News and resources on payments systems, innovations and initiatives worldwide.
Money 20/20 EU: When payments become an experience

Money 20/20 EU: When payments become an experience

Finextra caught up with Scarlett Sieber, chief strategy and growth officer at Money 20/20, and Sophie Guibaud, co-founder and chief commercial growth officer at Fiat Republic, to discuss the launch of their book 'Embedded Finance: When Payments Become An Experience.'

Why did you decide to write a book on embedded finance?

Sieber: “I would say that embedded finance is applicable to people who probably didn’t think it was applicable to them. We both knew for different reasons in different parts of our lives that we wanted to write a book. We scanned the market and there wasn’t anything on it, and it was such an important topic.”

Guibaud: “My perspective, from 10 years in financial services, is that this is something that was meant to happen, and is already happening, but people really have not yet realised. Thinking of, for instance, when you pay a toll with your car - it’s an instant payment, you don’t have to stop. That’s embedded finance and people don’t think about it. We saw the results with companies like Grab and Shopify, and when we realised that financial services were more than 50% of their revenue we were just like ‘wow’ the opportunity is huge. It's definitely a story we wanted to tell for people in their day to day and how he's going to impact it, but also for brands and retailers.”

Sieber: “We interviewed more than 30 people on the record across the globe, but then also 20+ off record. There were some things that were almost gems that you would pull from one and say ‘this is amazing’, but in general there was a lot of consistency and repetitiveness. It was not a one off, this is a movement and now is the time.”

What impact does embedded finance have on our current society and financings? What might happen in the future?

Sieber: “It has a huge impact on day to day. I had a session [at Money 20/20] with retailers, and it’s funny because as an ex-banker we talk a lot about customer experience, but embedded finance actually has the ability to make people’s lives better. It’s not the first time, but one of the most monumental times where through providing consent to offer a better service, you’re going to make their lives better. It can be as basic as, for example, if I’m shopping in a physical store, and then that experience follows me online, or I’m shopping online and that experience follows me in store, so you’re not repeating the whole thing over. To much more impactful things such as large parts of the world where they still don’t have bank accounts, but they can use other data sources to get access to financial services.”

Guibaud: “I think a big point we have made is on financial inclusion. Giving the ability for people who are underbanked to get access to banking when they need it, specifically gig workers […] Companies, like we have seen with Shopify, giving a bank account when you want to open a shop, results in financial forecasting for the next three years. So there is this element where not everybody can create a business plan and this has been a way of providing easier access.”

Sieber: “If you if you think about the role of traditional financial services, it's around risk mitigation. I mean, their business models are baked around that. So naturally, they have to be more cautious when they think about things. The example of Uber goes back to the data piece. Uber knows that Sophie drives five days a week, and she typically drives for 10 hours a day, and she has typically makes this amount of money and she's been driving with us for 18 months. So they know she probably needs a new car or whatever else. They would be in the best position to offer her that loan to get a new car or to get a tune up or whatever it is, because of that data piece.”

How do you think embedded finance might evolve over the next few years?

Guibaud: “The way we see it, it is really a multitude of wallets and payment experiences that basically happen without you having to think about it. We have done a fair amount of interviews where people converged on this multitude of wallets and instant savings, or trading - whether it’s crypto or fiat. Everything is optimised but without you having to do your personal finance management if you don’t want to. In the end it’s financing when you need it, but without having to think about it. So this is really a seamless experience.”

Sieber: “What does that look like in practice? Most people have multiple cards and multiple ways of payment. But your card should be telling you that if you're at a specific grocery store, they should actually be giving you $3 for $1. This card is automatically being used. […] It's not for us to decide, your payments should do it for you. But when there are bigger, more important purchases, with actual impacts on your life, they'll still consult with you. So it's not as though you're completely out of it when it's necessary and relevant, you'll be part of it. And when it's not relevant, when you just take the different data points, they will automatically do what's most relevant for you. That actually is advantageous and helps you have the best financial position you could possibly have.”

Comments: (0)