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Money 20/20 and the Future of Payments

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Euromonitor attended Money 20/20 in Las Vegas, which was held in late October 2022. The conference had a variety of surprises, announcements, and insightful predictions of what is next for fintech, payments and lending.

Fintech expanding access to financial services

The America’s Got Access pitch competition kicked off the first day of the conference, and saw hundreds of fintechs focused on increasing access to financial services compete for a USD100,000 investment. The winner was relationship-based lender Zirtue, but the competition also gave a similar prize to second-placed Remynt. Zirtue makes lending simpler and more transparent for financially underserved consumers in the US at a lower cost than alternative lending outlets. Remynt provides tools and education to sub-prime consumers and provides a pathway to rebuilding credit.

On the second day, professional tennis champion Serena Williams presented with JP Morgan’s Head of Payments, Takis Georgakopoulos, on Serena Ventures (Serena’s VC fund) and Serena’s clothing line (S by Serena). The tennis star discussed the criteria she considers when investing in a company, and said the story that led the founder to build the company is the most compelling piece of information. Serena Ventures focuses on providing early funding to minority and female entrepreneurs who have previously been overlooked by venture capital funds in the tech space.

Open banking and open finance

On the following day of the conference, Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) outlined how the department would move towards open banking and open finance by giving consumers more access to their financial data. The goal is to make financial services more competitive and to let consumers “quit their bank” more easily.

Chopra said a primary problem that currently exists is the lack of uniform processing standards across the different financial institutions, and establishing a framework where the consumer can take their information with them would lower the current barriers to entry.

The remarks gathered significant attention from emerging fintechs, which have struggled with uncertainty in the space, although there were mixed results on how the process will unfold. Generally, there was a positive reaction from fintechs that are competing with mainstream financial institutions.

Industry reacts to regulation

Later in the day, on a panel, Salman Syed, the COO of Fidel API, expressed optimism that with the announcement, the category of open banking would finally get the attention that is needed from the broader financial services community, and if implemented correctly, taking into account comments from the community, could be a positive development. He continued that on the other hand, if the regulation is rushed through without feedback, it has the potential to miss the mark and could limit competition.

Web 3.0

Several presenters spoke on Web 3.0, and provided a variety of definitions and examples of what is included. Ria Bhutoria, a General Partner at Castle Island Ventures, insisted Web 3.0 was a marketing term, and the area of venture capital interest in the space relates to cryptocurrency. The various discussions on cryptocurrency throughout the conference related to enhanced applications and additional possibilities.

Even with cryptocurrency losing significant value over the previous year, there was broad enthusiasm for the future and what crypto can do going forward. Many supporters point to the increased access to financial products and services that crypto can provide for consumers who do not want to or cannot access mainstream financial institutions.

A unique application of remittances was discussed by Remitly co-founder Matt Oppenheimer. Remitly is taking aim at the cost of cross-border transfers, and thinks crypto presents an opportunity to further lower the overall cost.

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) emerges as a key lending category

There were also several discussions around emerging BNPL and the sustainability of the lending model. In an era of rising interest rates, the category is expected to face challenges, while the long-term impact will be to unlock significant consumer spending on products and services that were previously unattainable to millions of consumers.

The event was filled with exciting demonstrations and insightful discussions among leaders in the fintech space. The steady stream of announcements from companies points to greater partnership among leading financial institutions and payment players with fintechs, to provide greater options and more features to consumers.

Euromonitor recently released a webinar discussing the future of BNPL, available here.

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