Fintech South 2020 – Maintaining trust and safety in a digital world

At the (sadly, virtual) Fintech South event the year, I was asked to chair a discussion on identity and privacy with three extremely well-qualified experts who had informed perspectives on the state of, and trends in, those important pillars of a digital society. These were Adam Gunther (SVP, Digital Identity for Equifax), Andrew Gowasack (Co-Founder and President at TrustStamp) and Megan Heinze (President, Financial Institutions, North America for IDEMIA). It was great to talk to a group of people who were not only well-informed on these topics but had some passion for them too.

I won’t go over everything that was discussed, but I do want to pick up on a comment that was made in passing when I was chatting to the panelists: someone said that a guiding principle should be “no scary systems”. Hear hear! But what is a scary system? It is, in my opinion, a system that privileges security over privacy. This is not how we should be designing the identity systems for the 21st century!

A message from our Director

COVID-19: Consult Hyperion and you

The effects of the global pandemic, COVID-19, are touching every aspect of our lives, our communities, our businesses and the global economy. I hope that your own health, and that of your loved ones, will not be severely affected, and that your business life is able to continue unabated with some inevitable adjustments.

I personally wanted to reassure you that despite the challenges we are all facing, Consult Hyperion is fully accessible and taking proactive and expedient measures to protect our team and our clients.

It is not unusual for our team to work remotely, as client work often demands, but now both our UK and US teams have mobilised to full remote working in support of the Prime Minister’s guidance that the more people who are able to work from home, should. We have systems and policies in place to protect all information, project work and client deliverables. Our teams have embraced the use of digital tools for their internal communication and briefings, as well as for outbound thought leadership and to continue the narrative on the topics for which we are known as experts.

I take great pride in the team at Consult Hyperion. For over 30 years we have worked for organisations like yours. We have helped deliver products and services that have changed how consumers pay, travel and interact on a daily basis. I have no doubt that the team at Consult Hyperion will continue to deliver for you during this difficult time. Now more than ever, our vision holds true.

Yours sincerely

Neil McEvoy CEO and Co Founder


Hyperion Systems Ltd trading as Consult Hyperion: Tweed House, 12 The Mount, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4HN Registered in England at the above address, Company No: 1955749

Why can’t digital identity be easy, like payments?


I have often seen payments (especially the card networks) used as an analogy for digital identity. In fact, I brought up the analogy myself at the fun OIX meeting in Amsterdam last Thursday. Certainly when you look at something like GOV.UK Verify there are some striking comparisons:

  • A central scheme with a brand, rule book, governance body and switching infrastructure (i.e. Verify itself),
  • Issuers (i.e. the private sector identity providers), and
  • Merchant acquirers (well merchants anyway, in the form of government relying parties).

We have to keep reminding ourselves that these card networks did not appear overnight. What we have today is a result of 60 or more years of evolution. Admittedly the pace of change has increased significantly but we need to recognise it often takes time to build scale and gain adoption. There are special cases of course. PayPal, for example, grew out of a significant pain point within eBay – which gave it immediate scale.

There is however one key difference between payments and identity. You cannot sell stuff online without a means to receive payment and normally that means integrating with a payments scheme that works for your customers. You can however sell stuff without leveraging an external identity scheme – you just give the user an ID and password specific to the service. This is however bad news for users – resulting in the fragmented personal data and password mess we find ourselves in today. There needs to be an incentive for merchants to do something different to this. Perhaps merchants need a big stick? Like GDPR for example. Merchants are going to have to be a lot more careful with personally identifiable information in the future. One thing they could do is use an identity provider to hold that data and in the process reduce their risk.

Individuals also need to realise that their personal data is valuable, just like their money. That is going to require some education because so far they’ve been taught to share data without considering the consequences.

