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Money 20/20 Europe 2024: main trends and highlights
From what AI is doing and can do for the money industry, to the current challenges of cross-border payments, check out the best discussions from the event.
Money 20/20 Europe 2024: main trends and highlights
Mariana González Senior Marketing Analyst – PagSeguro Mariana González

From the 4th to the 7th of June, Amsterdam hosted Money 20/20 Europe 2024, another extraordinary edition of the major financial event – which once again counted on PagSeguro as sponsors and attendees.

This year, besides connecting and reconnecting with industry partners and colleagues, our team also focused on providing an exclusive content coverage for our audience, taking the hottest discussions from Amsterdam to you. Besides curating the most relevant and common topics, we also imbued our coverage with our expertise and focus on Latin America and cross-border payments, providing an even deeper outlook for the event’s discussions.

Not surprisingly, the main topic at Money 20/20 Europe 2024 was Artificial Intelligence, more specifically, Generative AI. Besides the various panels focused on the subject, GenAI was also mentioned in pretty much all conversations – with the consensus that this technology presents extraordinary opportunities for the world of money, but companies must understand precisely how and when to implement it if they want to do more than just follow a buzzword. 

Other major discussions included the challenges of cross-border payments and remittances, why customer needs must be at the center of all strategies, the new scenario of anti-fraud processes, the current and future paths the industry strives for, and much more. So keep reading to dive into the best and most important conversations from Money 20/20 Europe: 

It’s all about AI 

As with pretty much every tech-focused event around the world right now, the hottest topic from Money 20/20's first day was Artificial Intelligence. Deepening the discussion, though, there's already a clear understanding that AI cannot be just a trendy buzzword for companies to try and leverage, but a strategically-applied technology that, when well used, can have business-changing results. 

AI is such a protagonist at Money 20/20 Europe 2024 that it makes an appearance throughout the entire show, no matter what the core subject is. After all, tech companies have already realized that having such a strong buzzword going around means a lot of actual potential developments and improvements, yes— but also that even if they don't see the value of investing in AI right now, their competitors and their customers are going to push them to. 

One key aspect in which financial companies see extraordinary value for AI is fraud prevention: as fraudsters evolve and catching them before the fact becomes more difficult, AI can help better understand the fraudsters' profile, behavior, and process. There's a downside to this, though — on one hand, AI is being successfully used to hinder fraudsters, but on the other, it's also being used by the fraudsters to improve their attempts. As usually happens with anti-fraud processes, it's essential to stay ahead of the other side and constantly evolve risk analysis to be able to avoid fraud without causing too much friction for valid customers. 

Another great highlight for the usage of AI for financial companies — and beyond — is the creation of hyper-personalized processes and services, offering innovative and "tailor-made" experiences for the customers through new ways of interacting with a product. Considering the heavy regulatory requirements and internal processes financial companies deal with, AI can allow businesses to offer flexible UX without losing the strong level of control the sector demands. 

All in all, the general consensus is that it's key to look at your customer's true expectations, consider their behavior and their requirements, to then apply AI to improve on their overall experience, strengthen anti-risk processes, and think about new products and perspectives with Artificial Intelligence that benefit your business and your audience beyond just being able to say you use AI. 

Are LLM & GenAI the solution to all our problems? 

As Money 20/20 concluded, it was clear that the biggest challenge in the world of finance right now is not really applying Generative AI, but fully understanding it as a business strategy — it’s the so called “current shiny thing”, what everyone is looking at, but... Is it truly the answer to any and everything? 

At least on the Money stages, companies seem to understand that no, it is not. GenAI and Language Learning Models are certainly revolutionary, offering major potential for business improvements and new products, but a lot of the time, “traditional” AI such as machine learning might be the best tool. Or even no AI at all. 

So how to decide between following the market trend or choosing the most suitable tech? The defining factor lies in another term that appeared throughout all Money panels: customer-centricity. By keeping customer needs and demands at the center of all business and product decisions, companies can define what truly matters, what shoul be the next steps, and what can/should be improved — and only then find the right technology to do that, not the other way around. 

With GenAI being such a huge trend, in time, customers will also become more mature in regards to it, and will be able to perceive which companies are applying it for true improvements, and which ones are just trying a more catchy sales argument. Besides, as the months pass and AI tech quickly evolves, the businesses using it strategically will reap greater results, thus creating even more of a distance between them and competitors using AI — or saying they use AI — for buzz's sake. 

There are a lot of challenges surrounding GenAI and LLM, but Money experts agree that the positive aspects definitely outweigh the risks. Thus, it is definitely high time for financial companies to dive into the tech and find the best ways to apply it, always considering which actual customer needs might be improved or solved with the support of Artificial Intelligence. 

Cross-border payments in a borderless world 

Year in, year out, cross-border payments remain a major topic — and a big challenge — for Money 20/20 attendees. After all, cross-border adds another layer of complexity to everything else related to money transactions, requiring also specific regulations, processes, and knowledge. That is one of the big things for PagSeguro at Money 20/20: to be able to share our expertise in Latin America and Latam's landscape and how local payment solutions can bridge the gap between what worldwide companies sell and how foreign customers can — and want to — pay. 

More broadly speaking, cross-border payments end up being mentioned in several panels, even if they are not the focus. After all, they present a great opportunity for companies to take their businesses further and to tap into new audiences, elevating sales growth but also presenting great new challenges. 

Relating to digital money, for example, cross-border transactions should stay focused, at least for now, in specific popular corridors instead of happening all around the world. 

