A point-of-sale for credit cards symbolizing the developments in the digital payment industry of 2019

2019: The Year in Payments

Matthias Gall, co-founder of trimplement
Matthias Gall looks back on the developments in payments of 2019

When I sat down to write my article on innovation in fintech and payments last year, I was a little disappointed about what I saw in Europe, as you can probably tell from the article. I decided to look somewhere else instead and found more innovation on the African continent.

This year, though, things are looking a bit different: pressure to innovate keeps rising in Europe. When it comes to payments in Europe, there might be light at the end of the tunnel.

Let’s start with one theme that manifested itself throughout the last couple of years.

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A person holding a credit card facing an online marketplace, symbolizing online payment and the payment gateways in charge of the transfer

How to Build a Payment Gateway: Definitions and Central Questions

Digital platforms are the go-to spots for e-commerce – and terminals for countless payment transactions. Online marketplaces like Amazon or Alibaba present themselves as the popular top dogs in this area. But they only compose a fraction of the platform economy. 

Today’s online marketplace platforms offer goods, services, jobs, and business partners. And then, we’ve said nothing about comparison portals like Check24. They browse external platforms to find the best offers, acting as “meta marketplaces” of a kind. 

But whatever platform you use: The point will come when you will have to pay for what you have obtained. At this point, Payment Service Providers and Payment Gateways make their appearance. It’s their job to detect fraud and validate the purchasing agreement. And ultimately, to debit your account and move your money – in the virtual as well as the physical sphere.  

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A car's dashboard, with the number 2019 stuck to it, symbolizing the automotive market of the year 2019 in this review article.

2019: The Year in Automotive

Photo of Thijs Reus, co-founder of trimplement
Thijs Reus looks back on the automotive developments of 2019

Sometimes, things take longer than expected. 

In my 2018 review, I have hinted at how PSD2 and GDPR would ring in a new, more dynamic era of fintech, filled with opportunities. And then again it didn’t. The PSD2 deadline has been expanded, as banks and other financial companies have kicked the adaption of their systems and services down the road, so to say.

In the meantime, BigTech companies like Google, Alibaba or Apple cement their market position with their own smart payment solutions.

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A picture of a waiting area at the FinTech Connect 2019 conference in London

FinTech Connect 2019 – Our Experiences

When you are browsing the net for a list of attractive fintech and banking locations around the globe, you will surely find London at the top end. It’s not only where Big Ben shakes its clapper but also where Big Tech and Big Finance shake hands. 

A few weeks ago, we set out to the capital of the UK to do very much the same, to network with the European fintech scene and present our software products and services. The occasion: The FinTech Connect 2019 conference.

To state it right away: The connection buildup proceeded well, but not without a few issues. Time to give FinTech Connect 2019 a run-down. 

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A world map with a paper ship, symbolizing the world of payment.

Payment Around the World – Part 3

Asia, India, the Middle East

Payment around the world – where were we? In the previous articles of this series, we devoted ourselves to different payment landscapes of the globe. And with the trends and challenges, we found there.

But no matter which region we looked at: All of them stood on the verge of digital transformation or have crossed that line. China and the USA press ahead in terms of payment innovation, as we have seen in our second article. In other countries, digital payments are still in the process of taking hold in the populace. The changes they bring have already become apparent. Digital payment services play the role of an equalizer, especially for the unbanked people. Developments in Africa‘s and Latin America’s payment landscape, as detailed in the first article of this series, stand as an example for this.

We will see if those tendencies manifest in the last waypoints of our journey, too. So, let’s move on, shall we?  

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A picture of two piggy banks, symbolizing financial literacy and financial education in Germany

More Than Pocket Money – Financial Education in Germany

Financial education. It starts with simple questions. Just like this one:

For her 9th birthday, Emma asks her parents to put money on a savings account, instead of buying her presents. She rather wants to celebrate her next birthday in style, with party assets worth 200€. At a yearly interest rate of 5%, how many Euros must be put into the account to fulfill Emma’s birthday wish?

Sound familiar, such questions, right? We all had to answer a fair share of them in math class during 8th grade. Looking at them today, they still are tricky to answer for many of us. And you would have to explain your child, that putting €4000 on a savings account tears a big hole in your financial planning. And only under the premise that you would find a bank providing 5% interest on savings accounts. Which you wouldn’t. Emma, who already showed prudence in her financial behaviour not normally seen in her contemporaries, still has to face some hard truths.

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A compass resting on a world map, symbolizing the world of payment

Payment Around the World – Part 2

USA, Canada, Australia, China

When exploring the payment preferences of the world, you have to go places. In the first part of our article series, those places were Europe, Russia, Latin America, and Africa.

The takeaway: Hard cash dies hard in many parts of the world like Germany, Hungary, Russia, and Brazil. But digital payment services have taken up the fight. They give new options to emerging countries with vast numbers of unbanked people. Mobile access to finances and digital-only money accounts help integrate the unbanked, so they can become proactive contributors to the financial system.

But it’s a large world with a great number of payment landscapes still waiting to be sketched. In this article, we will take a good look at the clashing fintech forerunners USA and China, as well as Canada and Oceania. So, let’s go!

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A neobank building and an old bank building facing each other

Opinion: Neobanks vs. Old Money – How Traditional Banks Can Cope

Matthias Gall gives his opinion on how banks can cope with neobanks.

Times change. We thought we had already seen the Last Unicorn in the 1980s. But in the finance industry, the unicorns are alive and well. And what’s more: They keep multiplying. N26 is one of the latest additions to the herd. The German company acquired more than 300 million dollars in its most recent financing round. Now N26‘s company value is estimated at 2.7 billion dollar.

Good preconditions to shake the digital banking sphere to its very foundations. And the traditional banks? They rely on strategies that were last seen in the 80s, too. Although they have the potential to do much more.

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Picture of an ATM which is out of service, a symbol how Google Pay threatens banks and fintechs

Google Pay: Nuisance for Banks, Nightmare for Fintechs

When pondering on digital transformation in the financial industry, one quote by Bill Gates comes to mind. Admit it, you know which one. It just fits perfectly, as we see tech giants leave their mark with emoney payment solutions like Google Pay and Apple Pay. Bill Gates said: 

We need banking, but we don’t need banks anymore

He said this in 1994. The millennial generation probably did not listen to his words back then – living the kid life requires full attention. But today, millennials resonate very much with Gates’ words. According to research by Global Banking Insights, at least one-third of all US millennials believe that they will soon live a life without banks. 

And they might have a point. The number of customers inclined to use online banking services has doubled over the last 10 years. As a result, the demand for digital finance applications increases — and quite a few banks struggle to deliver on that front. The internet is not their native environment. Fintech companies try to capitalize on this, using their technological expertise to disrupt the tried and true ways of banking.

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