In its inaugural year, Money2020, a conference focused on how niche innovations are collectively shaping the new reality of money, did not disappoint. The conference, held last week in Las Vegas, featured over 75 educational sessions, dozens of exhibitors and 2,000 industry professionals.
The conference opened with a series of deep dive educational breakouts ranging from Investment Capital for Money2020 Innovations to EMV and then officially launched with a motivating keynote from Suze Orman. Keynotes and educational tracks included a wide range of topics including banking 2.0, personal financial management, digital wallets, virtual currencies, online-to-offline commerce, electronic receipts, merchant solutions, alternative credit and more.
Relevant to the payments ecosystem, Karen Webster, of PYMNTS.com, moderated a power panel on digital wallets and consumer mindshare that featured senior leaders from PayPal, AMEX, MasterCard, Visa and Google. As one panel member commented, “We’re moving to a world where digital is the basis for all interaction…and that will translate to the shopping experience.” While none of the panelists offered up their individual strategies, there was definitive consensus as to the advent of new technologies to support digital transactions and an enhanced customer experience.
Our team also had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion on our next generation Genius™ Customer Engagement Platform™ and its impact on various stakeholders within the payments ecosystem. Dax Dasilva, CEO of LightSpeed and Tony Abruzzio, Vice President, ISIS, two of our Genius partners, joined me for the panel discussion, which focused on bringing mobile payment and program acceptance to merchant countertops in a simple and secure way. During the discussion, Dax commented that, “Retailers want to delight their customers with these (mobile and integrated loyalty) kind of experiences – it’s a world of technology and we need to make it easy.” Tony added, “Wallet choice is beyond payments, it’s a marketing opportunity.” In the end, everyone agreed that Genius reduces the friction for point-of-sale (POS) in terms of adoption and expansion to accommodate new payment types, wallets and commerce extensions.
The conference concluded with keynotes from U.S. treasury representatives Melissa Koide and Sophie Raseman, who spoke about the opportunities around innovation and collaboration between the government and the private sector. As track sessions completed the two plus days of education, I was interested to hear from Google regarding their mobile wallet. While the session focused on the value proposition for financial institutions, Google leaders shared their perspective on the payments space and Google Wallet and one leader clearly stated that Google is not looking to become another ‘mouth to feed’ in the payments chain. Rather their mission is to close the loop between online and offline, providing seamless services through commerce search, shopping results, trusted retailers, catalogues, Google offers and, of course, Google Wallet. At the end of the day, it’s all about the consumers and the ‘magical’ experience needed to gain adoption. Google clearly articulated that they are not a bank or a payments space, but rather an advertising company.
Hats off to the organizers of Money2020 who put together a wonderful conference filled with rich content, industry leaders and great networking opportunities. We look forward to participating in 2013 and for years to come.