Money 20/20 Day Two: Addressing financial inclusion and the adoption of digital banking

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It’s clear that mobile-first consumers are leading the industry and revolutionising retail banking and personal finances.

New companies are constantly challenging incumbent banks by providing specialised digital solutions such as budgeting, easy wealth management and payment habits that allow a consumer to easily track their finances.

In a panel talk on voice payments, panelists Brian Roemmele from Multiplex and Rami Thabet from RBC spoke on the adoption of why voice payments are quickly transforming the industry with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s assistant.

Voice payments have gone from an idea to a reality, with millions already speaking commands to repay friends, pay bills and to shop online. Thabet added that RBC customers can use their voice to pay for a utility bill.

“Voice has to fit naturally into your day-to-day life,” comments Thabet.

According to a Business Intelligence survey, 9% of consumers have made voice payments, and the percentage is likely to grow significant once voice payments become more mainstream.

For wider mainstream adoption, panellists agreed that voice payments integration needs to start with the idea of finding what you want to do, such as buying an item or paying for a utility bill.

Brian Roemmele said that AI will become “the electricity” of the payments industry in upcoming years. He added that businesses and retailers need to analyse Amazon and how it has transformed the retail experience.

“Brand, voice and personality are going to become key in payments,” adds Roemmele.

Addressing financial inclusion 

Next up was the highly anticipated keynote speaker Dan Schulman, who took the main keynote stage and was introduced by Money20/20 Managing Director Tracey Davies.

Schulman began his keynote speech with a humble and honest manner: “Over 2 billion people live outside the financial services industry.

“In the US, there are 70 million people outside the financial services industry. It’s expensive to be poor – this is very true in the financial services industry.”


The PayPal Chief Executive believes that new partnerships across the financial ecosystem are the key element to building an inclusive economy around the world. He continued on the importance of collaboration between industry players and stated that PayPal aims to be an alley in the industry, and not a ‘frenemy’ (his own words!).

He continued: “Driving towards financial inclusion and financial health as an industry is not something we should embrace, but lead.”

“I don’t believe that anyone can address the industry issues alone – this needs to be a partnership.”

Dan shared his thoughts on why fostering economic opportunity for every business around the globe is not only the biggest challenge facing our industry, but also our greatest responsibility.

“My time at American Express opened my eyes to the staggering amount of people who live outside of the financial inclusion.

“If you want to be a fundamental long business – you need to be a customer champion and offer transparency.”

He added that the industry needs to come together to make a difference, and stated how this would be incredibly powerful. He continues: “Managing and moving money should be a right for all citizens, not just a privilege for the rich.”

Schulman quoted Lao Tzu’s famous Chinese proverb in his closing remarks.

“A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a couple of steps.

“We should be the generation that can say we ignited the process of addressing financial inclusion.”

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