Over 2 ½ days at the Payments Canada Summit in Toronto, regardless of the topic being discussed, one main theme came out loud and clear: data. Whether we were talking about the opportunities or challenges in payments, data really is the prize. With data being the new currency, everyone wants a piece of it. But who owns it? Who can use it? And how can it be used? Will regulation of that data impede innovation? Just because the technology exists (or will exist) to take that data to new and different use cases, does it mean we should? I think the answers differ depending on who you asked and under what context but we know the world is changing at such a rapid pace. And to paraphrase Eileen Mercier’s closing remarks – we are at an inflection point in payments. We need to think big but act responsibly as we consider what future is available and how we make the impossible possible.
Here are a few of my highlights:
Dragon slaying: Bruce Croxon, Co-Host of BNN’s The Disruptors, and former “dragon” on TV’s Dragon’s Den hosted the event but also took a few minutes to talk to the audience to wrap up before the closing remarks. He talked about how we’re living in such a great time: as consumers, entrepreneurs, small businesses and large enterprises. It’s easier and faster to do business and with all the information that is available to customers, there are great opportunities to solve real problems. You may have heard this before but Bruce reminded the audience that we have produced more data in the last year since the beginning of mankind. Take a few minutes to think of the impact, the opportunities, and the dangers in that statement….
Identifying: What happens when you bring together a lawyer and an innovator in digital identity? A well-rounded discussion on the importance of regulating a broken process. The consensus was that the general process of identification is not working regardless of medium – physical or digital. In a world where everything is connected, we need a process that is seamless but as we make our way online, so do the “bad guys”. We need some regulatory change in privacy laws to protect the information we’re sharing, what actions can be tracked and who can have access to those details. We don’t know what the “right” system looks like yet but we do know that we need a balanced system where it’s hard enough so that criminals aren’t able to steal the identity but easy enough for the real person to use it.
A criminal mind: Frank Abagnale, the subject of Catch Me If You Can turned cybersecurity and fraud prevention expert, joined us via video feed. He shared with us his tips to keep our information safe. He gave us advice on which shredder to buy so that those tiny pieces of paper can’t be put back together. He suggested that we need to get rid of passwords as they are the key to the security issues we face. The message that resonated with me the most: breaches occur because someone did something wrong or someone did something they weren’t supposed to do. Hackers don’t cause those company breaches – employees do. We cannot take for granted the importance of keeping safe the information our customers entrust us with.
INTERAC taking the stage: Peter Maoloni, our AVP Online Products & Platforms joined a panel of experts to discuss the future of retail and B2B payments in Canada. Of course data was a key topic. Businesses, specifically, need data that is structured for them as well as the FIs or OEMs. We are trending towards users having more control over what they share – this is what we need! Later in the event Duane Williams, Senior Manager Product Platforms took us through the innovations INTERAC is bringing to the market to enable a data-rich B2B digital payments system. He got the audience thinking about a world where businesses can receive payment with remittance data together on one transaction. It’s coming, stay tuned!