Apart from #KeepPounding and cheers for the Carolina Panthers, there’s more happening in the Queen City as we come closer to the Super Bowl weekend and it is FinTech. Home to the Bank of America, Charlotte’s financial district is a small but a very important one. PayCLT, a payments exclusive forum in Charlotte is trying to keep the FinTech momentum live in the city. And as LTP is based here in Charlotte, we can definitely not miss supporting initiatives taken by PayCLT in the payments industry.
PayCLT is run by a group of premiere payments and banking professionals, who aim to further the level of thought leadership in the segment by organizing meetups and events in the city throughout the year. Most events by PayCLT are held at Packard Place in Charlotte. We had kicked off our partnership with PayCLT with Part 2 of the LTP 2016 Predictions Podcast recorded and published in December 2015. The discussion included a diverse set of perspectives from leaders in the space, who shared their thoughts in segments ranging from blockchain to business payments, cardless ATMs to EMV cards, and mobile wallets to digital invoicing. Mid-January, PayCLT, hosted its first event for 2016 with a presentation and discussion about the application of blockchain technology to solve banking issues. Attendees included professionals from many of the leading financial services institutions in Charlotte, including Wells Fargo, BB&T Bank, First Data, AvidxChange and others. Among the dozens of those present in the packed lobby of Packard Place, the local entrepreneurial hub, were also many other professionals who are usually passionate about payments innovation or looking to get into the space.
This morning, we were a part of its second event around mobile-first banking. The event was moderated by Kristin H. Wallace, a member of PayCLT committee and Ramy Serageldin, COO of Moven, was the guest speaker for the event. Serageldin, one of the leaders in FinTech innovation led the discussion by giving the attendees a very good insight on traditional banking vs. mobile banking and how consumers needs are changing, pointing out to the trend of the consumer services being more personalized and tailor-made these days. Moven is a real-time mobile money tool that lets individuals spend money from their mobile device and provides instant feedback on their transactions and spending patterns. It works as a debit account that tracks a user’s money for them instantly. Thus, it provides them with the information they need to spend, save and live smarter. Moven acts just like a bank account with features like Free account, Free ATMs, Pay friends, Transfer money, FDIC insured & Tap to pay. It can be used on any Android and iOS mobile device. On one side, Moven is targeting customers in the US and on the other side, Serageldin is handling B2B opportunities for the company outside of the US. In December 2014, Moven announced a partnership with Toronto-Dominion Bank in Canada, which will not only allow the bank’s users to make purchases using their smartphones but also will also keep track of every purchase.
Serageldin continued the discussion by introducing Moven and talked about the Age of Customer, where power comes from engaging with empowered customers. He emphasized on the need of providing customized, personalized and tailored services to the consumers today.
The FinTech innovation leader also expressed his views on the banking system today and said, Most banking apps are a replica of what we had on paper few years back. It has a basic accounting interface. Today, banking is very passive. Banks provide very little insights via its apps to the users. There is no interaction between the bank and the consumer. People walk to the banks one or two times in a year. We need something that is called smart-banking as opposed to passive banking. It is not about one transaction, it is about the entire solution offered.
Serageldin explained how Moven is serving the purpose and just being close to consumers want for financial wellness. He also explained the definition of financial wellness:
Smooth management of one’s everyday financial life
Resilience in the face of inevitable ups and downs
Capacity of seized opportunities leading to financial security and mobility
As the session was catching everyone's attention, Serageldin spoke about the exciting features like the Instant Receipt and Spending Meter offered by Moven and what the future looks like for Moven. He exemplified a Moven user walking into Best Buy and depending on his/her financial wellness, the Moven app will send him/her a push notification sounding something like, Hey! Your budget doesn’t allow you to make a purchase exceeding $100 at Best Buy.
His thoughts went back to the traditional banking vs. smart banking discussion again. He shared some numbers via his slides to support his thoughts. The screenshot below is taken from one the slide he shared with PayCLT event attendees, which talks about the difference in customer acquisition cost (CAC) for a big bank like BofA or Chase and Moven itself.
Serageldin talked about how banks have a pushy approach to acquiring its customers. Banks will offer a number of incentives to get customers onboard, which is a negative approach. Moven, on the other hand, is acquiring customers by telling them about the benefits of the app and how it will contribute to their financial wellness. And apparently, this approach has been successful for Moven. As he ended his thoughts with this, the attendees had some interesting questions that followed. One of them was about Moven talking about empowering customers on one side but on the other side, giving the power to augmented intelligence to take decisions for the customers. Serageldin’s view on that was about the balance between the two. At the end, the decision rests with the consumer.
Overall, it was a very well moderated and an insightful 60-minute event on mobile-first banking and millennials’ growing expectations from banks (and of course, Carolina Panthers). On February 20, 2014, BBVA, a big bank based in Madrid, agreed to buy Simple for $117 million. Simple is in the same space as Moven. The deal helped BBVA enlarge its presence in the United States. Moven is probably expecting a great valuation right now with a potential acquisition to follow or maybe not. It will be interesting to follow the space and see what path Moven chooses.
On the flip side, we will continue covering PayCLT events and support their thought leadership program here in Charlotte, North Carolina. PayCLT will host a number of thought leaders over the coming months. Here’s the next one on the schedule:
March 4, 2016: Chuck Winter on Mobile Payment Adoption.
Chuck is a principal consultant with the North Highland Company. Chuck is known for his specialized perspectives and approaches to EMV adoption, the value of customer trust to brand identity, credit card and data security to guide merchant’s payment strategies.