FinTech North News and Regional FinTech Developments

The Future of Payments Write-Up

On the 25th of June, the Northern FinTech community came together in Manchester at No.1 Circle Square for the Future of Payments event, hosted in partnership with Bruntwood SciTech and FGC Capital.

After a lively breakfast networking session, Joe Roche, FinTech North’s General Manager welcomed attendees and shared a short presentation summarising FinTech North’s recent and upcoming projects and aims, before inviting the first speaker to the stage to kickstart a morning of expert knowledge and predictions about the future of the payments landscape.

No discussion about the future of payments would be complete without mentioning cryptocurrency. Dr Aseem Pahuja, Lecturer in FinTech from the University of Manchester was the first to speak, sharing insights on Ethereum, proof of stake and blockchain.

Aseem shared that the new Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) recommends increasing the minimum stake required to be a validator. This change will lead to fewer, but larger, validators, decreasing the number of participants and liquidity while boosting energy efficiency.

He noted that though ‘you can live without crypto’, it offers a unique diversification opportunity for investors. This frontier technology has transformational potential and is surely here to stay.

Next, Andy Sacre, Head of Payments from Monzo was next to the stage for a fireside chat, facilitated by Joe. Andy shared Monzo’s progress to date, including a massive milestone of nearly 10 million customers. The two discussed Monzo’s status as the ‘original challenger bank,’ and spoke on the business’s evolution, ‘growing’ with its customers as their original demographic goes through different milestones in life.

Andy stressed the importance of maintaining a ‘customer lens’ in the curation of new products, using their new feature which enables customers to cash a cheque in the app as an example.

Graham Morgan, Director of Strategic Alliances at AccessPay then shared a keynote titled ‘Beyond Bank Connectivity: Delivering Financial Services at the Point of Use,’ which touched on embedded finance services, promoting connectivity and API connection projects.

Next, a fireside chat between Ellie Kirkman, FinTech PR Consultant at SkyParlour Started and Alex Mackenzie, Co-founder of Ryft shone a light on Ryft’s story as a homegrown Manchester FinTech on scaling successfully. Alex provided some background of Ryft and their progress to date, before addressing the impact a changing market has had on the organisation’s objectives in their scaling journey.

He noted that due to an evolving market and economy, the goalpost has shifted from ‘growth at all costs’ to ‘growing sustainably.’ He also shared some advice to startup founders: ‘allow extra time for fundraising. If you think it will take 6-9 months, it may well take 9-12. Or longer. Be patient. Time is a valuable resource.’

Following a mid-morning networking session, James Jackson, CEO of embedded finance platform, Bumper, was next to the stage. Bumper brings together the payments and automotive industries to positively impact manufacturers, dealers, and consumers through embedded buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) software. In doing this, Bumper’s technology makes cars safer, means car manufactures are selling more car parts, and means dealers are getting more work amidst cost-of-living struggles. James shared that the organisation has saved drivers a whopping £215 million in interest and fees.

Rose Merritt, Product Owner at Protect Group was next to speak, sharing her involvement in an innovative embedded finance solution. Protect Group embed seamlessly into booking flows that look like they come from the merchant, generating revenue for businesses, and creating positive and secure customer experiences. Rose highlighted that the software ‘create a great customer experience when they can attend their booking, and a great brand experience when they can’t’ by partnering with merchants to seamlessly strengthen booking security and refunds by transforming cost centres into revenue generation.

Next to speak, no stranger to the payments scene was Danielle Reed, Head of New Commercial Partnerships from Klarna, who set out to demystify some common misconceptions about BNPL. Klarna are an established payments network and shopping ecosystem which allow customers to use an interest free alternative to traditional credit.

Danielle first tackled the misconception that BNPL is just for young people, sharing that their average shopper age is 37, and that their fastest growing demographic is over 60s. She then tackled the misconception that BNPL is predatory, aiming to make money from people getting into debt, sharing that their customers often make repayments on time or early. The final misconception Danielle addressed was that the BNPL industry is opposed to regulation; she shared that Klarna actively anticipate and support regulation, and work with various bodies across sectors to inform their decision making.

Following this, Eliot Heilpern, CEO of Parthenon Communications shared a landscape overview titled ‘The Future of The Payments Landscape The Key Challenges (2024-2027)’ with aims to outline trends in the payments environment and what to expect in the next three years. He emphasised the constantly evolving nature of payments, and the connectivity of financial services in recent years following the financial crash and increased digitalisation. He highlighted key themes to look out for including: cryptocurrency, CBDC’s, cross border payments, financial inclusion and regulation.

The final session of the morning, a ‘Future of Payments’ focussed panel discussion brought together a diverse group of experts from the financial technology sector, including:

Nick underscored the increasing significance of regulation in the FinTech landscape, noting its consumer-focused design and the advanced state of the payments sector in Europe. He also highlighted the necessity of keeping AI on the agenda, pointing out that incorporating AI elements can significantly enhance process efficiency and effectiveness.

Mike discussed the imperative of continuous innovation, emphasising that nothing ever remains static. He elaborated on the substantial opportunities unlocked by open banking and the high standards banks must meet due to stringent regulations. He also mentioned Barclays’ tech hub at Radbroke Hall in Cheshire, and Barclays’ dedication to prioritising consumer needs. Despite uniform regulations, he noted, the diversity among banks is evident.

Kimberly highlighted the need to strike a balance between innovation and regulatory compliance. She emphasised that it is crucial to integrate these aspects effectively to foster progress while adhering to necessary regulations.

Leon reflected on the evolving payments landscape, noting a shift from the previous “grow at all costs” mentality. He emphasised the importance of considering new developments like TikTok Shop and shared insights on navigating the journey as a founder. Key considerations include securing funding, understanding the vast market, and focusing on narrow propositions and niche verticals to achieve effectiveness.

Ben addressed the impact of regulation on FinTech decision-makers, highlighting the high risks and costs of compliance that drive business decisions. He observed that companies often come under regulatory scrutiny as they grow and stressed the importance of incorporating regulation at the start of the innovation journey. Ben also pointed out the role of friction in customer journeys in preventing fraud, underlining its importance in ensuring security.

Sher provided insights into how regulation has become more tailored to the size of institutions since the 2008 financial crisis. He emphasised the importance of regular engagement with regulators to foster innovation and predicted significant growth in B2B markets, cross-border payments, and global wallets. He highlighted the need to balance convenience with the cost of compliance, noting that “B2B is where we will see huge growth.”

Throughout the discussion, several key themes emerged. The role of friction in customer journeys was highlighted as crucial for preventing fraud. The importance of regulation and the balance between innovation and compliance were recurring topics. The panel also explored the importance of protecting industry’s reputation and safeguarding consumers against fraud, emphasising the need for a strategic approach to regulatory and innovative practices.

As the event drew to a close, delegates came together for a final networking session to continue the dialogue about what the future has in store for payments.

We’d like to say a massive thank you to the Bruntwood SciTech team for partnering with us on this and helping us to run the event on the day, and to FGC Capital for sponsoring the event.

Are you interested in sponsoring or speaking at our next event? Get in contact with us at for more details on how we could work together.

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