Money 20/20 has become fintech’s answer to the Consumer Electronics Show: a high-profile opportunity for companies to unveil major new products.
This year’s blockbusters were fewer and further between—in fact, some of the big companies’ main stage presentations veered perilously close to infomercials.
But there were several interesting developments worth following:
Uber moves into credit cards
In conjunction with Barclays, Uber will begin roll out of a no-fee credit card this week, entirely through its app.
The 4/3/2/1 rewards format appears well aligned to Uber’s broader goals:
Uber aims to deliver a steady stream of feel-good benefits rather than encouraging saving for the big splurge. The package also includes (with some restrictions) mobile device damage protection and a $50 annual credit toward online subscription fees.
It strikes me as a compelling offer and an intriguing play for Uber, which already knows a bit about its consumers’ card use and stands to gather a lot more data.
With the Chase Sapphire card scaling back its rewards, it’ll be interesting to watch how this one resonates with Uber’s demographic.
Intuit bundles its data assets
In a move many have anticipated since its acquisition of Mint, Intuit announced plans to leverage its TurboTax and Mint info to deliver a financial health metric and service branded as Turbo.
Part of the plan appears premised on driving greater user engagement for TurboTax, which enjoys extremely high brand recognition but whose traffic is confined mostly to the spring.
Intuit touts opportunities for financial institution partners to leverage the resulting data for highly targeted marketing campaigns. Visit myturbo.com for details.
FitBit mounts an Apple Pay challenge
In promoting its new smart watch, FitBit seemed to position itself as the Samsung Pay-like counter to Apple Pay in the wearable space.
FitBit Pay promises compatibility wherever contactless payments are accepted.
And in an apparent swipe at Apple (yes, that’s a pun) FitBit pointedly noted that its model requires no fees or revenue share from the financial institutions.
FitBit faces an uphill battle, but possesses some decent assets.
Apple Pay launches a cash card
Apple made its first-ever appearance on the Money 20/20 stage this year. The departure from Apple Pay’s usual media-averse approach comes as its initial three-year financial institution contracts near expiration, which is probably no coincidence.
Apple touted some impressive stats (50% of US retail locations enabled, 90% of all contactless transactions are Apple Pay) and promoted the value of order-ahead capability for quick-serve restaurants (McDonalds is integrating Apple Pay into its mobile app).
Apple also demonstrated streamlined in-message P2P payment capabilities and announced an Apple Pay Cash Card designed to make accumulated balances more exchangeable—and, therefore, more appealing.
N26 comes to the U.S.
Although it didn’t enjoy main-stage exposure, this news may carry the most immediate implications for credit unions.
As TechCrunch first reported, European Union (EU) fintech disruptor N26 plans to launch its digital banking model in the U.S. by mid-2018.
The startup has a banking license in Europe, but plans to leverage MasterCard and a U.S. banking partner for its initial stateside foray (think of Simple’s pre-BBVA days).
N26 has gained solid traction in the EU and believes its model addresses an even more acute U.S. pain point, so this one is worth monitoring.
Later this week, my third and final Money 20/20 recap will focus on some useful new industry research shared at the show.
GLEN SARVADY is managing partner at 154 Advisors and senior payments expert with Best Innovation Group, a CUNA consulting partner. Follow him on Twitter via @154Advisors. His views do not necessarily reflect those of Credit Union National Association.