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EFMA - innovation and variety on day two

Well the confidence and optimism from Wednesday was still evident at the end of yesterday. Last year people had ideas, this year they are actually doing something about them and actively looking for opportunities, which is such a positive sign for the industry.

For me, day two was about innovation, looking at the technology we use and what the future is likely to bring. There has been a lot of talk around the future of cards and whether they will still exist in 20 years (personally I think yes, but they certainly won’t be as widespread.) And NFC definitely has a ‘buzz’ with people talking about 100 projects in pilot. I agree with comments made here today though - to make NFC work, it has to have the ‘Martini’ effect – ‘any time, any place, anywhere’. It isn’t any good being restricted, it has to be any terminal, any device, any network operator, any bank, any processor. For me though, NFC is a stepping stone to the future. I don’t know what that future will be, but I feel sure it will go beyond mere NFC.

What I keep coming back to in my own mind is that essentially all this innovation is around channels, but underneath that is still a customer who needs to make a payment, and money will still need to be moved safely and efficiently from account to account.

The traditional "incumbent" banks face a huge challenge to hold on to their customers in the face of competition from the new niche players, not least in managing and reducing the complexity of their current legacy infrastructure, let alone adding all these exciting new channels to the mix.

However, whatever we do with the technology, we have to make things easy for the customer and fit in to their lifestyle. If we can achieve that, then we will have found that elusive silver bullet.




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