Welcome to our first issue of Tracking Payments. Working to drive demand for data-rich payments at 20022 Labs taught us that everyone involved in data-rich payments is overwhelmed with news, analysis and industry changes. If it’s not your full time gig, it’s impossible to track what’s important and stay ahead of the curve.
Since we’re following news on a daily basis, we’ve created a curated a “sports highlights” newsletter to keep you up-to-date on what’s most relevant. Read it over a cup of coffee.
If we can lighten the load for the bankers, payments and treasury geeks, software and infrastructure vendors, investors and entrepreneurs in our community...it’s a win. Any feedback is welcome.
IS CRYPTO FINALLY REAL?
Mastercard, PayPal and VISA are on track to give consumers and merchants the ability to transact in cryptocurrency by the end of 2021. My guess is that payment networks and banks will take their piece of the action regardless of whether transactions are in crypto or fiat. I wonder how this broad commercial support of crypto-based commerce will impact the rollout of central bank digital currencies.
A LEAP TOWARDS PAYMENTS CONVERGENCE:
VISA launched Direct Payouts to streamline disbursements for domestic and cross-border P2P, B2B and B2C use cases. A single connection to push real-time payments to billions of debit cards and bank accounts is an obvious win for businesses and Fintechs. I wonder what new competitive pressures and sense of urgency this leap towards converging card, ACH and cross-border payments will create for banks and other payment networks.
VC’S ARE FUNDING MARKET RESEARCH FOR BANKS:
A couple years ago Frank Rotman [twitter] of QED Investors released a great presentation about about how the manufacturing and distribution of financial services will be reshuffled in a digital world. He speculated a future state where:
Large Traditional Banks leverage their scale and regulatory expertise to manufacture best-in-class products.
General Population (‘GenPop') Banks distribute white-labelled best-in-class products in a conventional fashion.
Branded Non-Banks embed best-in-class products to add value for their customers.
Vertical Banks distributed white-labelled best-in-class products wrapped in a customer experience tailored to highly focused demographic or psychographic communities.
For the last 10 years, VCs have invested billions to “unbundle banks,” giving rise to open banking, banking-as-a-service, challenger banks and non-bank financial services from leaders like Amazon and Apple. In the time-honored tradition of VCs, they’ve effectively funded experiments to validate attractive and disruptive business models, then double down on winners.
Now, with a ton of new investments into niche challengers, we’ll finally see real-world data on whether vertical distribution represents the ultimate banking business model.
New niche challenger bank examples:
Laurel Road Bank - (Healthcare Professionals)
Daylight Bank - (LQBTQ+)
Greenwood Bank - (Black / LatinX) Raises $40M Series A
Majority Bank - (Immigrants)
H&R Block Digital Bank - (SMBs)
Walgreens Bank - (Walgreens/CVS customers)
Stripe Treasury - (Ecomm Merchants)
Step - (GenZ) Raised 50M series B
BankCal - (Underbanked) California Public Banking option
DATA-RICH PAYMENTS GO MAINSTREAM:
I was thrilled to see Raconteur, a mainstream source of analysis for business leaders, cover why data is the key to payments innovation. I guess everyone is just following the money given there are billions pouring into the payments space. Anytime mainstream media covers a narrative like this, it helps to educate boards and executives why seemingly arcane technical innovations are actually mission-critical for competitive advantage.
Accenture’s Payment Disruptability Index is a way to think about which payment products and geographies are at highest risk of disruption.
My buddy Zac Townsend at McKinsey penned a great summary of the Impact of Banking-as-a-Service and Embedded Finance for incumbent financial institutions.