Tales from the Road: Roundup from the Spring Conference Season

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24 June 2019
Gareth Lodge

Part 1 : European Payments Summit

Many of us are coming off the back of a very full, frantic, but thankfully fruitful spring conference trail. Dan Latimore, SVP of our Banking group, is fond of saying “We attend conferences so you don’t have to.” We’ve attended a lot this spring!

Over the next couple of posts, I’m going to round up some of the key themes and insights from my recent travels. This blog is focussing on the European Payment Summit, now in its 18th year. As a side note, it took place at one of the most unusual but interesting venues I have been to for a long time.

EPS was held in The Hague in April at the wonderful Louwman Museum. The museum is home to the world’s oldest private collection of motor cars, dating back to 1934, and now comprises over 250 antique and classic motor cars. Experts — and me! — regard the collection as one of the most beautiful in the World.

I’ve been lucky enough to speak at most of the main payment conferences, but this was my first time at this particular event, and for the first time in ages, talking about something other than electronic payments! I shared the stage with Pavel Matveev, CEO and Co-Founder of Wirex, Julian Sawyer, co-founder and COO of Starling Bank, and Daniel Lowther, Head of fintech at CCGroup, to discuss “The Great European Cash Divide.” A lively debate ensued and served as an interesting juxtaposition to the rest of the agenda, which featured real-time payments and Open Banking heavily. I strongly argued the case that cash is not going to disappear anytime soon, and so we should be planning for less cash rather than cashless in the short to medium term. I’ve previously blogged about this on here, the last post being ”Are We Cashing Out Of Cash?

A few other interesting tidbits came up.

First, Petra Hielkema, the Divisional Director of Payments for the Dutch Central Bank, talked about Open Banking. Virtually every speaker spoke about the low awareness of what is essentially just around the corner, and she mentioned the outcome of some activity the Central Bank had undertaken. They had just carried out an extensive media campaign to inform consumers how they could now share their banking data with others to receive innovative new services. The feedback? “But you did a campaign 12 months ago about GDPR, telling us not to share our data with anyone … ?”

Monica Monaco, Founder and Managing Director of TrustEuAffairs, was among a number of speakers that believed Open Banking may simply not be ready anyway, citing some fairly fundamental differences in opinion between the regulating and standards setting bodies, particularly in how SCA should be implemented, noting that this would only impede the take-up further.

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