In the UK, arguably the most significant digital identity initiative over the past 5 years has been the GOV.UK Verify programme. They are at the stage where they need to grow. The scheme is up and running and so they are now busily signing up citizens and services. It is a critical point in its development. We are very pleased that David Rennie who leads industry engagement on the programme will be taking time out of his busy schedule to join us at Tomorrow’s Transactions. Come along and find out how it is going.

You can also get added to our mailing list here.

Post-Industrial Archeology

The BBC World Service has a podcast series called “50 things that made the modern economy” hosted by the economist Tim Harford. It features inventions ranging from COBOL and banks to antibiotics and, interestingly, M-PESA. This caught my attention because M-PESA is one of the Consult Hyperion projects from the last couple of decades that we might find ourselves chatting about at the forthcoming 20th annual Forum, Tomorrow’s Transactions 2017. The Forum will be held at the America Square conference centre in London on 26th/27th April and Kevin Amateshe, the current M-PESA product manager will be coming in from Nairobi to give us a detailed picture of where M-PESA is now and where it will be going next.

The Forum, thanks to the wonderful support from our friends at Vocalink, PaySafeGroup, WorldPay and Olswang, will once again provide a unique environment for learning, investigation, discussion and debate about the future of electronic transactions. The future of people, businesses and government in the post-industrial online and interconnected economy.

This year’s invited keynote will be given by Professor Lisa Servon, one of the world’s leading authorities on financial and social inclusion. All delegates will receive a copy of Lisa’s new book “The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives”.

 Other speakers and panelists include Gilad Rosner (IoT Privacy Forum), Nick Telford-Reed (WorldPay), Amy Parsons (Discover), Sandra Alzetta (Visa), Terry Cordeiro (Lloyds Bank), Jane Zavalishina (Yandex Data Factory), Tim Jones (Mondex co-founder), Will Judge (MasterCard), Katie Evans (Money and Mental Health), Vasily Suvorov (Luxoft), David Rennie (gov.verify), Emma Lindley (Innovate Identity), Andy Tobin (Evernym), Ben Whittaker (Masabi) and other people who are shaping the future of retail electronic transactions right now will be discussing PSD2, shared ledgers, AI, real-time payments, the Internet of Things, financial inclusion, open-loop migration and everything else shaping strategy across a variety of industries.
In addition to a fireside chat about instant payments with David Yates (CEO, VocaLink) and Ron Kalifa (Vice Chairman, WorldPay), there will be an introductory keynote from me, the judging of the annual Future of Money Design Award for artists and at the end of the first day a 20th anniversary drinks and networking reception. You’d be mad to miss it. As always, the Forum is limited to 100 people to ensure every gets a chance to meet and interact with everyone else so run, don’t walk, to our web site and buy a place right now. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Incidentally, listening to the BBC podcast narrating the story of our good friends Nick Hughes and Susie Lonie (Susie will be at the Forum too if you’d like to come along and say hi to her) brought back many memories, so I decided to conduct a little bit of post-industrial archaeology and I tracked down the presentations on M-PESA that Nick Hughes and our very own Paul Makin (who led the original feasibility study for M-PESA!) ave at the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI) in November 2005 when M-PESA had 300 users and eight agents!!! As of today, it has 25 million users and 261,000 agents across 11 countries.

You can read them here….

Nick Hughes [csfi_Nov_05_Hughes.pdf]Paul Makin [csfi_Nov_05_Makin.pdf]

See you all in April when we get together and try to work out what the next M-PESA will be!

Account-based ticketing workshops

We’ve been having a lot of fun in recent months leading workshops for transport operators about account-based ticketing. Sharing our recent experience with clients such as the UK’s Transport for London (TfL) and Transport for the North (TfN), Hungary’s BKK, New Zealand’s NZTTL, Belgium’s De Lijn and Stockholm’s Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) and Singapore’s LTA.