The event’s cross-border discussions also centered on the fact that, while financial businesses have not traditionally been built for cross-border, today there is an entire landscape focused on that, opening the possibility of strategic partnerships to boost both parties. In this way, Europe-based institutions can count on cross-border businesses with deep local expertise, such as we at PagSeguro have in Latin America, to broaden the business' horizons and reach. 

Another key element of Money 20/20's cross-border discussions were remittances: all around the world, imigrants use remittances on a daily basis to support their families back home, a known use-case for remittances that make it an especially relevant market in Latin America, for example, a region where millions of people migrate to and from. 

On the enterprise side of remittances, there are more and more cross-border businesses around the world, providing services and employing people from one country to another; as well as, of course, a rising number of businesses focused specifically on Remittances as a Service (RaaS) and as a business model. 

The future of digital money 

CBDCs, stablecoins, bitcoin, blockchain... These words were all over Money 20/20, as digital money is definitely a key topic for the whole industry right now. With CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) mostly being developed in emerging economies and in China — Brazil's own Drex, for example, should not take too long to be released —, there are still a lot of questions regarding how widespread these currencies can become. 

One of the main worries is trust: digital currencies require a lot of data, data which the customers don’t necessarily want to share with the Central Bank — especially if they can't see outright value in it. So how can a balance be found? This is a major discussion happening at Money 20/20, with new insights certainly coming in the next few days as we dive deeper into this and other industry conversations. 

Keeping the focus on the customer 

At the end of the day, Money 20/20 Europe’s speakers agree that understanding and following the needs and the demands of the customers is what must drive all business strategies and choices, from when to use or not use GenAI to what new products to focus on. Here, it's important to also keep in mind at all times the core of the business, the company's values and what it strives for in the industry. 

With those things at the center, better decisions can be made — and Money 20/20 definitely sees a difference in AI and other innovations applied to improve the core business, or to benefit other processes that surround it. Each company must evaluate which path makes more sense at each moment: improvements to the core business are much more easily perceived by the end-customer, but strengthening "backstage" processes can free up more time and resources which, in turn, can go to focusing on the core. 

Robust, but still smooth: security for today and tomorrow 

Another major discussion going on around the whole event is centered on finding the balance between robust processes and smooth processes. On one hand, businesses must follow compliance requirements, fit into the evolving regulatory landscape, and stay ahead of fraudsters; on the other, they have to deliver ever-better UX, create differentials to stand out from competitors, and be able to process more and more transactions faster and faster to scale successfully. So how to balance all of those needs without hindering the flow? 

As today's panels highlighted, compliance is not letting down anytime soon — in fact, with new high-risk verticals such as betting taking center stage and the rising need for cross-border payments, among other evolutions, compliance demands just tend to become more strict. It's important, then, to understand compliance and regulation not as obstacles, but as key pillars of the financial industry, helping protect and keep the standard for companies and customers. 

Tokenization is being looked at by more and more companies, who turn to it as a way to better protect user and transaction data. Here, too, AI is a high hope, as it can help businesses understand fraudsters' profiles, create stronger anti-risk models, and better define what could be a fraud before it happens but without stopping legitimate customers and purchases. 

The industry reinventing itself 

Open Everything, Remittances as a Service, an urgent need to implement AI, new doors opened for partnerships between traditional businesses and fintech companies... This is definitely an exciting and challenging time for the money industry, which is reinventing itself to successfully keep up — and stay ahead — of customer, regulatory, and technological needs. 

At Money 20/20, it was clear how far the world of money has come: as the event closed down, there was a clear sense that the financial industry is going through a defining moment, with many topics that were seen as "the future" in previous years now a reality that have already led to material changes in the industry, such as tokenization, AI, Open Banking, and even instant payment methods. 

This moment of maturity also leads to bigger challenges, but the industry is definitely more capable than ever of overcoming them. Dealing with such challenges, which include for example economic instability and the risk of fraud, helps money businesses and professionals build resilience and a more robust financial ecosystem in the long run. 

With traditional institutions and the biggest banks in the world focusing more and more on innovative solutions, and with fintech companies stronger than ever, partnerships between them are still a great way of boosting opportunities, results, and possibilities in the world of money. 

The advancement of regulation has also helped push the industry to its current stage, both in terms of more secure processes for newer technology — as is the case of the importance of data protection norms related to AI — and in supporting a more standardized financial industry across different countries, a reality that should only become more and more prominent in the next few years. 

The Brazil benchmark 

Even if Money 20/20 Europe 2024's edition didn't feature specific panels focused on Brazil or Latin America, the region made quite a few appearances at the event's stages by being highlighted as a benchmark for financial innovation in regards to instant payments, data protection regulation, and Open Banking. 

PagSeguro's Head of Sales for Americas & EMEA Clarena Furtado discussed that when giving interviews for Let's Media and FinTech Magazine at Money 20/20 (stay tuned to their pages and to ours as well to watch the full interviews when they are released!). She talked about how there is a lot of interest in doing business in Brazil and Latam in general between the event's attendees, highlighting that Pix's extraordinary success in Brazil is not only pushing other Latin American countries to try and follow suit, but also established the real-time payment method released in November 2020 as the standard for RTPs worldwide. 

In turn, such an innovative landscape is opening Brazil more and more for high-profile, high-risk verticals, with betting apps being the greatest current example. The country has already released several norms related to sports gambling, with more to come, and PagSeguro is keeping up with that and focusing a lot on that industry — already with great success, as our case study with KTO shows. 

Money 20/20 Europe may be over, but our coverage carries on. Over the next couple of weeks, we will dive into specific subjects discussed at the event, combining them with our own expertise and outlook for the Latin American e-commerce and payments landscape.

So stay around and, to talk directly to our team about how we can help your business, click below to contact us:

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