We spoke to attendees at Money 20/20 to ask them their views on payment trends, predictions for the coming year and what the ideal payments ecosystem looks like.
Here’s our interaction with Peter Ohser, Executive Vice President-U.S. & Canada Operations of MoneyGram.
PYMNTS: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST TRENDS THAT YOU SAW IN 2015?
PO: The dialogue has shifted and you're seeing a lot more willingness and openness to collaboration amongst all the parties. The banks are realizing they can't do it themselves and they need partnerships. That's really for me is the biggest trend that's been building up and really came to a head this year as they look at all of the innovation that's going around them and recognizing they can't ignore it and they have to partner.
PYMNTS: WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR PAYMENTS FOR NEXT YEAR?
PO: I think, broadly as much as we think things are moving fast, they are not moving as fast as one imagines.
From a consumer perspective, I think, you are going to see some really interesting partnerships and collaborations. Some are going to fail miserably and some others are gonna come out and really be actually really good. It's going to be hard to sit on the sideline and pick which ones are going to actually work today.
I do think that in things like cross-border you are going to see more collaboration between the banks and the non-bank financial institutions because the banks can't or won't serve these customers — they have too many problems and they need partners to do those. I think you are gonna see some of that evolve so they can reach and provide the customers services versus letting them go off and be fragmented across other fintech companies. I think they are going to embrace collaboration with some restrictions just about how they can manage those pieces.
Moving forward, I believe, customer behavior is going to evolve development of payment methods. Customers don't necessarily want to be disrupted.
PYMNTS: HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE AN IDEAL PAYMENTS SYSTEM?
PO: Everyone thinks that blockchain has this great promise because you can create an open platform. I tend to be a naysayer on it because I don't believe that everyone's going to want to play in a single open environment. I think from a regulation purpose and a variety of other things, it's a utopia at this point and I don't think it's reality. When you really understand what the restrictions and burdens of compliance regulatory environment impose on the larger financial institutions - I just don't see it happening so I actually think you are going to see continued fragmentation and you are going to see a lot of pieces. But I would argue that we are probably near the peak of the hype cycle of fintech and I think you are going to see some shake out on what's real and what's not real. There's a lot of money being put into it and a lot of money being wasted. ... Innovation is good, R&D is good, people trying to do things, but it's not the technology anymore. It's consumer behavior and it's the model, and people still haven't figured out what is the model and what really needs to be done to make life easier.
I think, if I was to look at '16 going into '17, we are going to start to see some of the shakeout. I think we are near the peak of the hype cycle. Money will get smarter!
Peter Ohser works as the executive vice president, US & Canada operations for MoneyGram International, a money transfer company based in the United States with headquarters in Dallas, Texas.