Rick Brown, FinTech and Growth Advisor, shares his experiences from the recent New Zealand payments industry conference:
I recently attended The Point 2018, the bi-annual New Zealand payments industry conference hosted by PaymentsNZ. The event was a who’s who gathering of the NZ payments industry – from software vendors, terminal providers, payment schemes, regulators and banks – with FinTech rock stars Dave Birch and Chris Skinner thrown in for good measure. It’s a unique opportunity in our industry for connections to be made and new collaborations to be explored, and certainly it didn’t disappoint. Both conference days were full out take outs across different elements of the payments landscape. My highlights were:
Without a doubt, the key message which hit home for me was the industry guidance on Open Banking given by Minister Faafoi. The minister applauded the work done thus far with the PaymentsNZ pilot scheme. However he was very clear in offering a “carrot” (his words), that the industry had 12 months to show substantial further progress or a “stick” approach would be considered. Drawing from the work done by our friends over the ditch, he also stated that Open Banking progress in New Zealand should reflect the principals of the approach to Open Banking recently announced in Australia.
Dave Birch’s keynote drew on his UK Open Banking observations, and suggested that a rushed approach to Open Banking can result in potential unintended consequences. For example, rather than level the playing field in financial services, the European and UK regulators may have inadvertently handed our financial data (with our permission) to GAFA (or FATBAG in Asia Pacific) to monetise their customers even further. These mega-platforms have the risk of becoming even more powerful, with this information now available to them.
FinTech Innovation Challenge
Five finalists for the 2018 FinTech Innovation Challenge were selected from a total of 18 high calibre entries from Kiwi FinTech companies, and presented to the conference and a panel of judges.
The grand prize went to Banqer, who impressed the judges with their online financial education platform for primary and intermediate students.
Overall The Point 2018 was a highly successful event. The payments industry in New Zealand seems finally primed for step-change improvements in customer experiences enabled by great technology – as has happened in other markets. New Zealand consumers have already benefited from payment innovations in the Buy Now, Pay Later market with significant growth for the likes of PartPay, AfterPay and GenoaPay. FinTechNZ looks forward to playing a significant role in facilitating the co-creation of new payment products for New Zealand consumers and businesses through powerful collaborations between incumbents and start-ups.