Money20/20 - Our Top 5 reflections from the biggest fin-tech conference
Las Vegas this week played host to Money20/20, the world’s largest conference on payments and financial services innovation.
It’s a Who’s Who of FinTech, the venue for many cool product and technology launches, and an overall good time. So of course, we had to be there.
What most struck us? Here are the top reflections from WePay team members who attended:
- There’s a lot of excitement about digital wallets and how they can streamline commerce, and rightly so. Yet the world of digital wallets is becoming more and more cluttered and confused. The number of wallet providers keeps growing, and they don’t work together. (Case in point: Chase launched its new ChasePay service at the conference). We think some standardization will go a long way towards retail and consumer adoption.
- Believe it or not, not everyone is happy about the shift to EMV cards from insecure magstrips. To be sure, folks agreed it’s a material step towards better card-present fraud protection. But retailers also worry their holiday sales might take a hit because transactions now take much longer to complete. And longer-term, many see NFC and digital wallets making EMV obsolete.
- Bitcoin is yesterday’s news, laden with baggage… but the underlying Blockchain infrastructure has a future ahead of it.
- After years of beating the drum about the importance of risk technology, this year we were delighted to find the message is starting to be heard. There was near universal agreement that there’s great benefit in data-informed risk management. Interestingly, there’s still a divide between those who buy in to protect from downside (fraud) vs. those who buy in because they see additional upside (better user experiences, less payment friction, lower card decline rates, etc.).
- Like everywhere else, FinTech leaders are obsessed with the success of consumer platforms Airbnb and Lyft, and are looking to them for inspiration around frictionless payments. (It was great to discuss this very topic on a panel with Airbnb and Lyft execs).
Additional observations of note:
- You’d expect some healthy tension at the intersection of traditional finance and modern technology. This year, the open criticism seemed especially elevated. It appeared to us that many technology players are growing frustrated with the slow pace of change in the industry, and weary of incumbent bankers’ explanations for why this is so.
- Poynt’s smart terminal was the coolest new hardware at the show. It looks good and demos brilliantly. (Full disclosure: Poynt founder/CEO Osama Bedier is on the WePay board).
- After a half-week in Vegas, there’s truly no place like home.