Payment Trends from the Stamford FinTech MeetUp

Posted by Mark Ranta on 19 Jun 2020

On June 11th, I had the opportunity to join some of our industry’s best and brightest minds to discuss the biggest topics moving the payments industry. While the event had to be virtual, the information presented made it clear that things are changing and moving at an incredible pace in our industry, while firms hitting the pause button face the daunting task of catching up.

From AI to Faster Payments, the topics were a festive grab bag, and I wanted to share a few thoughts on each below. 

Faster Payments at a Global Level – Gene Neyer from U.S. Bank did a great job of running through the macro view of payments on a global level. The fact remains that the U.S. is very much at the beginning of our journey in Real-Time Payments, and we can look outside our borders to get an understanding of best practices and leverage the potholes others hit while on their journey. In all, there are more than 50 real-time payment initiatives underway around the globe, so we certainly aren’t entering uncharted territory! 

Faster Payments in the U.S. – a POV from FedNOW – Connie Theien from the Federal Reserve gave an excellent overview of the role the Federal Reserve has in our discussion of new payments and ensuring the payments market is accessible and safe for all. Connie also discussed how the Fed is looking to the market to collaborate through working groups as we lay the foundation of a new payments ecosystem here in the U.S., and the eventual launch of the FedNOWSM Service. 

As Alacriti is a new member of the Faster Payments Council, I am excited to be a part of these discussions at an industry level and work with the Fed! 

Artificial Intelligence – Rajesh Venkatraman from IBM shared insights on how IBM views AI and what it means to Fintechs and payments. It is hard to imagine a trend with more potential than AI. AI can be applied to so many aspects of banking and payments, however, how to harness that potential is where many institutions’ journey into AI faces a roadblock. I thought Raj’s positioning of having firms look at their IA (architectural design) first and make sure their data is in a clean state was a good starting point. I also thought the discussion around “AI for Good” was important given the current environment we live in. 

Considering that AI could fill up a week’s conference all by itself, the panel did an excellent job covering the topic in the timeframe. 

APIs and Open Banking – The final section was covered by yours truly. This topic is really the undercurrent in all of the trends that we discussed during the day. From a technology standpoint, APIs are how we bring varying solutions and services closer together to unlock innovation. APIs in and of themselves, however, aren’t all we need. The open banking part of this trend, or the willingness for institutions to open up access to their data and services to create an opportunity for innovation, is where we’ll see the broad innovation that is possible.  

Overall it was a jam-packed and informative hour, and it will be fun to continue to unpack each of these trends in the coming weeks and months.  

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Mark Ranta Payments Practice Lead Mark is responsible for working with our market partners and financial institution customers discussing, exploring, and examining market trends and key drivers in the evolving digital payment space. Prior to joining Alacriti, Mark's nearly 15 year career has been focused entirely on the banking and payments space, working for solution providers and research firms supporting both the corporate and consumer banking markets. Mark is a Certified Treasury Professional and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lafayette College.

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