The Payments Innovation Jury Report sheds light on the state of the FinTech industry in 2015, from those on the inside, and dispels any hype with candid perceptions on where the biggest opportunities lie. This year’s report was sponsored by Currency Cloud, Ixaris and WorldRemit.
The Jury is comprised of 40 uniquely qualified individuals from 23 countries across six continents. Unlike many payments commentators, every Juror has been there and done it before – these are the opinions of FinTech founders and CEOs of the most successful businesses in the sector.
What’s interesting is that the area in need of most innovation, according to the jury, is the B2B space. The jury wholeheartedly agree that SMEs who require international payments technology would really benefit from disruption. However, there are well established businesses helping to provide this service, including our clients Kantox and Currency Cloud. It seems that all the right elements are there; the competition and the infrastructure, so why aren’t more FinTech startups rising to the challenge?
The jury are not enamoured with Apple Pay. While the tech giants are starting to make a play for acquisitions in the FinTech market, they are far from exciting the jury with their own innovations. The majority of the jury believe that Apple Pay is over-hyped due to the significance of the Apple brand, but ultimately it’s an unremarkable product. Saying that, the in-app functionality is impressive and most jurors had to concede as much. It’s hard to knock Apple completely, so the jury is still out on where Apple Pay will be in a few years’ time; shelved entirely or a major player.
For those of us working in FinTech, it will come as no surprise that the availability of low cost smartphones will be the single biggest enabler for driving adoption of Mobile Money. Very few Mobile Money schemes have yet to become profitable, but this could come full circle within the next couple of years. There are still billions of ‘unbanked’ people (i.e. without bank accounts) in the world, predominantly in developing economies. Of the worlds unbanked, most will own a mobile phone. The World Bank reports that Mobile Money has helped significantly to increase financial inclusion across the developing world. In Kenya more than half of adults who pay utility bills use a mobile phone to do so!
The key takeaway here, though, is that the legacy systems in Europe and America – i.e. our dilapidated banking systems – are leaving us lagging behind the developing nations of Asia and Africa. The European banking systems really are the ball and chain of the continent. It’s about time we swallowed our pride and learned something from the innovators in emerging markets.
Download the full report here.