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Financial Solutions
14 Mar 2017

Fintech @ MWC: the future will be here sooner than you think

Technology is one of the most powerful driving forces for change in our finance industry. That has never been so obvious as at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month, where I got to see tech and trends that will be changing your business and your life for years to come.

MWC is the largest get-together for the global mobile tech industry, bringing together manufacturers and vendors, operators, technology and service providers and innovators for a hectic four days. With our focus here at Arvato Financial Solutions on convenience in every transaction, it was a great opportunity for me to see what some of the other leading players in the industry – and a lot of smaller, more nimble players – are doing and planning.

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One of the biggest issues was the continuous struggle between a simpler user experience and greater security. We all want things to work simply and smoothly, but as our CEO Jan Altersten pointed out, they have to be safe and secure. One aspect of this was a clear differentiation between levels of security in transactions offline and online, such as three-factor authentication (3D Secure) versus new “selfie” payments that use a selfie photo and facial recognition tech for payments for small-ticket items such as coffee, pizza, books etc.

Similar mobile security solutions were everywhere, using technology such as iris scanning, fingerprint, push messages, facial recognition, PIN codes with SMS, and selfies – often combined for two-factor or three-factor identification.

The mobile device was naturally at the heart of many of the innovations on show, with mobile payment solutions using barcodes, contactless technology – such as NFC (which also powers our AfterPay Fast Track solution), HCE (host-card emulation), BLE (Bluetooth Low-Energy) and beacons – as well as the use of SIM and virtual credit cards.

Smartphones will be used to prove identity for microloans, not just online but also at point of sale.  And of course, mobile channels were also at the centre of new ways to improve customer loyalty and retention, increase sales and provide a better user experience.

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Payments combining mobile and other technologies were also on show, including various ways to tap & pay using a smartphone-payment terminal combo, with systems such as NFC, Bluetooth, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, MasterPass and so on. As mentioned above, lots of companies were demonstrating HCE, as well as EMV bypassing, for alternative payment methods, along with tokenisation of cards.

Keep an eye out for wallet solutions expanding to more devices than phones and tablets, such as wearables. And you can also expect more P2P money transfer and private banking services, using both mobile devices and even dedicated off-line payment devices, allowing users to add multiple cards.

To sum up, Barcelona had a bit of everything you could imagine. Or maybe not everything… I didn’t see any solutions like the one that we will be launching with a major Finnish client this autumn. Together with our client, we will introduce a completely new way to pay. It needs no special technology or gadget, yet is extremely safe for both the merchant and for the consumer. But for now, you will just have to be patient.  Sometimes the future has to stay in the future for a little while.

– Jouko Tossavainen

Business Development Manager,  Arvato Financial Solutions Finland

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