This year’s Money20/20 conference, held in Las Vegas from October 23-26, saw a wealth of announcements about new services, integrations, and partnerships from financial institutions and payments tech systems across the spectrum. BI Intelligence saw three key trends at the event: chat apps and conversational commerce, partnerships as a means to scale, and blockchain implementation. These themes offer a look into where the payments industry is headed in the next year and how financial firms are weathering the storm of digital disruption.

1. Companies are honing in on chat apps to facilitate purchasing. Multiple firms are using chat apps to better reach, engage, and do business with clients and customers: 

  • Mastercard launched two chatbot platforms for its partners — one for banks and one for merchants — that will allow these clients to better engage with consumers and enable purchasing on platforms like Facebook Messenger. For context, chatbots are software programs that use messaging platforms as the interface through which to carry out tasks that might include scheduling meetings or, in this case, making purchases and interacting with customers. 
  • Bank of America will embed an AI-based virtual assistant in its mobile banking app that will assist customers with making payments, checking balances, paying down debt, and accessing financial education tools. 
  • PayPal will allow users to link their accounts and pay via Facebook Messenger.

Rising chat app popularity makes these apps a great channel for engaging with potential customers.

  • User engagement with messaging apps is on the rise. In 2015, the average user had nine daily sessions on a chat app, compared with just two in a traditional app. That makes a chat app a logical place to put consumer engagement and payment opportunities.

avg number of daily sessionsBI Intelligence

  • Chat apps could make it easier for consumers to engage more or complete more purchases. Buying on mobile in particular is challenging, thanks to small screens and slower connections that make it difficult to input payment information, price-compare, or look at various product offerings. [...]