Payments Knowledge Forum 2015 round-up

This week PaymentEye attended the Payments Knowledge Forum, which celebrated its 30th year. The conference consisted of two days of payments industry knowledge with speakers from KPMG, PayPal and Vodacom.


The Digital Economy

Liz Oakes, the associate director at KMPG, was the first keynote speaker and she started the proceedings by discussing the digital economy.

She considered the main issues that make up the discussion of digital payments, which include global megatrends, consumer behaviour and their changing expectations, as well as where the investment is going.

Oakes delved into the future by discussing what the landscape would look like by 2030. Her research showed 54 per cent of the world’s population will have Internet access by the third decade of the 2000s. Astounding as that figure is, she goes on to say the figure could be a “massive underestimate” and that many more people could in fact have access to Internet.


Embracing digital

All of this points to the conclusion that we are embracing digital more and more every day.

According to GSMA Intelligence, 16 countries have more m-money accounts than bank accounts. Some countries actually have more bank accounts than access to clean water.


Millennials driving technological change

Oakes proffers that all these digital advancements are driven by the millennial generation. It is the largest and most diverse generation in US history. They have rapidly changing expectations of money and payments, and 85 per cent own a smartphone.  They are massively in debt and plan to be in debt even more. They spend more money online than any other generation despite having less income.

This trend Oakes believes will lead to a rise of digital services that offer finance management solutions.


Consumers don’t care how payments work

She also highlights that our consumer behaviour is changing the industry.

“Everything is a service; everybody is using Uber; and the economy is moving towards a much more collaborative environment.”

More interestingly, Oakes stressed that the consumer doesn’t actually care about how payments work, as long as they are instant and frictionless payments.

This ties in with the second keynote speaker, Dr Ian Pearson who, when discussing the ‘Future of payments up to 2025’, said people are looking for low-stress payments. They want to spend “anytime, anywhere”.


Trust in payments

In terms of consumer behaviour he also raised the subject of trust. He mentions statistics such as 73 per cent of people are worried about password and card theft.

These verification fears will ultimately lead to the death of passwords, he asserts, also because people are either struggling to remember their passwords or find them simply inconvenient.

People are also worried about the abuse of trust and loss of privacy, particularly in an age where 50 per cent of people in the world use a mobile, Dr Pearson says.

Dr Pearson then joined the panel discussion that also included Mark Beresford, the head of Retail Payments Practice at Edgar Dunn and Neira Jones, Advisory Board Member and ambassador, Emerging Payments Association. John Rozek, director of Polar Moment, moderated the discussion.


No unicorn has disrupted established players’

During the discussion, Neira Jones echoed Dr Pearson’s idea that new technology is not disruptive, but rather ‘stimulative’. She said, “no unicorn has disrupted established players,” and went on to point out it is very hard to be disruptive in a regulated environment.


What will happen to cash and cards?

One of the conference’s most interesting moments came when the moderator asked the panel when would people stop using cash and cards.

Jones joined the side of the argument stating the demise of physical currency has been greatly exaggerated. She said people wouldn’t stop using “cash anytime soon” and that it is still very easy to use cards, especially after the introduction of NFC technology.


UK and London FinTech

There was a general consensus amongst the panel that the UK is a hotbed of FinTech innovation. Jones said “the UK is a very exciting space for Fintech”, whilst Mark Beresford said that new technological innovations are “London-centric”.


‘Identity is really hot right now’

After lunch, the conference split into two tracks, the first track focussed on specific examples of payment innovations such as Worldpay’s demonstration of two ways of carrying out transactions. The company’s director of Technology Innovation, Nick Telford-Reed, showcased the very exciting PED camera which allows payment terminals to capture the image of the payer.

Nick said the innovation “puts the person back into payment” and despite initial concerns from the public, once the security benefits were explained, people became more “sanguine” about the technology.

Other speakers included Michael Ralph, co-founder of YoYo, a smart wallet platform for next-gen commerce that combines user profile with basket-level data and provides the tools needed to inspire and manage customer demands.

The day ended with another panel discussion that focussed on payment innovations and included Nick Telford-Reed, Michael Ralph, as well as Jon Pinkerton, head of Innovation at myPINpad and Business Development manager of miiCard, Kevin Trapp.

The second day included speakers such as Rob Harper, PayPal’s head of Mobile Commerce, Gill Woodcock, director of Certification Programs, PCI Security Standards Council and Brian Cunnington, Business Architect, World Class Payments Project, Payments UK.

There was also a look back on the past 30 years of payment innovation with Andrew Vorster, Technology Foresight Consultant.

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