Money20/20 Europe 2021 – key highlights and insights from leading experts

Thursday 14 October 2021 13:10 CET | Editor: Oana Ifrim | Interview

David Birch, Consult Hyperion: How would I sum up Money20/20 in Amsterdam this year? Well, first of all: it was a terrific event and I take my hat off to their team for getting it off the ground in very difficult circumstances.

As for the key messages, Dave Cunningham summed up the situation very well, saying that a lot of the problems in Financial Services are ‘not even close to being solved’. He specifically highlighted the range of identity issues and the continuing increase in fraud and financial crimes of all kinds, a concern reflected (to me, at least) in the number of stands that were about identity rather than payments. Pretty soon they will have to start calling it Identity20/20 because, as we all know, if we solve the identity problem then we solve the payments problem…

As for some specific topics that caught my eye, I have to start with Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). This had shot up the agenda from last year and with many central banks actively investigating the possibilities, a great many financial intermediaries must be thinking about their strategic responses. I had several interesting conversations at the event that left me feeling that both the understanding of the subject and the strategic options are underdeveloped.

There were lots of people talking about APIs and the embedded finance thread was strong (remember after Visa buying Tink, Mastercard had bought Aiia, who were also there) and the use of payments and other APIs to give access to financial services in non-traditional financial settings will undoubtedly change how many people do business. I can’t help but feel that embedded is heading to the mainstream and the brand context for transactions will be a key area for discussion next year.

Several people commented on the lack of ‘legacy providers’ at the show. Obviously much of this was to do with virus travel policies but I did hear comments that perhaps the incumbents didn’t have much new to offer and, while harsh, it may be true that the press releases around the (n+1)th bank/fintech partnerships are of limited interest to the people looking to the future of payments.

Talk about payments, Thought Machine were prominent at the event and used the opportunity to announce their deal with JPMorgan Chase at the show.  (JPMorgan Chase is deploying a new, cloud-based core system for its retail bank using Thought Machine’s software). This was a pretty significant and indicative of how the old systems are finally being bypassed.

Another comment from I heard in different forms was that the ‘challenger banks’ (I always thought this was the wrong word) have become so big that they risk losing their essence as culture is hard to maintain and people move on. To the new generation of innovators, Monzo and PayPal have the same locus as Barclays and ABN Amro.

Finally, it was noticeable that the sheer amount of money pouring into the sector remains astonishing.  Multimillion dollar/euro investments and multibillion dollar/euro valuations are almost commonplace. What this means I have no idea!

Industry experts and representatives from Tink, Solarisbank, Signicat, Feedzai, SETL, and more, have also shared key industry trends, and their thoughts and impressions via our Money 20/20 Europe video compilation:

About David Birch

David Birch is an author, advisor, and commentator on digital financial services. An internationally recognised thought leader in digital identity and digital money; he was named in the top 15 favourite sources of business information by Wired magazine and awarded ‘Contributor of the Year’ by the Emerging Payments Association. Currently he is Director at Consult Hyperion and Advisor to the Board at AU10TIX.


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Keywords: embedded finance, CBDC, digital identity, cloud, API
Categories: Banking & Fintech | Payments General
Countries: World
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Banking & Fintech

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