Relocation and FinTech

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Relocation and FinTech

5 Key Trends From Money 20/20 That Are Transforming the Fintech Industry

Money 20/20 is the largest global fintech event enabling payment and financial services innovation for connected commerce. The 2021 conference was held in Las Vegas. NuCompass was there, along with other 7,500 registrants and 390 vendors from all over the world. The event brought together fintech and payment enthusiasts from around the globe, fueling pioneering conversations and exciting opportunities for new collaborations and developments.

The conference this year was particularly special as it was the first one in person since the pandemic hit. Attendees described it as “electrifying, very vibrant, moving, dynamic, and passionate.” This show brings the most innovative and brilliant minds of the fintech industry together to have valuable conversations about change and the future. 

So, what was a global mobility business doing there? How does one of the most significant shows in the fintech industry apply to global mobility? With NuCompass’ focus on continuous innovation, data security, and faster transferee payments, the event was crucial to give us a window into the key innovations driving change in the financial services industry. 

The NuCompass team came away from the four-day conference with a wealth of conversations, connections, and insights. Below are a few of our key takeaways from the event:

1. A Remarkable Change in the Composition of Exhibitors at the Show

A couple of years ago, more than half of the exhibitors at the conference were traditional payment or paytech companies, with a sizable presence for conventional financial software vendors like FIS and Broadridge. This year, on the other hand, it was a mix of identity and security-related companies, crypto and blockchain firms, a mix of payment companies, and a combination of other firms. This shows the changing nature of the fintech industry and its development from traditional, established financial software vendors to modern VC-funded, SaaS-based digital providers.

The conference had many BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) players attending the show, including familiar global brands like Visa and Mastercard. Among the attendees, there were also payment leaders Square and Stripe and major platforms like Spotify and Amazon, looking to better integrate BNPL into their core services.

2. Crypto and DeFi Take the Spotlight 

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of life. With these disruptions came innovative solutions and digital accelerations. Businesses moved toward more digital payment methods and currencies. Important crypto investment and transaction companies were present to discuss how the industry can keep growing safely.

Bitcoin and blockchain were very noticeable in the exhibition room. In addition, bitcoin payment processor BitPay and bitcoin debit card startup Blade were hands-on in educating attendees on their products and services.

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) also left a significant mark at the conference. Speakers discussed how the market responses meant to combat the problems of traditional finance (TradFi) — particularly DeFi — are, in fact, at the same risk of hackers and data breaches as any other ordinary bank.

Money 20/20 left two clear conclusions on this topic: DeFi and crypto are the future of finance, but they also bring significant threats with them. DeFi has the potential to completely disrupt and revolutionize the way we think about our money and how we manage it. Nonetheless, it is still a significant and growing target for cybercriminals.

Several speakers also touched on the risks of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services, a decentralized credit platform. A McKinsey survey disclosed at the conference found that 30% of BNPL users would have bought less or not completed their purchase if the BNPL service were not offered. However, 39% of respondents said they would have simply used their credit or debit card if BNPL was not an option. Finally, some business owners expressed their worries about the new payment method, which could result in losses when customers can’t complete their BNPL payments.

3. Web Fraud is a Growing Issue

Battling online fraud has been one of the biggest challenges of the last five years. Financial services need to do a better job at fighting digital fraudsters and sharing information with each other about suspicious activities.

A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report showed that in 2020 there were more than 2.1 million fraud reports. Payment fraud was 60% higher in neobanks and 33% higher in digital wallets. Cybercriminals have increasingly become a dominant risk for fintech companies. At Money 20/20, a big part of the conversation was dedicated to cybersecurity and payment fraud prevention solutions.

Banks’ efforts to use AI to combat web fraud are affected by outdated technology and old bureaucratic processes. Banks need to keep updating their technology, and they need to do it fast. Ellen Richey, Visa’s chief enterprise risk officer, said that one of the main problems with security breaches is client interconnectivity. “One person gets breached, and then thousands more can be breached in exactly the same way.” She also explained how Visa tracks any suspicious transactions back to their source and then notifies other merchants about that specific computer address.

Many other key bank and cybersecurity players joined the financial fraud conversation. They agreed on the importance of tokenization and biometrics to fight fraud.

4. Alternative Payments Methods

One of the hottest topics of the show were alternative payments. Speakers addressed the critical changes the finance world has experienced in the past five years. Half a decade ago, cryptocurrencies were barely emerging into the market. Today, cryptocurrencies and digital payments were among the trending topics at the 2021 talk.

Conversations were mainly around account2account (A2A) payments, an alternate method to credit cards, BNPL and its true cost and value to fintech, and the new NFT marketplace. Attendees also discussed the unique diversity of crypto markets and the best ways to handle them securely and at scale. Part of the discussion was around the younger generations demanding fast and embedded finance solutions. There is a growing need for business leaders to be prepared to meet these demands and adapt to a constantly changing financial world. Some visionaries are even considering asking for their salaries in crypto, an exciting but risky idea.

 5. The Utopian Dream of Digital Gold

The conversation around the value of data didn’t slip away. Can we still achieve a digital utopia? Is data the new gold? These questions were part of the “Striking Digital Gold” talk. Among the speakers were Yvette Butler, SVB Private Banking & Wealth Management president; Sajjad Hussain, vice president at Wipo; and Mary Dent, ex-CEO and director of Green Dot Bank.

The big focus was around identity, security, and fraud solutions. Digital transactions being faster than ever before has led to complex privacy and security issues. Speakers discussed the question: As we venture to strike gold in our digital experiences, how can we ensure that we also stand secure and compliant?

There were unicorn companies like Socure that offer solutions such as identity verification and fraud detection. Businesses are embracing the new mainstream digital era and quickly developing modern solutions to implement into their customer experience.

To Sum It All Up

This fintech conference finally brought us together — in person — to discuss all kinds of topics around digital evolution and financial technologies. Money 20/20 made it clear that the fintech industry has survived and somehow thrived during the COVID-19 economic crisis. In addition, the evident diversity in attendees this year showed the rapidly changing nature of the industry.

For a global mobility company like NuCompass, this conference shed light on the latest developments of the modern financial world. After the pandemic, digital transformation has become a number one priority for any industry. But, like it has been said before, technology projects are far more likely to fail than succeed, and Money 20/20 was crucial to understanding the weak spots of these new technologies and how to tackle their prevailing challenges.

Additionally, digital innovation, data security, and faster payment methods are part of our business’s principal focus, which is why it was important for the NuCompass team to take part in the conversation. The team concluded that the big celebrities of the show were cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity, and modern payment systems.

Written by Stephen Chen, Senior Vice President, Technology & Security, and Douglas Fritz, Senior Vice President, Finance & Administration, of NuCompass Mobility, a global relocation management company.

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