5 Things You Missed at Finovate
Sixty eight demos.
Seven minutes each.
That was the formula for the two-day Finovate financial technology show, held this year in a sweltering San Jose, Calif. at the City National Civic Auditorium.
Some presentations fizzled. But from a topless ATM — you read that right — to simple tools for improved credit card control and management, crowd favorites emerged that may hint at fintech’s future direction.
Here are five Finovate facts you need to know.
Read more: Best of biometrics ...
In a biometrics face-off between the Kansas City, Kan.-based EyeVerify and the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based NICE Systems, the Sunflower State won. EyeVerify’s eyeball verification technology was recognized as a Finovate Best of Show, beating out NICE System’s voice authentication system.
The top seven showcase winners, based upon votes from attendees, were crowned Best of Show. The award was presented in alphabetical order.
EyeVerify uses an eyeball vein scan, via a smartphone camera, to authenticate a user. At Finovate, CEO Toby Rush demonstrated a photo of the correct eyeball would not trick the system. Only the real eye won entry to the account.
EyeVerify proved to be the crowd favorite at Finovate, at least in the biometrics shoot out.
Read more: Card control for kids and seniors ...
Stepped Up Credit Card Controls
Two companies at Finovate presented dramatically increased abilities to control where and how debit cards are used: True Link from San Francisco and Ondot Systems from San Jose, which also won Best of Show.
Rachna Ahlawat, an Ondot vice president, said in an interview with CuTimes, the firm’s technology gives consumers wide ability to turn a particular payment card on or off, to restrict its geographical use, and even to block certain categories of purchases, such as liquor stores for young adults using mom or dad’s card.
“Ondot is particularly interesting to families with dependents using family cards,” Ahlawat said. Cards given to caregivers with responsibility for aging seniors also drew interest.
The core pitch is that with Ondot, a consumer can change a card’s settings to fit changing needs. Going to Europe tomorrow? Turn on foreign charges, and then turn them off a week later upon your return.
It’s all do-it-yourself, Ahlawat said.
Ondot is currently available only through participating financial institutions. Ahlawat said six are already live.
She also said CO-OP Financial Services in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is a live processor that can turn Ondot on for a credit union in a week.
Read More: Wearables are ready for prime time ...
The short Fiserv presentation loudly made one point: So-called wearable computers may be ready for prime time, at least for some functions, and with some demographic segments.
Fiserv executive Andrew Barnett, senior mobile solutions consultant, wore Google Glass, the computer embedded in a pair of glasses. During his presentation, without much ado, he proceeded to buy a pricey pair of Nike sneakers using Google Glass.
His account balance displayed on the glass, which was projected into a large screen so the audience could see what he saw on the device.
When he bought the shoes, his balance dipped below $700, a threshold he had previously set. That triggered a low account balance notification sent to his Samsung Smart Watch, which beeped when it was received.
Wearable computers won’t soon be used for personal financial management, but for easy tasks, like making a purchase, checking an account balance and receiving notification of account activities.
Wearables already can get a lot done, and the sheer tech coolness they embody may attract a passionate user base, at least for the right institution.
Fiserv is developing tools for Google Glass, and others are in that race. There is no shortage of possibilities for putting financial services on a wearable smart device.
Read more: The Latch Key generation grown up ...
The choices are tough: Should I rent or buy? How much life insurance is right? What would a shrewd retirement plan look like?
Asking experts, like family members or perhaps credit union staff, for advice was the traditional path.
But a new DIY generation has arrived. And for them, New York-based SmartAsset may be the solution.
At Finovate, CEO Michael Carvin showed how, with the input of very little personal data by the user, SmartAsset - will guide the consumer to good answers.
That’s because SmartAsset is built around intelligent screens.
“Our answers are based on real data and real analysis,” said Carvin, who added the company’s website, now augmented by a new mobile app, served around 500,000 users in April. And, he said the user base is growing by 50% each month.
SmartAsset tools are available on a white label basis, meaning they would be branded with the credit union’s name, with no links to SmartAsset.
“That is something to watch,” said a credit union executive in the audience.
It can be hard for credit unions to cost effectively provide good financial advice. For those institutions that want to help, but face budget constraints, a toolbox like SmartAsset may be a winner.
Read more: Like shooting fish in a barrell ...
Put a vivacious, attractive, blond Ukrainian woman in a red dress on the Finovate stage, have her crack jokes about a topless ATM, and you have a winning formula for Best in Show. PrivatBank, a Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, based developer of an ATM alternative, built with minimal technology (an Android phone, NFC, a cheap Raspberry Pi processor) won for that offering.
Oh, and it has no top, said Kristina Chaiykovskaya, deputy head of e-business for PrivatBank.
By that, she meant it does not need a screen.
Or a keypad.
To get cash, consumers use their phones to communicate with the PrivatBank device, which typically will sit in an office lobby or a department store retail floor.
Input the right code and the device will spit out money.
However, the PrivatBank test device did not perform on stage.
First it was snagged in U.S. Customs, so it was a day late arriving. When it did, PrivateBank discovered it was damaged in transit.
No matter. The PrivatBank presenters soldiered on, laughed, and won the hearts of an audience that probably also took into consideration current civil disorder headlines from Ukraine.
Maybe the time is now to rethink ATMs. In lots of ways, they look and act much like they did in the late 1970s, when they first rolled out in large numbers.
Now, Chaiykovskaya said, is the time for topless ATMs.
Let the revolution begin.