Money20/20 Las Vegas has become a keystone event for the payments industry. Industry-changing announcements are made every year and the whole payments ecosystem comes together to stay ahead of the curve.
Zelle + The Invisible Banking App
Zelle was arguably the most talked-about announcement at Money20/20, and for good reason. It’s a money-transfer app to take on PayPal’s Venmo product. The catch is, they’re backed by Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America.
Banks have facilitated money transfers for years. In order for a customer to transfer money for free, however, the transferer and the transfer acceptee would have to be members of the same bank. Zelle solves that issue by integrating with Visa and Mastercard debit, without ties to a specific bank. Today customers can use Zelle directly within their mobile bank app. According to Lou Anne Alexander, President of Payments at the app developer Early Warning, “the Zelle app could go away at some point” if enough banks join the network.
The era of bank/fintech collaboration is here, signalling a problem for fintechs who are hoping to disrupt the big guys.
Ex-Apple CEO: Adapt or Die
Ex-Apple CEO John Sculley issued a warning to financial institutions that were taking a “wait and see” approach to fintech. He likened traditional institutions to Kodak, who dominated the photography business for years, only to be made irrelevant by the rise of digital cameras.
The warning is one that has been sounded to the financial services industry many times over the last few years. Big banks have been scrambling to digitalize, invest in fintech startups, and spin-off innovation arms. But the point seemed to resonate: if financial institutions can’t find a way to do business in a fast, digital way, they face obsolescence in the future, no matter how far away that future is.
Jack Dorsey on the Failure of EMV
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Twitter, did not mince words on his feelings toward EMV. “People aren’t happy. It’s really, really, really slow.” Square has achieved an impressive feat, processing EMV payments in 5 seconds – twice as fast as the industry average.
While security in the payments industry is non-negotiable, speed has become the number one factor in customer satisfaction. Whether that is onboarding and underwriting new merchants or providing merchants with faster payment options, it has to be secure, and it has to be fast.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) made two big headlines at Money20/20: The announcement of Bank of America’s AI-driven ‘Erica’ assistant, and the announcement of Hackathon winners ‘Clever’.
Erica is a potential game-changer for how customers interact with their bank digitally. Using cognitive messaging and AI, it searches for ways to save you money, and proactively sends you a text message to let you know about it. With a fully connected platform into all your banking accounts, it not only able to make recommendations but can implement those recommendations as well.
‘Clever’, the winners of the Money20/20 Hackathon, accomplished a similar feat on a much smaller scale for merchants, giving them the ability to ask their AI assistant questions related to their business. Clever crunches massive amounts of customer data and returns intelligent responses, allowing any merchant to get the data analysis they need from their business without being an Excel whiz.
New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence are beginning to make their way to the mainstream in financial services, all in service of making everything faster, and more intuitive.
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