This year Propeller PR hit Europe’s largest payments event, Money 20/20 – a week that saw a 4000-strong force of fintech’s finest invade sleepy Copenhagen as the locals flee inland to Roskilde Festival, safe from the clutches of PSD2, open APIs and DLT.
What was immediately apparent is the sheer scale of the event, with a pyrotechnic keynote stage that makes the X-Factor final look like a children’s tea party, five track rooms, a BBLB-style interactive forum area, and airport-hangar exhibition halls with matching lunch hall. Propeller was working with Japan’s leading payment card issuer and acquirer, JCB International, driving awareness as they made their presence known amongst the European PSP community – and what better place to do so than here?
To avoid a big, wordy analysis of key themes from the event and in no particular order, here is a list of essential observations, I’ll let you decide which is the most important (hint: it’s the adoption of biometrics):
- The fintech community is still niche, it was great to catch up with a lot of friendly faces and meet some new ones.
- Gold still talks, and bitcoin really doesn’t. The Payments Race from London to Copenhagen, organised by the Fintech Finance guys, was a real highlight, with Mr Cooper coming in first place using only gold bullion. Bitcoin didn’t make it out of the M25…
- Speaking of which, the Fintech Finance guys are awesome.
- Nobody was really talking about GDPR, though everyone is on board with open banking, which, in itself, will help PSPs meet requirements.
- Did I mention biometrics?
- I really should have predicted that branded fidget spinners would be the order of the day.
- Even with the general feeling of positivity around the opportunities that PSD2 presents, hearing a lot of businesses across the ecosystem it’s clear that regulatory clarity is lacking and it’s a big worry for many.
- Smoothies are more popular than booze (at the conference anyway). If you want to drive people to your stand at Money 20/20, have a smoothie station (looking at you Verifone / Joe & The Juice). This also works throughout the day; Western Union’s bar was snazzy but not all of us can manage that at 10am…
- Custard cream pastries are the greatest and make a totally acceptable breakfast on their own. Hats off for trying to the guys cycling around the conference with fruit nobody was touching – nice idea though.
- The challenger banks have shown that vastly improved user experience goes a long way, but now that everyone is on board with building mobile wallets, it’s clear that they need to start adding real value to consumers through offers and rewards.
- Blockchain Ale is a fantastic addition to blockchain.
- There’s still a palpable lack of diversity in fintech.
- Just in case I forgot to mention: biometrics. Best served multimodal.
- Revolut is absolutely smashing it – a proposed £50m in funding when running at a £7m loss is eyebrow-raising but hats off to them.
- Hogan Lovells is really embracing start-up mentality with its new platform, Engage, which offers fintechs a package of bespoke legal advice at a set fee. Never thought I’d say it but… go lawyers!
- Trying to find an old utilities bill to prove your address and open a bank account is going to be a thing of the past because…BIOMETRICS!
- Ascential nails events (as anyone would expect). From the comprehensive app to free rollercoaster rides in Tivoli to outdoor advertising welcoming you back next year as you head into the departure lounge, the whole thing was organised to a T with no margin for error.
- Everyone loves a good rumour no matter how farfetched. #GunsNRoses #clearlynevergonnahappen
See you all in Amsterdam!
Finn Tekkers out.