Money20/20 Conference Unveils Key Insight and Trends in Fintech and AI
By Angela Murphy, Ph.D.
The Money20/20 Conference, a prominent gathering of industry leaders in financial technology, recently provided a platform for experts to delve into the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies. With insights from influential figures like Navrina Singh, Sheila Colclasure, and Andrew Reiskind, the conference shed light on the challenges and opportunities surrounding the integration of AI in the financial landscape and how instant payments is enabling the next wave of buying behavior for consumers and businesses.
AI and Accountability: Navigating the Revolution
As the financial industry braces itself for an AI and emerging tech revolution, a panel featuring Navrina Singh, Sheila Colclasure, and Andrew Reiskind explored the intersection of AI, privacy concerns, and corporate responsibility. Reiskind, Chief Data Officer at Mastercard, highlighted the evolution of AI in fighting fraud and its recent shift toward analytics for client insights.
Colclasure, Chief Digital Responsibility Officer at IPG, drew parallels between the current state of AI and the early days of the internet, emphasizing the need for businesses to embrace AI rather than ignore its potential impact. “The infection point of AI is at the same point as we had with the internet. The speed of growth is going to be staggering over the following years.” She emphasized the importance of defining principles for approaching AI, asserting that corporate boards should play a pivotal role in shaping these principles, “AI will make you competitive or break your company, we can’t ignore what is happening but embrace it. The number one rule is how the human interacts with the tools and how it impacts the level of efficiency.”
Singh, Founder & CEO of Credo AI, stressed the necessity of AI governance, emphasizing its need to adapt rapidly to keep pace with the fast-moving AI landscape. In her view, data is a paramount concern for companies, and “..there needs to be AI governance but it needs to adapt and evolve as AI is moving very fast and as things continue to change, the governance must keep up.” This theme carried through many sessions, breakouts, and keynotes throughout the conference, including how AI can transform banking and payments.
AI-Driven Strategies in Banking and Payments
Another key panel, featuring Sophia Bantanidis, Daniel Roesbery, Kevin Levitt, and Yan Zeng, delved into the potential of AI in shaping the future of banking and payments. Bantanidis, from Citi Global Insights, discussed the challenges faced by financial institutions in embracing AI. She stated, “Our research says that it will be a bit challenging for financial services institutions to fully embrace AI at speed because – of many reasons – we are operating within a highly regulated industry. That means we need to be sure that the AI we use is going to be very safe, transparent, and explainable.”
The experts agreed that AI and machine learning are essential for disrupting traditional interfaces and unlocking new possibilities. Zeng, Product Lead for Machine Learning at Plaid, highlighted the transformative nature of AI, explaining, These technologies are a complete interface disruption. They offer ways of thinking we couldn’t previously comprehend. The amount of unstructured data and alternative data sources are increasing and AI can digest it for us which is a game changing breakthrough.” In an audience comprised of banks, fintechs, regulators, and everyone in between, it’s clear that AI weighed heavily on the minds of attendees who are navigating a complex, new technological landscape.
Payouts and Economic Empowerment
The conference also addressed the role of payouts in fostering a stronger economy, featuring Ethan Tandowsky from Adyen and Raina Moskowitz from Etsy. Tandowsky underscored the need for innovation in the payout infrastructure, especially in the B2B space, where legacy systems lag behind consumer-focused innovations like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Moskowitz shed light on Etsy’s commitment to economic empowerment, discussing initiatives like allowing customers to round up or donate their change at checkout, claiming, “It’s got high utilization, and we actually just crossed a meaningful milestone of 10 million buyers, using it at checkout.” The conversation emphasized the importance of addressing the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in the financial system. As Tandowsky explained, “There’s also a broader set of financial services that we’re building… with the investments that we’ve made on the banking license side [we have] a single platform that we’ve built…” that he hopes will serve SMBs financial needs globally.
Navigating Financial Innovation: A Call for Collaboration
Eva Reda, President of American Express, and Stephanie Ferris, CEO & President of FIS, engaged in a discussion on the challenges and opportunities in financial innovation. Ferris highlighted the innovation occurring in both infrastructure and consumer experience but emphasized the need to bridge the gap to impact consumers directly. She stated, “I would argue the challenge is getting them to net all that innovation and money movement. The challenge is that it hasn’t trickled down to the consumer yet. It really hasn’t changed the way we as consumers interact with our money.” While some may disagree, considering the rise of P2P payments in the past five years, it’s clear that consumer choice and control over cash flow is paramount in the current financial services landscape.
Ferris stressed the complexity of the financial supply chain and regulatory compliance, calling for collaboration and partnerships across legacy and emerging players. She said, “Legacy companies, small companies, big companies, medium-sized companies really need to come together. and drive innovation – not disruptive, not throw the baby out with the bathwater – to really start to think about driving it together.” The conversation underscored the importance of driving innovation collectively to create meaningful changes in the financial landscape.
Real-Time Payments: Empowering the Paid
The conference also tackled the critical topic of real-time payments, featuring insights from David Watson of The Clearing House and Jennifer Barker of BNY Mellon. Watson discussed the empowerment of the paid through instant payments, highlighting the flexibility and control it provides to users, stating, “The thing about Instant payments is that it’s putting the power back in the hands of the paid. It’s actually the idea of a credit push payment, where you decide when money leaves your account.” His remarks underscored the need for instant payments to help close the gap between the underbanked/underserved in financial services, creating a wedge for access with exponential potential.
Barker emphasized that while about 75% of the world has access to immediate payments, there remains a significant educational opportunity for consumers and businesses. The discussion highlighted the global reach and potential impact of real-time payment systems, which the U.S. has until recently been woefully behind in adopting.
The Money20/20 Conference served as a melting pot of ideas, insights, and predictions for the future of fintech and AI. From discussions on responsible AI use to the transformative potential of generative AI and the evolving landscape of payments, the conference provided a comprehensive exploration of the forces shaping the financial industry. As the industry navigates these shifts, collaboration, accountability, and innovation emerge as key themes driving the next phase of financial evolution.
Dr. Angela Murphy aka “Payments Elsa,” has experience in artificial intelligence, financial technology, and the global payments industry, building on her skills as a storyteller and rhetorician. She engages at the intersection of strategy and insight to drive results for her clients. As Vice President of Business Development at Photon Commerce, she helped run a team that used artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve complex problems in the payments industry. Dr. Murphy received her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and currently resides in Kansas City with her husband, Brock, and German Shepherd rescue, Roscoe.