8 things we learned at Money20/20

Last week, thousands of FinTech influencers descended upon Copenhagen for Europe’s first Money20/20 conference. About one-third the size of its sister event held annually in Las Vegas, the four-day event showcased the cutting-edge companies sprouting up in Europe, and notably in the Nordics.

But for an event with so many startups, most people expected to see more jeans and hoodies than business suits, and that was hardly the case. “I think this event is all about traditional banks trying to learn from FinTech,” said Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank.

It wasn’t just banks that learned a thing or two, though. Here are eight things we learned at this year’s Money20/20:

1. A cashless world might never arrive. Although many were bullish on a cashless future and the Nordics especially are embracing digital payments, 85% of the world’s retail transactions are still made with cash. Ann Cairns, MasterCard’s President of International Markets, thinks cash could always hang around: “It’s important to always give users choice, so I think all payment methods will coexist,” she said.

2. Co-opetition is the way forward. As consumer behavior changes and the regulatory environment grows increasingly complex,FinTech companies and banks are recognizing that they must cooperate to survive. In one example, Trustly CCO Johan Nord joined GM of PayPal Scandinavia Mårten Barkman on stage to discuss why their collaboration works, and how partnering with your competitor can be a win-win.

3. KYCB = Know Your Customer Better. Consumers say their privacy matters, but many won’t hesitate to pony up personal data in exchange for a discount or freebie. Stuart Lacey, CEO & Founder of Trunomi, said that offering value exchange for entering additional personal data is the best way to improve new customer conversion and retention.

4. There could be such a thing as “too seamless.” While technological advancements have vastly improved the e-commerce experience, merchants still face troubling shopping cart abandonment rates. At the “Simplifying e-commerce payments: The quest for a seamless checkout experience” panel, the speakers posited that consumers may not want a perfectly seamless checkout experience after all. “Too easy only works if you’re not a customer,” said Markus Rinderer, CEO & Founder of PAY.ON, an ACI Worldwide company.

5. Consumers are looking cross-border to shop. Sequoia Capital Chairman Michael Moritz sat down with Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski for an engaging chat about where the company is heading. “One thing I believe is, you don’t bet on technology. You can bet on consumer behavior by creating solutions that help merchants tap into those new shifts, and people are shopping across borders now,” said Siemiatkowski.

6. Trust, trust, trust. Trust was a hot topic across panels at Money20/20, with many bringing the need for identity-based payments and trust to the forefront of conversations. At the “Knowing me, knowing you: Streamlining KYC, ID and customer onboarding” panel, the speakers sparked a heated debate about privacy versus security. “Whatever is not in your head, everyone knows about it. The minute you write it on a device, someone else is already looking at it. Data privacy is long gone,” lamented Ron Atzmon, Managing Director at AU10TIX.

7. Geolocation will play a bigger role in authentication. The global cross-border e-commerce market is estimated to quadruple in size to over €1 trillion in 2020 and geolocation will likely play a bigger and bigger role in authentication. The technology is already developing in the gaming sector in the US, although it’s not legal everywhere, said Hank Boughner, President of Global Solutions at Global Payments Inc.

8. Going digital is more than slapping lipstick on a pig. As we all move toward digitalization—some faster than others—does “going digital” mean simply digitalizing existing products, or is there more to it? In the session titled “Old school to new school: Transforming the bank account,” the speakers questioned what going digital really means and how to commit to it. “If you have a legacy core banking system and you call it digital because you create an app on top of that, well to me that’s lipstick on the pig,” Matthias Kroner, CEO of challenger bank Fidor.