Monday, November 4, 2019
Technology startups and legacy brands gathered Oct. 27 to 30, 2019, at the Las Vegas Sands Expo and Convention Center for Money20/20 USA. This year’s theme, Journey to the Future of Money, was reflected in more than 500 presentations, networking meet-ups and trending hashtags #Money2020 and #Money2020USA. The conference drew more than 2,300 senior executives and 3,400 companies, according to event organizers.
Designed to stimulate connections, insight and growth, the event provided a platform for speakers and attendees to examine a “faster, smoother, more connected money ecosystem,” organizers stated. The ambitious agenda, aimed at consolidating the entire commerce value chain, provided numerous examples of how technologies are reshaping the customer experience. Ralph F. Martinez, head of ACH sales at transmodus, doing business as linked2pay, observed a diversity of perspectives about how to make money faster, more secure, engaging, seamless, global and transparent. “From small to giant brands, panel discussions and keynotes reflected a healthy sense of competition,” he said. “The common conference theme is that the consumer is king!”
Craig Ramsey, head of real-time payments at ACI Worldwide, said, “Digital products, layered over real-time payment rails, will give banks more reasons to use real-time payments. Solutions include request for payment, merchant engagement and mobile phone manufacturers plans to embed real-time payment initiation services into the phone.”
It’s not just success examples that we are studying, Ramsey added, but less successful examples that can help service providers identify areas of interest and avoid time-wasters. Swift compliance, Fed wire standards, changes in public mindset and continuing cooperation among industry stakeholders will continue to take quite a bit of effort, he noted.
Mike Camerling, CEO at AEVI, said bank and processors, working together, can help businesses accelerate payment flows. “By looking beyond payments, they can help businesses run more efficiently and add value to differentiate,” he said. “We’re seeing a power shift as merchants take control and enable the journey for their customers. Traditional estate management tools no longer suffice in a new generation of endpoints and applications.”
“Standardizing and automating billing procedures have fundamentally changed merchant and customer relationships,” said Thomas Aronica, CEO at Biller Genie. “Automated accounting systems can streamline workflows, reducing costs and improving customer experience. And this enterprise-level business logic is finally available to the small and midsize business community.”
While advanced technologies transform consumer engagement, they also create broader attack surfaces for fraudsters, security analysts have noted. A variety of subscription-based services are helping networks monitor, detect and remediate malware, ransomware, new account fraud and emerging attack vectors.
“Consumers share data to get a more personalized experience,” said Steve Shaw, senior vice president marketing at ARM Insight Inc. “By creating synthetic data, processors and financial institutions can derive valuable customer insights while protecting customers and remaining compliant.”
Tim Bedard, director, security product marketing at OneSpan, observed more identity-specific providers at Money20/20, compared to the previous year. Many are implementing machine learning and artificial intelligence to authenticate applicants and stop new account fraud at the front door, he noted. “Not all existing processes are optimized for all channels,” he said. “Establishing better audit trails and checks and balances will protect against application fraud, improve efficiencies and create a better customer experience.”
David Andre, senior vice president, risk and fraud, TSYS, said, “This is where we start applying advanced learning to the user journey.” Authentication platforms, operating at scale and complying with regulatory requirements, automate best practices and protect against numerous forms of fraud. Collaborating with specialists, as TSYS has done with the TSYS Authentication Platform, can help service providers identify vulnerabilities while providing a seamless customer experience.
“The only thing that is growing faster than ecommerce is ecommerce fraud,” commented Ron Hynes, CEO at Vesta. “I take fear of fraud off the table by enhancing approvals and guaranteeing payments. Anyone can stop fraud by stopping transactions, but managing fraud that way creates lost revenue that can be 2 to 4 times greater than your fraud problem.”
Robert Capps, vice president, marketplace innovation at NuData Security, a Mastercard company, also noticed a spike in new account fraud, but was encouraged by innovative exhibits at the conference. “I saw customer experience-driven new account authentication technology and had great conversations with CEOs who are innovating in the space,” he said. “It makes me believe we have a solid path forward to secure identity authentication.”
