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Money20/20 Europe 2019 - The Royale with Cheese

Blog written by Andrew Jamieson

It may well be incorrect, but I just naturally assume everyone has seen Pulp Fiction. It’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly a classic of its genre.  Given the assumption you have seen it, you will remember that in that film, there is a scene where John Travolta’s character is explaining how Amsterdam is different to the US in subtle ways – highlighted specifically in reference to the way burgers are named.  It’s not a ‘Whopper’, it’s a Royale with Cheese.

Money20/20 Europe is kind of like that.

Burgers - Royal Cheese

As I write this, I have just finished attendance at this year’s Money2020 Europe event, hosted in Amsterdam.  It was as always a wild show, from the world-class networking through the talks to the after-parties that took over first a park and then a whole street in Amsterdam.  But getting back to that tasty burger; the European Money20/20 is quite different to the event in other parts of the world.  Each location has it’s own specific bent, an overarching thread that is most common between the discussions and booths and panel conversations, and this year for me it was what I am going to call ‘Assumed Commerce’.

Juniper Berries from a Juniper Berry Bush

So what do I mean about this term ‘assumed commerce’?  Well, it’s about how payments is no longer a feature or an added extra – it’s an assumption.  Of course it does payments, now tell me what else it does.  Car payments? Sure.  IoT payments?  Naturally.  Different payment channels?  Always.  Real-time payments?  Must be.

Secure payments?  That’s just assumed.

Assumed payments is underlined by open banking, but it’s not just open banking.  It’s about payments everywhere, in a way that builds a platform for other services.  It’s about payments as a platform, not so much payments as a service but payments facilitating other services.  Many of the major booths at Money20/20 Europe - booths for companies that have been in the payments industry for years and who help drive payments globally - had very little detail or information about actual payments on them.  It was about other services, other features, what you can do with the payments that they of course facilitate. 

At Money20/20, the largest payment conference we have, no one actually wanted to talk about payments.


But assumptions can get us into trouble, if we don’t validate them.  As noted at the start of this blog, I assume you have seen many pop culture films, and if you have not it means that my references mean very little to you.  This is a small impact, of course, but in payments assumptions can get us into much more trouble.  

How do we know that our assumed payments are working correctly?  How do we know they are secure?  Our customers are assuming that’s the case, but we certainly should not.

Panel discussion on Money20/20 Europe stage

During the conference, I personally sat on two panels, one about cybersecurity and another about payment fraud. Both stimulated very interesting discussion amongst the panelists and the audience members who were there.  However, through these discussions it was noted that many of the assumptions we’re making are invalid. 

The current deadline for PSD2 compliance?  Unachievable. 

Can we stop fraud?  No, just move it around. 

Is Open Banking the future? Well, 90% of the audience thought it was the future of fraud...

Facilitating the World of Assumed Commerce

So what does this mean for our assumptions about payments?  When you get into your car to drive somewhere, do you worry about the car not starting or about the steering wheel not working correctly?  Do you worry about your mobile phone battery exploding when you’re charging your phone? 

Generally, you don’t give these things a second thought. You assume they will work, they will work correctly and they will work safely.  That’s where standards and testing come in, and that’s where UL comes in.  Our role is in facilitating and validating your assumptions so you can get on with whatever your core business is about. So you can go on about your day safely and securely, with everything working as it should around you.

As we move into the world of Assumed Commerce, UL is there too.

What assumptions have you made today?  Let us help you with that.