Mobile World Congress 2016: FinTech Highlights

by Vaida Pakulyte on Feb 26, 2016

The Mobile World Congress wrapped up this week, and it was an incredible event. MWC has always been the place where people go to learn more about the most innovative technologies, latest trends in mobile, and to debate key issues in the industry. In 2016, the congress continued to lead the discourse. It´s impossible to follow everything so we´ve handpicked the best payments related bits for you. 

Mobile payments entering disruption

One of the key topics this year was the potential of mobile payments, and how will it revolutionize the omnichannel banking experience. Even if 2016 still won´t be the year of upstream mobile payments, it is no longer about just paying with mobile. It is really about combining various strategies to add value during the payment process. The future is about creating an open ecosystem where key players like banks and tech giants like PayPal can combine offerings to meet changing customer expectations.

To this end, Mastercard has confirmed it will be accepting selfies and fingerprints as an alternative to passwords when purchasing online. Big retailers like Alibaba have recently been demoing with a pay-with-your-face system too, all pointing to the fact that that biometrics will soon become another way to authenticate users' identities to conclude a transaction.

From Internet of Things to Banking of Things?

Just like mobile payments are not undergoing an overnight revolution, autonomous purchasing has come a long way in the last few years. As IoT is making its way into the banking space, it will be more and more common to buy things without any human intervention. Devices used everyday will be making purchases instead of us and machine learning will be analyzing our needs, wishes, intentions in order to make decisions for us.

But what does it mean for personal banking? IoT will create a whole new paradigm for the industry, says Strands VP of Strategy Luis Rodriguez. "There are plenty of opportunities for banks to learn about their customers from IoT, which will become another source of valuable transactional data. But they must be ready to position themselves when my fridge is the one ordering and paying for food when it needs to be replenished. Our appliances and other IoT-enabled devices must be integrated into digital banking, too." In the words of FinTech guru Chris Skinner: it's time to get ready for the Banking of Things

Bye bye, brick-and-mortar?

The brick-and-mortar branch model has obviously changed since the founding of FinTech. Digital banking innovation is constantly happening and converging online and physical, but could banks use data analytics and machine learning technology in order to offer even more exciting and experimental branch experience?

And last, as usual, all the handset manufacturers kicked off with loads of new announcements and new gadgets. Perhaps one of the least expected highlights in retail space was Samsung´s one-of-a-kind digital playground and cultural center in the heart of New York city, where culture and technology collide. The digital store has no cash registers or screens to make a purchase - it is purely about product experience - auditoriums for special events, content experiences, big digital screens, broadcasting studio, virtual reality tunnel, art installations, screenings and much more. It´s a playground to discover the product. Banks would do well to pay attention and implement a similar experience online and offline.

The lifeblood of every event is the attendees, so we asked what other MWC attendees thought about this year's event:


Davor Sutija

CEO,Thin Film Electronics

"MWC2016 was exceptional in terms of meeting prospective customers and partners, as it is now bringing together not only traditional participants in the mobile industry but also brands and software firms that see the transformational opportunities in using NFC (near field communication) to extend the traditional conception of IoT to the Internet of Everything. As over 1 billion phones now include NFC, and with an expected doubling to 2 billion in 2016, the use cases are now expanding rapidly."

Speaking of use cases, Strands Discovery uses the power of mobile banking and NFC to offer retail banking customers personalized solutions for what they need, when they need it. Just launched at Finovate Europe 2016!  

Learn more about Strands Discovery

Vaida Pakulyte
Vaida Pakulyte

Vaida Pakulyte is a marketing & UX expert. Her fields of expertise include digital transformation, content and social media marketing, branding and design.

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