Savings, virtual assistants, digital wallets, Blockchain...
- At the forefront is the boom in automated savings solutions in the United States, especially via mobile devices. A leading example is Acorns, which rounds up customers’ credit card spending to the nearest dollar and puts the difference in a savings account. Launched just a few years ago, it now has nearly one million users and investments of close to USD 150 million.
Another example is Digit, which processes small amounts of surplus cash from customers’ current accounts automatically, generating more than USD 125 million in savings.
- Another major trend: the arrival of Chinese
payments players in the United States. Alipay, a subsidiary of e-commerce giant
Alibaba with 450 million active users, announced at Money 20/20 that it expects
to reach 2 billion active users in the next decade. Alipay has also signed an
agreement with First Data and with Verifone, a leader in payment terminals in
the US, regarding Clover point of sale terminals. It’s an initiative
reminiscent of similar operations that are already in place in Europe, with Ingenico or Wirecard. It will
make it possible to process the transactions made by the approximately 120
million Chinese tourists who travel each year, 2 million of whom visit the
United States, with average spending of between USD 500 and 3,500 each.
- Virtual assistants, such as Bank of America’s Erica, are also arriving on the US banking scene. Its interface is very similar to those used by Chatbot and Siri. It uses artificial intelligence and will advise customers based on their financial position. Customers will be able to interact with the assistant through both text and voice commands and through the bank’s mobile app. The assistant will also be proactive, and will offer analyses of customers’ spending patterns, as well as individual financial advice. The release date is scheduled for the first quarter of 2017.
- Another notable trend is the development of retailer-specific digital wallets in the US by players such as Walmart and Kohl’s, a department store retail chain, which allow their customers to register their payment methods, promotional offers and discount coupons in a mobile app. The aim is to facilitate the transition of cardholders to the retailers’ new mobile solutions.
- The market is also seeing a significant rollout of Blockchain technology among major financial services players. Visa and Chain unveiled the launch of the “Visa B2B Connect” payment network, based on the expertise of Chain, a startup in which Visa has been an investor since 2015.
The Group, partner of Business France
Money 20/20 was also an opportunity to highlight the Business France partnership with BNP Paribas, Bank of the West, BNP Paribas’ retail bank in France, and L’Atelier BNP Paribas. These Group entities are joining forces to support Business France in its networking efforts on behalf of French startups.
This partnership is part of BNP Paribas’ ongoing work to support innovation through continuous innovation products and through practical programmes such as Innov&Connect, the International Hackathon (unavailable link) and the FinTech Accelerator by L'Atelier BNP Paribas. (unavailable link)
It is worth adding that 2 startups accelerated in Wai Paris, one of the 2 places dedicated to innovation by BNP Paribas in France, were present in the selection of Business France, as part of the partnership with BNP Paribas : it was Tapbuy, offering a 100% optimized shopping experience, and Antelop, providing mobile means of payment cards issuers.