Mobile Payments

And The Payments And Commerce Innovation Winners Are...

Awards Ceremonies look easy enough from the outside, but are a lot harder to do right than just getting attractive and talented people in a room, putting them in their evening wear finest and honoring them for their myriad achievements.

Sure, when it goes right, things look that easy — but when things go wrong … well, we all saw the Oscars this this year.  PricewaterhouseCoopers — after 83 consecutive years of tabulating the Academy  Awards without incident — managed to accidentally put the wrong card in Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway’s hands for the Best Picture award and … well the rest is YouTube history.

And, as America found out what actually happens when the wrong name gets read on stage, PwC found out what happens when Twitter decides to rename your firm — as our CEO (and former PwC employee) Karen Webster told those assembled at the Innovation Project’s annual awards dinner last night.

“PwC is now called Probably Wrong Card!”

Webster went on to promise no such snafus at the IP Awards, noting that her career at PwC was on the consulting side of the house — not the auditing side.

And on the whole, the Innovation Awards Gala at Boston’s famous Fenway Park didn’t quite have the “wrong card” drama that came included with the Oscars this year — but we are inclined to view that as a feature, not a bug.

Besides, what was on display at Fenway was much, much better than a chance to live on in infamy on social media for a few days — because for a few hours last night, the best minds in payments and commerce innovation, the stars of our show, had a chance to take the stage and show off for just a minute or two for the idea and experiments that are changing the world right now — or are going to be changing the world really soon.

Plus, we had Jason Alexander — AKA George from Seinfeld, AKA the man behind the fictional character who brought us such life-changing concepts as the Big Salad, the Fat Wallet and (PYMNTS' ongoing personal favorite) Festivus.

And it was in the spirit of Festivus that Alexander met the crowd at Fenway last night — ready, willing and more than able to begin a good-natured airing of the grievances about payments, commerce and the Innovation Project as a whole.

Alexander questioned, for example, how Adm. James Stavridis managed to build an entire fireside chat around “What a Cyber Pearl Harbor Means For Commerce,” since “we all have a pretty good idea of what Pearl Harbor meant to Pearl Harbor. I can’t imagine “commerce” having a terribly different outcome. So I’m assuming the Admiral comes in, sits by the fire and says, “It’s bad,” and that pretty much wraps it up. Not much of a chat.”

Alexander also had the reaction that most payments and commerce outsiders have when you explain the concept of bitcoin to them — and then invite them to a really in-depth conversation about digital currency.

“Did anyone seriously attend this? If so, I hope they confiscated everyone’s belts and shoelaces. Otherwise there would have been a rash of spontaneous hangings because swift, sweet death would be a far more welcome alternative to a blockchain conversation.”

On the one hand, it’s harsh.  On the other hand — having attended many in-depth blockchain conversations — well, it’s not the worst idea in the world, either.

And he also noted, before warmly congratulating the winners and ceding the stage to them, that everyone in attendance deserved a trophy — both for their dedication to their craft, and because they’d gone to so many strange sounding fireside chats.

Okay, so maybe payments and commerce can look a little strange from the outside in — but last night's awards were decided by the votes of all the participants’ peers, our panel of judges and more than 20,000 readers. From hundreds of submissions, the winners for 14 Innovation Award prize categories were drawn, including the “Most Innovative Payments Player” (tabulated correctly) as well as 5 special awards for innovators who’ve made unique contributions to PYMNTS and commerce.

So, sick of waiting to find out who took home Gold, Silver and Bronze? Well good news, the wait is over.

And the winners are...

Best POS Innovation
Bronze:  Razorpay

Silver: Alipay

Gold: First Data

Best B2B Innovation

Bronze: Marqeta

Silver: Flywire

Gold:  Amadeus

Best Cash Innovation

Bronze: dLocal

Silver: MoneyGram

Gold: Payment Source

Best Small Business Innovation

Bronze: Expensify

Silver: First Data

Gold: Payoneer

Best Prepaid Innovation

Bronze: Swych

Silver: Walmart

Gold: ADP

Best Credit Innovation 

Bronze:  Align

Silver:  TransUnion

Gold: MoneyLion

Most Invisible Innovation

Bronze: ModoPayments

Silver: Flywire

Gold: Android Pay

Best Comeback Story

Bronze: CardinalCommerce

Silver:  Magento

Gold: Upserve

The NACHA Best Innovation in ACH

Bronze:  Fiserv

Silver: Campus Scientific

Gold: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Best Merchant Solution

Bronze: Sweetgreen

Silver: Chick-fil-A

Gold: Amazon Dash

Best Debit Innovation

Bronze: PayNearMe

Silver: USAA

Gold: Chime

Best Newcomer

Bronze:  Blispay

Silver: Flutterwave

Gold:  DocuSign

Most Disruptive Company

Bronze: Samsung Rewards

Silver: Payment.Ninja


Most Innovative Player

Bronze: G2 Zelis Payments

Silver:  Amazon Alexa

Gold:  Loop Commerce

Special Awards And Honors
Matchmakers Award


Catalyst Award


Mike Duffy Award

Yvette Bohanan

Women Driving Innovation in Payments Award

Allison Guidette, G2 Web Services

Lifetime Achievement Award

Kenneth Chenault, American Express

The winners themselves, unsurprisingly, all expressed gratitude for their wins — and excitement for being part of what’s next in payments and commerce.

Some winners, however, had particularly notable remarks. The winner of the highly coveted Most Innovative award, Loop Commerce, saw its CEO and co-founder Roy Erez admit that while he is happy to have won, he is not quite sure how he will explain his victory to his ten year old son, since Loop managed to beat out Alexa.

We also had some genuinely thought-provoking and touching moments. Blake Hall, founder and CEO of — the firm that gook home gold for most disruptive company — told the assembled that “the whole market is bigger when you take the friction out of it.”

Allison Guidette, winner of the Women Driving Innovation in Payments award, dedicated her win to all the woman who will develop the technologies of the future.

And now, with all the awards given out and the innovators departing Boston with their hardware in hand, the real work begins.

Developing those technologies of the future.

And when they do, we’ll be back next year — to reward their efforts again.

If you were with us this year, thanks for coming.

If not, we hope you’ll join us in 2018.



Banks, corporates and even regulators now recognize the imperative to modernize — not just digitize —the infrastructures and workflows that move money and data between businesses domestically and cross-border.

Together with Visa, PYMNTS invites you to a month-long series of livestreamed programs on these issues as they reshape B2B payments. Masters of modernization share insights and answer questions during a mix of intimate fireside chats and vibrant virtual roundtables.

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