The biggest date in the payvolution calendar, the Salone dei Pagamenti takes place at the Mi.Co conference centre in Milan in early November each year. Organised by ABI Servizi, the event has a packed agenda of sessions and workshops which shine a light on the world of payments and fintech, providing a comprehensive overview of the current situation in the industry as well as providing ideas and talking points for the future.
Way2Global was back again this year as the Salone’s official language partner, reflecting our leading position in the banking and financial translation sector. Our interpreting service meant that guests from all over the world could take full part in the event, enabling them to participate in even the most technical and specialist sessions. This elevated the international appeal of the event, underlining Way2Global’s status as the ideal partner in the now borderless financial sector.
“Payments in a hyper-connected world are open, reflecting our complex and global new society!” Patuelli, 2019
But we didn’t just stop there: Being the language partner for the second consecutive year enabled us to develop a comparative analysis of the two editions of the Salone and draw conclusions about what had changed in the space of a year.
In 2018, the transition towards new payment methods increasingly quickened:
“The world is increasingly moving towards mobile technology, and that goes for payments too: contactless, for example, is the new incumbent, and the same trends are being seen in digitalisation and non-physical cards.” Tessitore, 2018
As was the case last year, Italy is still a little behind in payment digitalisation, despite evident attempts to bridge the gap.
“The data shows that Italy is lagging behind somewhat, but it is upping the pace and bridging the gap with the rest of the world. We have further confirmation of that here today.” Ferrando, 2019
“In Italy, we have lots of POS and lots of cards, but 80% of payments are made in cash. We must do more, not to create a cashless world, but to give consumers the chance to choose the best solution from a wide range of options — that is the one that will win through in the end.” Quarenghi, 2019
Security, ease and financial education initiatives for all is the mix of factors that could end up having a positive impact on the speed of the transition from the consumer perspective. Meanwhile, a system of incentives and investment could provide impetus for suppliers, considering the fact that the objective is not to eliminate cash — a safe, inclusive form of payment that’s accessible to all people in total autonomy — but to reduce the use of cash, because “cashless means growth and development at all levels and from all perspectives” Speranza, 2019
Let’s not overlook the fact that in 2018, as Luisi said, “today's consumers, millennials, have clear demands particularly in the field of service customisation, simplicity, speed and digitalisation”. Yet the consumer of 2019 has even more stringent demands, and the consumers of the future — Generation Z — are destined to further raise the bar.
“If we don't find a way to simplify payment processes in general, PayPal, Google and Apple risk doing to the financial industry what Amazon has done to e-commerce.” Ambrosio, 2019
“The payment systems that build close relationships with clients will be the successful ones.” Bosio, 2019
That’s true for both B2C and B2B clients. “The B2B purchasing experience is increasingly similar to the levels of simplicity of B2C. Why should it be more complicated?” Giordano, 2019
While the stars of the 2018 edition of the Salone were blockchain and Bitcoin, the 2019 edition centred around two powerful new tech players which are seen as potential game changers in the near future: Libra, Facebook's stable coin whose ease of access means it can legitimately aim to become a global currency and replace the dollar, and 5G, the new superfast internet connection:
“Evolution means doing better, revolution means doing more. 5G is a revolution because it will permeate the entire economic system.” Riva, 2019
Technology, user experience, security, capability and data were the key concepts at the 2019 edition of the Salone — and indeed they are the keys to payment digitalisation.
“The winner of this battle will be whoever can use new technology to maximise the use of data in a more qualifying experience for the client, minimising service costs without compromising on security.” Sarrocco, 2019
We live in an exciting time with plenty of opportunities waiting to be seized, technology to be developed and worlds to open up for consumers. The secret is to not stop here, and always try to keep one eye on the future, looking beyond the current situation to anticipate the changes coming in the near future.
As we try to remain in step with the pace of change and keep our focus on the future, we look forward to seeing you at the next edition of the Salone, where we will find out what form the revolution will take in 2020.