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What We Learned At Money20/20 2017

Courtesy Jefferson Graham

Setting up biometrics for payment verification at Money20/20. Photo courtesy of Jefferson Graham.

Biometrics, facial recognition and implanted chips were just some of the advancements in payments at this year’s Money20/20 conference. Trending topics included digital currencies and blockchain with supporters such as Steve Wozniak and skeptics like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Uber, with partners Barclays and Visa, released a credit card. Shopping experiences are changing with augmented reality glasses, iris authentication and advanced mobile payments. Check out some of our key takeaways from this event.

New Payments/Higher Adoption With Alternative Methods

  • Only 25% of US retailers offer contactless terminals accepting mobile payments and only 10% of consumers pay with mobile. Despite these low stats, tech companies are trying new methods.
  • Biometrics – Facial recognition can be safer and more reliable than a thumbprint. Users can sign in with their eyes, facial expressions and voice. Even traditional credit card companies are adopting this. Visa is offering biometrics for its mobile wallet, Visa Checkout and Mastercard are forgoing signatures post-purchases.
  • Finger – FingoPay, a finger scanner connected to your credit card can be used without a cell phone. “You become the wallet,” said Nick Dryden of FingoPay.
  • Implanted Chips – The Wisconsin company, Three Square Market, that implanted microchips in their employees last summer also made an appearance. No batteries, pins, or passwords are needed to make a payment.

Digital Currencies and Blockchain

  • Steve Wozniak thinks Bitcoin is better than both gold and the US dollar because it cannot be diluted. Bitcoin is more mathematical than gold because it’s regulated and “nobody can change mathematics.”
  • Both bitcoin and blockchain have the potential to help financial inclusion, but there have been questions if the technology is there yet. One reason is performance. No public blockchain can match the 1,000 or more transactions per second of real-time domestic payment systems.
  • Not everyone was skeptical of these new financial solutions. Christine Duhaime, founder of the Digital Finance Institute, a Canadian fintech think tank, was all for it. For countries, such as Afghanistan, where exchanging money is dangerous and financial services are limited, bitcoin can be a safer option.

“It allows access to capital for Joe Average on the street, said Christine Duhaime, founder of the Digital Finance Institute. “It could be a farmer, it could be a billionaire – it doesn’t matter. You skip the markets, you skip the infrastructure, you get access to capital.”

Uber’s Credit Card

  • Backed by Barclays bank, Uber’s new no fee credit card adds tracking and rewards directly into the Uber app. Rewards range from such as 4% percent back on dining, 3% on travel, 2% of online purchases and 1% cash back on other transactions.
  • So what’s the catch? Lack of consumer data privacy could be one. Uber has had past issues with tracking unaware customers’ locations with God View.
  • Starting November 2, Uber will give users the option to get the card right in-app or online.

Augmented Reality Shopping  

  • Mastercard showed fashionistas the future of retail complete with an AR-based shopping experience. Shoppers could see digital representations of products through ODG’s sleek smart glasses before purchase and learn about options that are not available in stores.
  • To pay for your new clothes and accessories, Qualcomm’s technology and iris authentication allows users to select a card from their Mastercard Masterpass-enabled wallet to pay. Items could be shipped either to stores or your home for pick-up.