Couldn’t make it to Money 20/20 USA?

Feel like you did with this Q&A with Split’s CEO, Kristofer Rogers..

What’s your main take away in 25 words or less?

Payments are cool again…

What was your overall take away from Money 20/20 US in 2019?

With such a large event – more than 10,000 delegates and so many content streams – it’s impossible to take it all in. But, focussing on the keynotes and major announcements, innovation in payments is moving faster than ever – things have stepped up a gear in 2019. So it’s not just about innovation, it’s the speed at which it’s happening.

And with banks looking at tech, big tech exploring financial services, and then FinTechs innovating at a faster pace around the peripheral, it very much feels like everyone is in the game and there has never been a more exciting time of such significant change in the payments landscape.

What was Split’s experience at Money 20/20?

After being a global ‘FinTech’ to watch in 2018 as part of the Rise Up program, 2019 was more about furthering the partnerships we established then. Split were an exhibitor this year and we had a series of very exciting meetings on site. Given we combine Open Banking with Real-Time Payments, our capability was very relevant to the banks, merchants, and financial institutions we met with.

We are exploring a US market launch in early 2020, and many of the meetings we had were about this opportunity, so watch this space…

What were some of the key themes at this years event?

Consistent with most events across the globe in 2019, there was a lot of content and voice around collaboration, coordination and partnerships. This was certainly more prominent as a theme amongst the regulatory bodies and federal agencies that presented at this year’s Money 20/20.

There is definitely an increased appetite for partnerships and collaboration between financial institutions and FinTechs. Reading in between the lines, this is being driven as much by availability of talent as it is by adopting an innovation agenda. Several banks commented that attracting the right tech talent was a challenge when they naturally gravitate towards companies with a better cultural fit and indeed an ability to rapidly innovate.

I picked up a lot of talk around globalisation and scale. Influenced by the aggressive pace of technological change, several speakers were exploring global omni-commerce solutions, and the big banks are certainly prioritising this too.

Another interesting thread explores platformication – How do we build financial services in to digital platforms. Financial services in the future will be embedded within marketplaces and ecosystems, but still need to perform an important role around security and trust.

Speaking of innovation, what were the key technical themes in 2019?

The overarching theme was customer service, and ways in which it can be improved with better tech. This resonates with me, in the digital era banks are being forced to re-evaluate how they service customers. According to Patrick Gauthier, Vice President at Amazon Pay, ‘speed, simplicity, convenience, and connection are essential to successfully engage with our customers in the moments that matter to them’. I think that comment was very pertinent. He argues that we are at an inflection point where devices and technology services that we use, are becoming fluent in our language. This changes the way in which we interact with technology and, the way in which we ‘buy’. He focussed on ‘voice’ in his keynote, but it was consistent across many sessions – the idea of better interaction.

Of course, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning featured greatly. To me, the true innovation here is being able to use data to drive better decisioning – wether it’s big data or little data – so it’s exciting to see where AI can make a difference here.

Lastly, what is the future of payments?

One of the biggest discussions taking place at this years event was Real-Time Payments. Peter Hazlehurst, Head of Payments at Uber, says real-time payments was critical to cater for real-life challenges their drivers face. They used Money 20/20 to launch ‘Real-Time Earnings’ – At the end of every trip, money is deposited in to their bank account using a debit card framework – almost like ‘digital cash’ – i.e. being able to access cash immediately. Ultimately, for Uber, It’s about ‘access’.

eBay, the $100 billion marketplace, have prioritised payments innovation as a vital part of their strategy to ultimately improve the experience for buyers and sellers. Alyssa Cutright, Chief of Payments at eBay (and an early staffer at PayPal too), ran through how they are bringing their payments ecosystem in-house by building a managed payments platform for buyers. They’re open to partnerships to access the very best technology in their markets, which was consistent across the board at Money 20/20.

Several keynoters, including Kathleen Kraninger, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the US, focussed on a golden age for financial consumers. This is being driven by innovation – making services less expensive, more accessible and easier to use. The challenge, according to Ms. Kraninger, is the speed at which innovation is taking place. The CFPB have recently issued their Innovation Policies to give FinTechs and traditional institutions the opportunity to engage with them to explore innovations with a regulatory lens.