The 2021 edition of Euroforum’s annual conference on the future of payments (‘Toekomst van het Betalingsverkeer’) – which took place in Amsterdam’s Beurs van Berlage on 9 September and was actually held as a physical event rather than a virtual one – attracted over 200 attendees. INNOPAY’s Josje Fiolet was among them, and she has written a blog to share the key insights from the conference. It was apparent that COVID-19 has accelerated the move to digital payments, and tokenisation is here to stay. Above all, there was a clear focus on what you can do right now to make your customer’s life easier.
I’d almost forgotten what it was like to attend an on-site conference. It was so nice to see so many familiar faces and to meet new people, to chat about our daily work and exchange different perspectives on payments! There was a palpable buzz and nearly everyone stayed for the networking drinks at the end of the day.
COVID-19 ACCELERATED THE MOVE TO DIGITAL PAYMENTS
One of the key questions during the conference was whether the pandemic has really changed the way people pay. There seemed to be a general consensus that while COVID-19 has accelerated the move to digital payments, the trend was actually already underway beforehand. However, the pandemic did cause a shift in buying behaviour, according to a keynote speaker from Mastercard, with consumers spending more money on things like pets, family photo albums and ‘drinking from home’. Based on the self-conscious chuckles from the audience, we can assume the latter was definitely true!
All the payment players that spoke during the conference provided solid evidence of the growth in digital transactions, successively trumping each other with examples of innovative solutions, extensive reach and impressively high numbers of transactions. For example, iDEAL expects to hit the 1 billion transaction mark this year and is offered by 200,000 merchants across the globe. The speaker stated that 85% of transactions are now finalised via mobile and – fuelled by this consumer behaviour – iDEAL 2.0 is centred around simplifying the check-out process. Ultimately, the Dutch Central bank topped them all, presenting itself as the backbone of all retail transactions with an average daily value of €250bn.
TOKENISATION IS HERE TO STAY
One thing that became clear across all presentations, whether by iDEAL, Mastercard or Google, is that tokenisation is here to stay. Although the concept is far from new and has been on the agenda for quite some time, the real-life examples showed that tokenisation is now making payments more secure and seamless. In Mastercard’s case, it is collaborating with Picnic and Rabobank to tokenise the debit card and enable one-click payment. Meanwhile, the iDEAL user token pushes the preferred bank towards the online merchant, which reduces the number of times the consumer needs to click. It’s all about making the customer’s life easier.
The option of one-click or two-click pay depends on whether or not the customer is known. This is where digital identity comes in, which is at the core of payments. The speakers discussed the proliferation of digital identities, and fragmentation of the market is seen as a challenge. Did you know you are likely to have approximately 200 logins and passwords? It is not yet clear who should solve this and become the primary identity issuer. Banks? Fintechs? Governments? Everyone agreed that waiting for regulation would take too long, and that it would help if the government would mandate collaboration amongst market parties. Interested in a scheme, anyone?!
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