5 Important Things You Missed at Money 20/20
LAS VEGAS — In three years, Money20/20 has become the emerging payments show. Organizers said 7,500 attendees crowded into standing-room only meeting venues at this year’s conference.
Some of the news is good. Financial institutions remain highly trusted by consumers, for instance.
Other findings might keep credit union executives up at night: The attack on interchange is only now getting serious.
Many of the conference’s highlights were critical for executives who hope to lead their financial institutions into the next decade and beyond. Here are five important points you missed if you didn't attend.
Mike Cook, a Wal-Mart SVP who is considered to be one of the most influential people in America when it comes to payments, said it best on a panel at Money20/20. He has been in payments for 20 years and said more has happened in the past year than in the prior 19.
Expect more changes and expect them to keep coming faster. From crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin to real-time payments, the changes are just beginning to become part of everyday life. But that will happen, said panelist after another, and it will happen sooner than you expect.
Millennials are driving these changes and they like mobile, real time, and don’t necessarily have nostalgia for yesteryear’s ways. That is why change will keep upending tradition.
2. The time is now for mobile wallets. Mike Abbott, the CEO of Softcard, the long-struggling mobile wallet owned by three big cellular carriers, said he is very happy for Apple Pay because the demand for mobile wallets continues to grow.
Many experts at Money20/20 said they thought the enrollment period for new financial institutions into Apple Pay will be much slower and more tedious than some credit union executives seem to believe. Others are skeptical about the number of new Apple Pay institutions in 2014.
The bottom line was there will be opportunities aplenty for mobile wallets.
For his part, Paul Fiore, CEO of CU Wallet and a Money20/20 attendee, expressed buoyant optimism about the future of the CUSO’s mobile wallet in a hallway interview with CU Times at the conference. He said he expects that 100 credit unions will be on board by the end of the year and the CUSO’s wallet will launch in the first quarter of 2015.
There also is wide belief that CurrentC, the mobile wallet issued by the Wal-Mart-led Merchant Customer Exchange, will be a powerful market force.
“Only an idiot thinks it won’t be,” said one analyst who asked for anonymity because of the harshness of his opinion.
Indeed, CurrentC will be a force when it debuts, also early in 2015, according to MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson in a Money20/20 keynote. The MCX retailers process more than $1 trillion in payments annually. To put that into perspective, there are only 15 countries that have a GDP bigger than $1 trillion.
“Interchange fees are unreasonable. It’s just moving bits and bytes,” Wal-Mart SVP Mike Cook said on a panel.
Cook also said that he was comfortable with Visa’s processing fees. It’s the interchange he wants to kill off.
A fellow panelist, Dee O’Malley, a Best Buy payments executive, made no comment in the session about Cook’s satisfaction with Visa. When CU Times stopped her at the conference to ask about Cook’s comment, she said the remark surprised her. O’Malley did not say she agreed or disagreed – just that she was surprised.
Many Money20/20 attendees said CurrentC will probably limit payments via traditional open loop credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard (with associated high interchange), so expect MCX to be a large factor in the assault on interchange.
The big merchants seem to have settled in for a long siege and there is no sign they intend to retreat.
4. Biometrics is rising. Thank Apple for this as well. Its use of TouchID fingerprint biometrics in association with Apple Pay shined a new light on the use of human markers in lieu of or to augment passwords.
Several biometrics innovators were at Money20/20 and their offerings were getting looks. The sentiment is growing that passwords may be broken.
At Boston-based BioCatch, the tagline is “the cognitive biometrics company.” Instead of focusing on fingerprints, voice or eyeball scans, which are considered to be the three dominant biometrics, BioCatch studies how a user interacts with online and mobile applications. It can tell if it’s a robot or a human attempting to access an account, Len Crosson, BioCatch vice president of sales, said in a one-on-one demonstration.
“We passively profile the user,” Crosson said.
That means your information is gathered without the need for active participation, he explained.
BioCatch analyzes how we use a mouse or trackball, how we page forward, where we click when we hit “log in” and down a long line of computer behaviors that collectively define who we are.
A number of top 15 global banks already are BioCatch customers, Crosson said, adding that the company’s per user pricing means it is not out of reach for smaller financial institutions.
Over at ValidSoft, a London-based authentication and identity service company, voice biometrics are the tool that can be integrated into a financial institution’s mobile banking app, John Petersen, head of business development, said.
Just speaking a short phrase, perhaps at a count off of a few numbers, is plenty to authenticate a user, Petersen said.
Which is better? The real takeaway was that the fight is on in biometrics, and there will likely be several tools that win wide adoption by financial institutions as password fatigue spreads and breaches multiply.
In the survey, the word “bank” was used generically. It also included credit unions.
The survey collected data from 24,335 consumers in 10 countries including the U.S, United Kingdom, and Canada.
According to Aimia, in this age of data insecurity, financial institutions ranked in the top four by a huge majority of consumers in terms of belief that they will safeguard personal data.
Some 82% of consumers trust financial institutions to safeguard their data. Supermarkets placed second at 64%. Mobile phone carriers came in third at 56% and places of work came in fourth at 50%.
“Banks are fundamentally well trusted,” Allsop said. “Financial institutions may have had tough press in recent years, but they are still trusted by consumers. The survey results are positive for financial institutions."