CohnReznick Partner On The Future Of Payments: 'We Are All Kids When It Comes Down To This'

Fintech has blown the doors off the payments industry, making it easier for everybody from consumers to businesses to send and receive money. Now that business payments has been permanently disrupted, the industry is turning its head to how the next generation

Benzinga · 01/09/2020 20:08

Fintech has blown the doors off the payments industry, making it easier for everybody from consumers to businesses to send and receive money. Now that business payments has been permanently disrupted, the industry is turning its head to how the next generation will handle money.

That is a question that has not yet been answered. At least, that was the sentiment expressed at the 2019 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards by Asael "Az" Meir, a partner and head of the Technology Industry practice at CohnReznick, one of the largest advisory and public accounting firms in the country.

While moderating the panel “Next Gen Payments: How Your Kids Will Interact With Money,” Meir said that companies are still struggling to figure out how to reach the next generation of consumers.

“When I think about the challenge [of payments], not just for fintech companies, but for everybody in the room, the concept of customer acquisition and what it takes when somebody is handling money—the title of this panel is ‘Next Generation,’ that is supposed to be [about] kids. But I’m going to say we are all kids when it comes down to this.”

Meir said that part of the challenge payment companies has is gaining trust, which has become exceedingly hard to do as consumers have become more aware of data privacy issues.

“I ask my clients all the time, ‘What’s the biggest thing that worries you?’ And they say, ‘Something is going to happen. Somebody at some point is going to be able to break security and access data they shouldn’t.’”

“Leading up to that concept of building trust...every system has a unique ability to share information,” he said. “The reality is we can’t do everything ourselves. We talk about APIs, but it’s really talking about finding the right partners and establishing trust. It’s so difficult to get it, and so easy to lose it.

But between improving regulations—he noted Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—and major technological innovations, Meir is hopeful that companies in the payments space will be able to rise to the challenge.

“We talk about blockchain, obviously, it’s a big deal,” he said. “But I always focus on the supporting cast—quantum computing, 5G technology. The infrastructure has really come a long way to open doors for new applications, which is expected to create further disruption opportunities.”