Money20/20 Day 4: Uber, Bitcoin, wearables and final thoughts

October 27, 2017
4 min read

Uber and Barclays made one of the biggest announcements of the conference on its final day, the launch of the Uber Visa credit card. The card is designed to be more rewarding for Uber riders and UberEATS customers, and will include real-time notification of earned rewards, removing the need to wait for statement close to redeem. The card offers a category earn structure with 4% back on dining including UberEATS, 3% on hotel and airfare, 2% on online purchasing and Uber, and 1% on everything else.

Bitcoin won the Money20/20 Payments Race, a contest where bloggers were tasked to travel from Canada to Las Vegas using only one of the following payment formats: cash, gold, chip-and-pin card, contactless, and Bitcoin. All of the bloggers had challenges, but the Bitcoin participant, who did not know about the currency before the competition, attributed her success to the growing and enthusiastic Bitcoin community. The chip-and-pin contestant had one of the more frustrating journeys, highlighting the alleged readiness of the technology, but the lag in actual adoption by merchants.

In his keynote speech on increasing the utility of wearable devices, Fitbit CEO, President, and Co-Founder James Park discussed the many different possibilities for payments and wearable integration. Fitbit announced full payments integration for its products will be coming next year. Currently, only the top of the line Ionic bracelet allows NFC payments.

Final thoughts and what marketers need to know:


Money20/20 introduced more solutions, and a bit less clarity, into the race to become the dominant payment source. The ‘democratization of payments’ was a phrase used often, and seemed to be the unofficial motto of this year’s show. Tomorrow’s consumers might use a point-of-sale loan for a large online purchase, a co-branded cash back card for their Uber into work, a bank branded bill pay that allows multiple payment sources to act as the hub for personal expenses, and a P2P balance to pay their friends. And will expect that all of these options speak to each other, and aggregate into one central view.

Options for consumers are steadily increasing; marketers will have the task of motivating payments in an increasingly segmented space.


Recent data hacks set an urgent tone on security at the conference. Disassociation of data stores and full incorporation of biometrics were two key takeaways. Security was a top theme on the exhibit floor, with dozens of exhibitors promoting their next best solution to security. (There were three competing biometric credit card manufacturers—cards that require a fingerprint on the physical card itself to be used at a terminal—on the floor.) Blockchain often inserted itself into the security conversation, highlighting its ability to spread and log financial transactions away from a central source.

Marketers should know that the security conversation is now more important, but is no less confusing, for consumers. Messaging around help and assistance from brands is warranted.


Ralph Hamers, CEO of ING Group, gave one of the boldest comments at the conference in his day 4 keynote, “consumers want banking, but not necessarily banks.” Many of the products, startups and solutions featured at Money20/20 relied on open-banking, the ability for multiple apps, APIs and software to talk directly with a customer’s primary banking account. This has led to a theme of “banking agnostic,” where consumers are less worried about who is providing a service, rather, how useful that service is. Soon, customers could start using multiple products in place of their accounts, as we have already seen with standalone P2P, merchants like Amazon and Starbucks who are storing funds for customers to use, and alternative lenders. Banks are fighting back, incorporating more and more services into the traditional bank offering. TD’s Bill Pay advancements, Chase’s Finn, and RBC’s Nomi are just a few of the examples highlighted at this year’s conference.

Marketers can’t rest as much on brand equity going forward. Consumers now have more options for traditional financial products, and have shown that they are comfortable seeking them out.


You (and I) need to learn more about blockchain.

Read about Money20/20 Day 1 here, Day 2 here, and Day 3 here.

Claude Lawrence is a Senior Research Analyst with Comperemedia. His areas of focus include Credit Cards, Personal Lending and Banking.

Claude Lawrence
Claude Lawrence

Claude Lawrence is the Director of Insights, Payments & Lending at Mintel. His areas of focus include credit cards, unsecured lending and banking.

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