The future is open: say experts at Payments NZ conference

5 Jul 2018

Media release

The world is moving rapidly toward a more open financial system – but we need to be careful of the risks and unintended consequences of these changes.

That’s the overarching message from The Point 2018, Payments NZ’s biennial conference, which brought together payments experts from around the world to Auckland last week.

Steve Wiggins, chief executive of Payments NZ, said the conference was Payments NZ’s most successful yet.

“We had more than 360 people attend the various conference sessions from over 120 organisations. They listened to 45 speakers from five continents give regulatory, industry and future-focused perspectives on our industry - where we are, and where we’re going.”

Wiggins said the payments ecosystem was changing at an unprecedented rate.

“We are committed to ensuring there is a deep understanding of these changes, and what they mean for Kiwis. Our conference, and its speakers, have contributed significantly to sharing that knowledge.”

Independent author and commentator Dave Birch, an international keynote speaker at the conference, noted that with open banking currently a hot topic in New Zealand, the wider business industry needed to have important conversations about data access and sharing or face having the same issues as the UK when open banking was introduced earlier this year. Industry events like The Point were crucial to help foster collaboration and innovation at a broader level.

“I take my hat off to Payments NZ. Not only did they create a conference with a great programme, but one with a great atmosphere. This meant a very high level of interaction and learning, which I greatly enjoyed,” said Birch.

Financial blogger and author Chris Skinner spoke about the “re-bundling” of fintech, as traditional business models are subverted and financial institutions move to becoming co-creators with tech startups and whiz kids, like Stripe.

The rise of open data and open API environments will mean consumers move on to a “buffet” style of financial services in future rather than the traditional “set menu”, and the choice the industry now faces is whether they want to be the grasshopper (waiting for regulators to tell them what to do) or the ant (planning ahead and preparing for the future), said TESOBE/the Open Bank Project’s chief operating officer Ismail Chaib.

Other themes that emerged during the conference included the need to balance regulation and innovation, the opportunities and complexities surrounding digital ID, the augmented reality future, increasing attention on financial inclusion, blockchain and cross-border payments, and the future of the checkout experience.