The Payments Race: Card and cash emerge victorious

It’s taken them across the world – but the contestants of the Money 20/20 EU Payments Race reached the end of their journey today, when the results were announced under The Big Top in Amsterdam.

“This is The Payments Race”, host Ghela Boskovich, founder of FemTech Global told the Money 20/20 audience.

“Our mission is to show real world payment challenges and break out of the fintech bubble.”



The challenge pitted five teams against one another – Team Cash, Team Card, Team Crypto, Team Wearables (equipped with a Curve Ring and Apple Watch), and Team Mobile – in a race across the globe to find out which payment method would allow for the fastest passage from Istanbul to Amsterdam.

But if that seemed to easy, the teams also had to visit as many countries as possible en route, and were set numerous challenges along the way.

“It’s been a very, very, very close race”, Ali Paterson, Payments Race mastermind and Editor-in-Chief of Fintech Finance told the audience, before announcing the winners.

The contestants each shared the difficulties they faced along the way, highlighting global the trends and challenges involved in each payment type.

Team Crypto highlighted that it was relatively easy to use Bitcoin across Europe.

“There were about 70 merchants that accepted crypto at point of sale, which was much better than in Asia and the US.”



Team Card, suffered as a result of Visa’s service disruption on Friday night, which they described as ” a nice spanner in the works.”

“In the middle of nowhere, it’s hard with card”, they claimed.

Team Wearables found the race “very challenging”.

“In Istanbul airport”, Team Wearables said, “there was only one merchant in entire place that took contactless payment.”

Mobile similarly suffered, simply saying, “People love cash in the EU.”

Team Cash, on the other hand, seemed to have the easiest journey.

“I got a lot more for a lot less, and I could haggle with people for services”, they said, claiming to have haggled pricey hotel rooms and expensive wine for little money across Europe.



An audience poll predicted that Team Mobile would come out on top, with Card in second place and Cash close behind.

But, in the end, the results turned the audience’s expectations on their head, as Team Cash and Team Card emerged victorious, with Mobile in dead last.


The results were:


1st – Team Cash, Team Card


3rd – Team Wearables


4th – Team Crypto


5th – Team Mobile


So, despite claims of a cashless society on the brink of existence, it seems that, for now, cash is still king.

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