Money20/20, the world’s largest payments and fintech conference, made its Asian debut in Singapore yesterday with a definite buzz in the air. Thousands of leaders from traditional financial firms, fintech superstars and innovative startups were here, and for the next three days their focus will be on ideas and collaborations that shape the future of money.
Staying front and center as banking becomes invisible
DBS CEO Piyush Gupta set the tone for the event with a focus on the banking customer in a relaxed session. He explored how DBS is safeguarding its brand while banking becomes “invisible” by drawing on the genius of Intel’s Intel Inside marketing approach and adding value throughout the customer journey. He said that banks have advantages in risk management, and more, but have to change both their culture and tech to compete with new platforms.
One banking group that has embraced tech and digitally transformed over the past decade is BBVA. Derek White, Global Head of Customer and Client Solutions, revealed that BBVA views every customer interaction as an opportunity to either build or destroy trust. Big tech has a minimum of 2,000 interactions with each customer per year; banking has 200. “This battleground is not about products or segments: it’s about interactions.”
Stripe CFO Will Gaybrick looked at the rise of the platform economy and told us that there is inherent compounding value in speed: “first-mover advantages yield to fast-mover advantages” in today’s marketplace. But what limits speed-to-market? For most large companies it’s not capital or regulation or market opportunity, but engineering resources.
Financial inclusion: making the invisible consumer visible
How can we bring financial services to the 2 billion unbanked adults in the world, and extend low-cost payments, micro-credit and insurance to the billions who have basic accounts only? A new report by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, released at Money20/20 Asia, listed 100 fintech firms using IoT, AI, machine learning, digital identity and other tech to make significant progress. The Money20/20 Asia audience certainly heard plenty of examples of how this is being put into action in the region.
- From barcode/QR code options to enable the smallest of merchants to accept mobile payments, to the new Smile to Pay facial recognition system, innovation is a constant for Ant Financial, said CTO Cheng Li. The Alibaba offshoot is also revolutionizing micro-loans with AI and emphasizing openness and collaboration with banking partners.
- Ride-hailing service Grab launched Grab Financial on the Money20/20 main stage. Enabling micro-loans and insurance for Grab drivers and businesses that use its GrabPay services, it hopes to serve 100 million micro-entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia by 2020. Japan’s Credit Saison and U.S.-based insurer Chubb have signed on as partners to help make the “invisible consumer … visible to financial services” said GrabPay MD Jason Thompson. Leveraging its data platform, GrabPay already has a loan book of US$737 million to drivers alone, with a default rate below 1.5%. It is developing trustworthy scoring systems for the middle economy.
- WeChat Pay Director Grace Yin illustrated how the closely intertwined WeChat and WeChat Pay have changed the daily life of people in China. WeChat Pay now has the support of over 1 million merchants and 800 million monthly active users, with many introduced to the platform via WeChat red packets. It is now also available for overseas merchants who want to serve Chinese consumers abroad, and offers more operational support to merchants.
Money20/20 Asia attendees also engaged in lively discussions at stages around the venue, learning how to scale up a start-up in Asia (it’s not easy), how to bring down the cost of remittances (with blockchain) and what could be next for Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency (more uses from third-party innovators).
Join us for Money20/20 Asia Day Two snapshot tomorrow, when we can look forward to hearing from ICICI Bank and Google and to meeting the Ethical Hacker on the dark side.