In the world of payments and fin-tech, Money 20/20 has emerged as the definitive event industry event.
by Giles Sutherland
Vice President Strategic Alliances
To use a Vegas analogy, the stakes were high and bets were being placed.
There was huge speculation and starkly divergent opinions over whether HCE would fly—if it was secure enough, whether the US would broadly adopt tap & pay POS technology, who would own the customer, and who would control security and trust in payments.
And it’s hard to understate the huge cloud of uncertainty that lingered over Apple’s next step—what would payments look like on iPhone? NFC? Bluetooth? Some new proprietary solution?
What a difference a year can make.
Tokenization has moved from obscurity to the buzzword of the industry.
More recently (and most significantly perhaps), the Apple riddle was answered: they’re using the same NFC standards we’re all using—with tokenization and in partnership with credit card companies.
In 2014, a lot of the doubt has dissipated. Networks have fully endorsed HCE and Tokenization and NFC as accepted standards for payments. Mobile payment is no longer a future vision; it’s an active reality.
Instead of fierce debate over the fate of mobile payments, there’s friendly discussion over the potential for these technologies. And while I’ll miss some of the heated discourse, it means the conversations are shifting toward what’s next and how we’ll bring it to market.
As the hyperbolic hype around “Wallet Wars” wanes, I’m hoping our focus will go beyond the US market and questions like MCX vs. Softcard vs. Apple, toward potential for innovation in the global market.
In the digital payments world, there’s no border on the service we can offer. There’s a big world outside of the US, and we should all be thinking globally. Who knows what “futuristic” technology will be standard fare by 2015.
More importantly, as our attention moves from the “what” to the “how,” mobile payments will take the shape of real solutions, that real consumers (and not just us nerds at payments conferences) will adopt on a mass scale. And while Apple has resolved a lot of the how within their integrated ecosystem, there is plenty of work, and open opportunity for banks and the 85% of the smartphone market running Android, to meet the high benchmark set by Apple Pay.
The stakes are just as high now as they have ever been, only now it’s a little more clear what game we’re playing.
Whatever the case, this time next year, if I can’t get a seat at the big ticket Money 20/20 panels, you’ll find me in the lounge, buying drinks for clients with my phone (or maybe my ass).