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Morning highlights from HPS PowerCARD user conference

Mohamed Horani's (CEO HPS) opening address was one of the few of its kind to reference how increasingly shared data in the digital world may negatively impact societal development.

He referred to "Man 2.0" is losing substance and the societal impact of new technology "raises questions". We simply do not know the impact of new technology until it plays out. It certainly does raise interesting questions.

Sebastien Slim, head of innovation at HPS, spoke of the proliferation of new payment methods, and that they are all based on the card. However, also mentioned was the impact of PSD2 and how that will "no question affect other regions". So, surely, with PSD2 enabling the direct connection between retailers and banks, this signals the beginning of the end for the card? We shall see.

New entrants need to inspire new business models, said Slim, and banks need to adjust (aka cop on) and draw on their immense advantage of capital and expertise.

"Habit is the biggest constraint by default," said Arnaud Crouzet, secretary general at nexo.

Moderator, fintech star and femtech afficionado Ghela Boskovich summed it up curtly, "the only constant is change." One wonders what her take might be on HPS' diversity policy whereby 30% of its collaborators are now female yet of the several newly appointed board members who were invited to stand and be counted during the keynote, a sum total of zero were female. EPI will ask her later. But full merit for the acknowledgement of societal impact and indeed association with the climate change conference. And as for the hospitality, best in class.

PCI DSS is an increasing challenge for everyone, costs rising and rising and the "new peak is enrolment", no longer authorisation. This makes sense given the sharing economy yields new methods of production and consumption and electronic payments is one of the most affected sectors. To put it in numbers, Horani, quoting PwC, told the conference the number of cards in circulation will increase from 13 odd billion in 2013 to 16 odd billion in 2018. And mobile payment volume will exceed 450 million by 2018.

As for blockchain... "it promises trust in new business models and it will have a place, but currently is only in experimentation stage," said Horani.

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