Money20/20: Day Three Summary


On the final day in Amsterdam at Money20/20 Europe buy now, pay later (BNPL) and talent drove the agenda.

The Pandemic precipitated a global questioning of the relevance of traditional office work, ushering in “The Great Resignation”. The ability to work remotely has provided a green field opportunity for upskilling and career recalibration and certain sectors, like FinTech, have been taking advantage of hiring talent that traditional sectors are leaving behind. This panel expored the new and exciting opportunities for advancement, retraining, and fresh starts for individuals as well as the impact new talent can have on the FinTech sector including empowering industry growth and igniting talent acquisition from untraditional sources.

As mentioned in our day two blog, the financial services industry is in the middle of a cultural revolution where the traditional command-and-control structure of banking and finance are being challenged by employees who want to work for less rigid and structured organisations. In addition, the quest for talent is being challenged by shifting priorities away from remuneration towards intangibles like company purpose, role scope and satisfaction. Those who make the move are more likely to have better pay, improved work-life balance and flexibility and more opportunities for advancement at their new job, so the smartest FinTech employers will be those that recognise the shift towards employee needs and embrace this new normal in the future of work. 

Last month, the UK’s financial regulator reaffirmed its position on BNPL products and prepares to clamp down on the fast-growing sector with regulation. Chaired by Louise Maynard-Atem from GBG, on interesting panel on the final day of Money20/20 looked at the explosion in popularity of BNPL and what regulation of the sector could actually look like. As the market matures and becomes more competitive, differentiation will occur, and with that there’s concern and opportunity in the appeal and growth of the product vs. legislation and financial responsibility. 

There’s no escaping that BNPL is a growth space and a product that customers love but a proportion of customer outcomes are not as positive as people think. Affordability and transparency were two areas that the panel highlighted as needing more work, in addition to education of customers that were taking on debt. By bringing BNPL into a more structured and regulated credit model the hope is that protection will be given to the end customer whilst not limiting access to debt products. The panel agreed that BNPL access has to come down to how people are informed upon entering into a credit agreement but there isn’t always transparency, particularly for younger generation, who might not be as educated on using credit products. 

Overall, responsibility lies not only with BNPL firms but also regulators and retailers. An ecosystem exists around BNPL and therefore there’s joint responsibility for all players to make the BNPL environment more robust and transparent.

In April, Paysend launched its own pay later option (read more here) to give eligible users - based on Paysend’s own credit scoring system - 100 GBP to immediately spend on purchases with their Paysend card anywhere Mastercard is accepted, online or offline. Eligible customers can start using the product without an external credit check, which may harm their credit score, and will not be charged interest on whatever they have spent from their Pay Later account. Also, unlike many other pay later services, like those offered during online checkout, customers can improve their credit score through timely repayments on a bi-weekly basis.

The final panel covered financial inclusion and the notion that when the underserved and underbanked become a core market, financial inclusion can flourish. But what does this mean for emerging markets, where there has been much discussion set against increased divisions, and little movement forward. The panel, led by Carolyne Gathinji from McKinsey, discussed growth and expansion of digital transformation in developing markets and the new generation of banked consumers. 

The panel stressed importance of merchants in adoption of digital payments - if merchants are unable to receive money digitally then there’s no incentive for customers to change behaviour and people will still rely on physical cash for their transactions. If the right opportunities are not given to customers to digitize their cash then they won’t do it, so markets have to go through the challenge of complexity in order to reap rewards, as well as provide an omnichannel approach between physical cash and digital cash options to help customers on that evolutionary path.

In what was a high energy and hugely informative event we were reminded of the importance of personal interaction and face-to-face engagement. We would like to thank all of those that took the time to meet with us and look forward to continuing the discussions over the coming weeks. We hope to see you again for Money20/20 in Las Vegas later this year, if not sooner!