2014 Money 20/20 Takeaways and Themes

The payments industry has many events and conferences promoting disruptive technologies and business models, but none promote the industry the way Money20/20 does. This past week, November 2-6, the payments industry gathered at the Aria Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas, NV to network, learn and promote payments and financial services.

Money20/20 has grown to a major industry conference that connects payments and commerce with mobile, retail, marketing services, data and technology. This year’s show was full of high-profile executives, tremendous exhibiting opportunities, and great lecturers. Merchant Warehouse attended the event and promoted new relationships with point-of-sale and mobile technology partners as well as our product suite.

This year, three major themes jumped out at me as topics the industry is really focusing on: digital currency, mobile app fragmentation and bundling payments with other services.

Battle of Bits and Coins

Last week, you couldn’t turn a corner without seeing clothing, or booth artwork without the words “Bit” or “Coin”. Digital currencies such as Bitcoin have created quite the stir in the payments industry and Money20/20 hosted a variety of companies interested in this new exchange platform. From companies looking to analyze market rates for digital currency, investors looking to invest in companies analyzing or manipulating digital currency or actual payment companies that are facilitating digital currency exchanges were abundant.

Mobile App Fragmentation

Mobile payments is not a new or surprising topic at Money20/20. However, Money20/20 had a unique way to let these payment and loyalty applications showcase the nuances of their platforms and technologies. One thing that stood out was that many companies are doing the same thing, but are developing different ways of doing them to create differentiation. There were countless mobile wallet and loyalty providers discussing how their solutions compared to some of the major players and applications already in the marketplace, even though many of them will either be bought or shut down by Money20/20 2015.

Not Just About Payments Anymore

I’ve been to a lot of events and conferences over the years. And one of the major shifts I’ve seen over the course of the last five years is that electronic payments are becoming less about the acutal payment. Computing and mobile technologies have made the transaction a very important interaction between the customer and the business, making the transaction increasingly more important to analyze and capitalize on. There were a myriad of data analytics, marketing services and consultants at this year’s conference, all with platforms and solutions designed to help retailers, point of sale software developers and payment companies create value with each payment transaction.

The variety of the types of companies and solutions that were on display at last week’s Money20/20 conference was more diverse than I’ve seen at most events. That’s part of the draw to Money20/20. Whether you are there to pitch investors, network, learn or simply exhibit, it’s evident the payments industry is on the rise and the opportunities are everywhere. Technological innovation and market pressures are causing a lot of disruptive businesses and products to enter the space, and that’s a good thing.