it became clear that it wasn’t quite going to be the year many cryptocurrency innovators would have hoped for. The much-discussed ‘crypto winter’ has inevitably created uncertainty about the pace of digital currency adoption by mainstream society. Inside the sector, though, the commitment to innovation in this space remained undimmed.

Staying with Fintech Talents, the annual Festival in London in November showcased the best of financial services innovation, with a clear trend towards greater collaboration between traditional banks and tech startups. Marqeta’s stand in the main festival hall became quite a focal point and a place to meet up and talk innovation. At the end of the Festival’s first day, Marqeta also staged a VIP dinner for peers across the UK and Europe, featuring a guest speaker in the form of urbanist Adam Greenfield, who got everyone thinking about the role AI might play in their professional lives.

A packed thought leadership programme sets the agenda

In addition to participating in industry events, Marqeta also continued its own thought leadership activity with the ever popular API Chronicles livestreams, which touched on topics ranging from financial inclusion and internationalisation to youth cards and greenfield banking. There has also been a stream of blogs about everything from embedded finance to virtual cards.

Marqeta’s Europe team, based in London, also evolved significantly in 2022 to meet growing demand from a broader range of partners across the region and beyond. On that, it was exciting to forge relationships with new partners including Western Union and Raiffeisen Bank on innovations in international payments and banking.

Another part of Marqeta’s evolution in 2022 involved the recruitment of our new Managing Director, International, Jeff Parker, who brings with him over 20 years’ experience in the financial services space. Jeff, who is tasked with developing Marqeta at international level, hit the ground running and within weeks of onboarding he was on the stage taking part in panel sessions at Fintech Talents Festival, as well as giving interviews to sector media.

Expect to see further growth in the Marqeta Europe team in the coming months. As for the question of what 2022 will be remembered for, the crypto winter is sure to loom large and it may be some time before a thaw gets underway.

However, the other big theme likely to leave a lasting impression is the increased collaboration between incumbent financial players and tech startups.

All of which sets the stage for a fascinating 2023.