Yesterday was another great line-up of the latest innovations and product offerings in FinTech. Some companies really stood out with their one-of-a-kind ideas, while others were harder to differentiate. All-in-all, spending two full days learning about the latest robo-advisor, ID authentication, chat bot, cloud-based, BlockChain, and financial inclusion products was inspiring. And just when everyone thought wearables and virtual reality were left out in the cold, one of the last presenters, Comarch, showcased an investment service for high net worth clients that integrates with both.

By the end of Day 2, six Best-in-Show presenters were chosen, including SaleMove, which was highlighted in my blog post from Day 1. Here are some highlights from some of the other big Finovate winners:

PayActiv is a great example of an innovative approach to financial inclusion. Positioned as a way to end financial stress in the workplace, PayActiv is reimaging FinTech for the people who need it the most. Their unique approach addresses the day-to-day financial struggle that people face while waiting for their next paycheck by giving them access to cash for basic life expenses. Instead of waiting up to 2 weeks to receive money that has already been earned, PayActiv partners with employers to provide employees access to their earned wages in real-time. And instead of paying exorbitant interest rates on borrowed money such as with a Payday loan, users only pay a nominal ATM-like fee to take out cash when needed.

There were more than a few presentations on the topic of robo-advisors, but LendingRobot takes a different spin on things by bringing the robo-advisor to the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending marketplace. By automating the investment process and spreading small investments across thousands of different P2P loans, LendingRobot promises high returns at low risk. Investors can set their risk profiles and the machine-learning algorithms will do the rest. After boasting annual returns upwards of 9%, it’s no surprise this seemingly effortless tool was instantly popular.

Although not one of the best-in-show winners, I want to highlight one of the products that stood out to me because it was the only one of its kind among all of the presenters: ChipShield. Scheduled for release this summer, ChipShield is a consumer-focused personal EMV chip card reader. The small device can be purchased for $20 and will integrate with almost all online merchants. It promises to simplify the online shopping experience by removing the need to manually type in any credit card numbers, and it adds an extra layer of security with EMV authentication and protection against key stroke readers or other personal data hacks. By extending the use of EMV technology into the online world, consumers can feel safer with their purchases and conduct transactions even faster. The only immediate downside I see to this concept is needing to carry the device around with you if you ever want to shop on a mobile device.

Among many overarching themes that manifested over the last two days such as transparency and simplicity, one of the biggest takeaways is that big data is clearly going to be a driver of the future of banking. However, the challenge for banks and the industry as a whole is how they are going to utilize this data to its fullest and truly take advantage of the many opportunities it can offer.

Lily Harder is the Vice President of Research for Mintel Comperemedia. Lily specializes in the financial services industry, researching and presenting on the latest industry trends, competitive intelligence insights and newsworthy developments.

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