“UBER made a profound impact on payments,” said Rich Arundel, co-founder and general manager, North America at Currencycloud. “Using a mobile app to travel and transact in-app, online and in-store, was a disruptive concept and business model that created more consumer-led companies and ultimately, the digital transformation of the consumer.”
Rachna Ahlawat, co-founder, Ondot Systems Inc., agreed that mobile technologies have fundamentally changed commerce. “Mobile has its own requirements for testing, functionality and user experience,” she said. “Technology companies have raised the bar for any company that issues a credit card. Self-service features, card-based features and digital card issuance with KYC are pushed into the digital wallet.”
“There is tremendous competition in the therapeutics space,” said Ted Kao, general manager, payment and data platforms at HintMD, a payments solution for the aesthetics industry. “Service providers want to provide easier more frictionless payment methods; payment facilitation helps build a better customer experience,” he said.
Dinesh Saparamadu, founder of Applova Inc., is seeing more growth in self-service venues, which he believes will be a big trend as merchants face labor shortages and increases in minimum wages. End-to-end solutions that connect menu boards and kitchen and public displays reduce friction and wait times, he stated. “Data analytics bring additional insights to restaurant owners, helping them identify peak times, popular items and returning customers,” he added.
Andrey Tikhonov, CEO at Advanced Mobile Payment Inc., pointed out that new self-service solutions are leapfrogging over legacy technologies. In today’s payments ecosystem, service is everything. On-the-spot enrollment, recurring bill payments, real-time delivery services and next-generation unattended solutions enrich the payments experience. “Their capabilities create a platform for innovative new use cases, limited only by the imagination,” he said.
Cross-border commerce was examined in multiple conference tracks. The Alternative Lending and Credit segment included “Credit Beyond Borders: How to Serve the World’s Moving Population.” Sara Milsten, senior vice president, new member acquisition at American Express and Sarah Davies, head of risk and analytics at Nova Credit, explained how their companies partnered to solve credit issues in the global business community. People who follow their jobs to other regions should be able to take their credit histories with them, they stated.
“When applying for credit, the most important aspect of your financial identity is your credit history and that is left behind [when you move to a new country],” Milsten said. “Denying credit is bad for visitors and the U.S. economy.”
Nick Catino, head of public policy, Americas, at TransferWise, provided additional perspective on cross-border commerce in a Payments & Commerce Innovation Track workshop, sharing his vision of money without borders. “Open banking, if done correctly, can improve the customer experience,” he said.
“Cross-border commerce is becoming more global because it’s way too painful to get money across borders,” stated Pranav Sood, vice president international expansion at GoCardless. “Merchants and consumers need localization of checkout flow and an integrated checkout experience.”
OB Rawls IV, CEO, global payment processing at Paysafe Group, has seen payments evolve from converting merchants from paper to electronic transactions, through Y2K conversions to a new age of game-changing technology disruption. “It’s all about platforms that deliver information to small and midsize enterprises that help them manage their businesses,” he said. “We’re moving from an industry of products and services into cumulative offerings that help businesses stay in business longer and help us stay in business longer.”
Jim Oberman, CEO at Payroc LLC and Integrity Payment Systems LLC, said ISVs and ISOs are looking for nimble processors to do payments for them so that they can focus on software. As midsize sales groups look for ways to be part of something bigger and better, it will create another layer of consolidation in the industry. “Our vision is to serve traditional ISOs, agents and referral banks while complementing their strategy of high-growth,” he said.
On his way to the conference, Vijay Sondhi, CEO at NMI, reflected on the changing acquiring landscape. Banks are beginning to view the merchant account as the demand deposit account of small business. For example, banks that own a merchant account can control funds flow and everything else a merchant may need. As banks tool up, ISOs need to prepare for a new battleground, he stated.
“As a processor-agnostic service provider, our company is well positioned to give ISOs the tools and weapons to fight that war,” Sondhi added. His driver asked if Money20/20 pertained to investment strategies and how individuals can maximize wealth. He replied, “We’re just the plumbers, the people who make sure the money keeps moving.”
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