It was all change for Money 20/20 Europe this year, with a move from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. Both cities are great, so there’s parity in that respect, but how did the two shows differ? I think the venue and layout is much better in Amsterdam, particularly for the expanded roster of exhibitors. The food was better, too, and so were the parties! Although there is a certain irony in that, at one of the world’s biggest payments events, I barely spent a cent.
But let’s get a little more serious and think about the progress we’ve made as an industry over the last year. To try and bring some structure, I’ve rummaged out my blog from last year’s event in Copenhagen. Let’s compare.
- From payments to banking. Last year, one of my key takeaways was the need for more value in the various ‘Pays’ to drive adoption. I still think they need to solve the engagement angle to make me want to use them and, as someone who has been pushing the mobile wallet story for a decade now, this is rather disappointing. I think we can all agree that mobile wallets have not yet delivered on their considerable hype, but the dialogue shifted this year with PSD2’s focus on banking. PSD2 has not just shone a light on how the fintechs are trying to add value to consumers, it has reignited the discussion about how we protect data and authenticate users. This is reflected in several of the discussions that I had on the floor of the show, with many banks seeking to raise their game to protect themselves and their customers.
- Invisible, seamless, frictionless [insert synonym here] payments. How many times did you see or hear those words at the show? As with last year, there is still a huge drive to push the ‘payment’ into the background to give users a better experience (definitely not to encourage them to spend more..!). While the retailers weren’t really out in force at the show, there was a lot of discussion around the vision for next gen commerce, whether that’s online with initiatives like 3DS 2.0, Secure Remote Commerce or tokenization, or in-store with Amazon Go and scan-and-go payments. Payment simplification is leading to decreased dropout rates, while better authentication of both users and transactions is going to be central to adoption.
- PIN on glass/mobile. One year on from Copenhagen and the concept of PIN on mobile is more common parlance than snazzy concept. With specs from PCI published in February and vendor announcements following, it seems there is now genuine movement. There are still some challenges to be solved though, and not just technically speaking. Culturally, there will be behavioral hurdles to overcome. Would you be comfortable tapping your PIN into a slightly battered smartphone when you pay for your sandwich? I’m not sure that I would be just yet. It is going to be very interesting to see how quickly people get comfortable with PIN on mobile. There is no point having a technology if the public reject it. We, as an industry, must carefully consider the education process here. Solutions must be ready for prime time before they are released into the wild as, if there are a few high-profile compromises, the concept could be done for before it gets started. Hardware-backed security on devices will be key; trusted execution environment (TEE) technology can both protect the data on the device and the user’s interaction with it. We look forward to working on this in more detail in the coming months. So keep an eye on the blog, as I’m sure we will have more to say!
- IoT, AI, ML. It’s buzzword bingo time again…! Once more there was a big focus on IoT and automation, but it was great to see the narrative progress from PoCs and theory to how it can be implemented securely, sustainable and, importantly, responsibly. Of course, the uses of AI and ML are many and wide ranging, but it seems many companies were treating it less like a silver bullet and more like a technology that can play a significant role if sprinkled in the right areas.
- Blockchain is still a thing! Of course it is, but this year I think it actually warrants talking about. Events like this have been banging on about the chain for years, but this year it felt real. In previous years, I’d go to presentations and see demos and come away feeling a little dirty. There was a lot of smoke and mirrors and people were guarded about the nuts and bolts. This year we were seeing actual solutions that bring value. People were not just talking about the blockchain, but rather the specific use of it for the benefit of a use case / implementation / customer etc. And, what was doubly interesting, was the protection of it. Increasingly, the industry is happy with the distributed model, but is more cognizant of how to protect the value and satellite services. Progress indeed!
So, a big ‘dank je’ from to everyone that came to see us! It was a very productive show. But what were your highlights?