Jesse McWaters, Mastercard’s vice president of global digital public policy, believes the way people think about Big Tech companies entering financial services are mistaken.
Big Tech companies are not looking to enter financial services from the point of view of becoming a bank or offering a credit card. They are looking for other ways to serve their customers who need financial services as part of their everyday experience.
An example may be the credit card Mastercard launched last year in partnership with Apple and Goldman Sachs.
“They think about financial services using a very old school legacy picture of what organisations look like,” McWaters says.
“They imagine Google or Amazon becoming a bank, but that’s not how I think about the future of financial services.”
McWaters believes financial services have three distinct but interconnected layers.
At the top, there is the customer experience, creating an intelligent advisory service with product recommendations that bring value.
Beneath that are the products, with an emphasis on creating tailored products that meet the needs of certain niche groups of the customer base.
At the base is the infrastructure that everything else rides upon, helping to improve scalability and drive down costs.
Tech players are going to play a role in each of those layers, as they indeed already do, with Amazon Web Services providing cloud services and Apple or Google enabling next generation payment experiences.
“The question isn’t whether Big Tech will play a role, it’s more what permutations are going to exist across those layers,” McWaters says.
“How will banks, fintechs and tech players come together and who’s going to sit at the top of the podium? We know it will be down to use of data, engaging user experiences and exceptional management of risk, but it’s still unclear how the pre-existing conditions and regulatory structure of different countries will determine how it all plays out.”