2014 Card Forum & Expo Brief – Stephanie Corritori

The Card Forum and Expo took place in Orlando Florida on April 22-25, 2014 bringing together the key players in the payments industry. The discussions ranged from market trends, such as the under banked and prepaid space to more serious topics like the impact the CFPB has had on Issuers and consumers. While the conference provided an excellent networking opportunity and learning experience, I was also able to maintain a video diary throughout the conference that touches on the high points for those that could not attend.

The first day of the conference honored Women in the Payment Industry. Some Payments-Source-600x300interesting topics on day one were the balancing act many women feel pressured to achieve between family life and their career path, encouraging women to advance their careers and teaching women the “elevator speech”. Yolande Piazza discussed how some women tend to say too much, choosing meaningful words and focusing on the “pitch” helps women get further.

An interesting concept during the panel was how mobile wallets have a tougher sell for women vs. men. I had never considered this, but Margaret Weinchert explained that women don’t mind carrying a wallet as much as men because we almost always have a bag on our side. We even enjoy showing off these designer fashions and consider them part of our wardrobe. Eventually mobile phone will replace plastic but retailers and credit card companies need to find incentives for women to make the switch.

The second day of the conference began with Prepaid and in the afternoon the main conference floor opened with the panel participants returning to the same key points:
– Mobile phones have and will continue to change the landscape of the payment industry
– Healthcare presents a huge opportunity in the payment space
– More focus should be placed on the underbanked because everyone in today’s technology rich world needs a payment mechanisms other than cash to complete online transactions

The Healthcare Industry and underbanked represent a large opportunity in the Prepaid space. Many companies are offsetting the high costs of healthcare deductibles by using prepaid cards. Prepaid will continue to expand overtime and although we think of a “prepaid card” as plastic, in the near future this form of payment will most likely reside in a mobile wallet.

cfpb130x130The last day of the conference focused on the CFPB. The CFPB regulations and unprecedented fines are certainly concerning to financial institutions. The overarching theme is to treat customer fairly. Financial institutions today have to balance government regulations and customer service. According to Jo Ann Barefoot, CEO of Barefoot Group, the focus of the CFPB is simplicity and transparency from a marketing perspective and being fair to your customers from a services perspective.

As many people in the financial industry have witnessed we need to document all processes and procedures. This is often a daunting, but very necessary task. The CFPB wants to see and understand processes and procedures. Having a defined escalation process will also alleviate pressure from the CFPB, however it was explained the expectations from banks will continue to expand and evolve. The only clear point the “members” of the CFPB made was that anything that is considered complicated or diffiBmEnkExIEAA-NDdcult from a customer perspective is a huge risk. Any deceptive phone sales will also be put under the microscope immediately. If you would like to learn more about the Card Forum and Expo please also read my tweets during the conference. This will give you a good play-by-play of the event.

Stephanie Corritori