My Time At Money 20/20

By Will Parrott, Senior Account Manager

What do national security SMS alerts, avian stage intruders and monsoons have in common?

They all happened at Europe’s largest fintech event!

We are (of course) talking about Money 20/20 Europe, which I flew out to sunny Amsterdam to attend on behalf of Propeller. It’s the seminal event of the year for those working across the payments sector where delegates can bolster existing partnerships and build new ones, both officially on the vast exhibition floor and unofficially at the raucous evening events.

Japanese card scheme and Propeller client JCB was out again in full force, hosting a fireside chat with new promotional partner, Value Retail, the owner of Bicester Village and a number of similar shopping villages globally. Parallels were drawn between the payments and retail networks, notably the need to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving marketplace, an area where high street banks and brick-and-mortar retailers are both feeling the squeeze.

There was a general sense this year that the discussion moved away from future-gazing hype (ahem…blockchain), a common trait of tech events in any sector, towards the actual impact of new technology on the end consumer. From fraud and compliance firms to PSPs to banks, the industry is very much focused on working together practically to understand and embrace regulation like PSD2 and Open Banking – ever the hot topics – in order to benefit real people.

Perhaps the collaborative vibe is influenced from the top down, as start-up services start to empathise with established brands due to the issues presented by fast growth, whilst legacy players race to modernise ahead of the September PSD2 deadline. Regardless of such deadlines, the industry is realising that it may take a while for any benefits to be felt by the consumer.

What came across strongly is that payments remains a hugely relevant part of the consumer journey. Amazon Pay used its keynote slot to promote the potential of voice payments, likening the impact of voice tech on payments to ecommerce on traditional retail. It’s all exciting stuff, but it feels like adoption is a long way off and everyone else in the payments industry can rest easy…for the time being.

We look forward to seeing what Money 20/20 2020 has in store for its eponymous year and how Ascential deal with the optic naming challenge.