The workshops are designed to help transport operators who are new to account-based ticketing understand the issues and options, including how Open-Loop bank cards can be blended with existing smart ticketing. A typical agenda covers the following subjects:


  • Customer propositions should drive everything
  • Smart ticketing trends
  • Technology roadmap
  • Benefits of ABT and Open-Loop


  • Basic architecture overview
  • Generic architecture
  • Open loop vs closed loop (the back office)
  • Providing for the unbanked

Open-Loop solutions

  • Open loop implementatons in other countries
  • The 4-party model for payments
  • Transit Transaction Models (’Models 1-3’)
  • Transit Charging Framework (generic, global)


  • EMV
  • Working with a QSA

Our latest workshop was sponsored by Mastercard and hosted by Swedbank in Riga, Latvia, and had an audience of 40 including:

  • Transport operators
  • Government bodies
  • Industry suppliers
  • Media

We are looking forward to leading more similar workshops in 2017 across Europe.

Riga view from workshop at 9am.
Riga view from workshop at 9am.

Riga workshop sponsored by Mastercard and hosted by Swedbank.
Riga workshop sponsored by Mastercard and hosted by Swedbank.

Discussing a 'strawman' solution for Riga's needs.
Discussing a ‘strawman’ solution for Riga’s needs.


Dgwb blog white border

Over the years, what was once the London BarCampBank has, with the support of Consult Hyperion, turned into an annual fintech unconference held the day before Finovate Europe. I think – apart from great networking and enjoyable discussions – it provides a useful weathervane for our clients. This year – no surprise – two topics dominated the conversations: blockchain and identity.

BarCampBank London 7 was unpredictable and therefore great

Dgwb blog white border

Our London Unconference, now an annual event held the day before Finovate Europe, was as unpredictable as always, which is why I like it so much. I really didn’t expect technology to feature so heavily, but it did.

Still going strong after 14 years

The 14th annual Consult Hyperion Digital Money Forum was terrific. Here’s some of the feedback we’ve already had:

  • “Excellent! Thank you again”
  • “A most enjoyable event with a variety of speakers”
  • “It was very stimulating”
  • “A very informative conference which didn’t disappoint.”
  • “Very good – as always, so much new stuff”
  • “a terrific #dmf14 session on private vs public money”
  • “I saw the future, the past and, surprisingly, the freedom of cash.”
  • “Very good – as always, so much new stuff!”

First of all, and I can’t say this often enough, a very big thank you to the event sponsors who made it all possible: Visa Europe and Monitise. For an event like the Forum it’s really important to have sponsors who share our goals, and both of them were great, giving us the freedom to choose an eclectic mix of speakers and panelist who really helped the delegates (and us) to think in some new ways and to spark off new ideas about where to go next in the world of e-payments. This makes for a special event, unlike the commercial conferences that we attend throughout the year. The economist Diane Coyle, who was kind enough to chair the keynote session on day two, put it very nicely

As ever the Digital Money Forum proved itself a must for anyone interested in the intersection of technology and money

[From The Enlightened Economist :: Good money, digital or analogue]

And thanks also to our newest supporters, Olswang, who kindly sponsored to pub quiz (which was great fun) and the drinks that went with it.

I won’t go over everything that was discussed — the presentations are online if you want to download them — but I will highlight a couple of points that emerged over the two days. First of all, both of the opening sessions, which mixed history and future, worked very well and did, I think, help people to think more imaginatively about the discussions later in the day. The expert panels were popular as always, although I really should keep them to only four people per panel. I’ve had some interesting feedback about the panel on alternative currencies, which I think gave many organisations some unexpected directions to explore.

Mobile was, naturally, a key topic and pervaded many of the discussions. We may have to make it a bigger fraction of the agenda next year if we can find some new angles to approach it from. A lot of the delegates remarked on how juxtaposing lessons being learned in both developed and developing markets worked well, so that’s something to think about.

We’ve already started thinking about 15th Digital Money Forum and what we’re going to do to change things again. I can promise all of you that the event will keep moving forward. Next year will see a new venue (and, yes, there will be free wifi for all), some new ideas for interaction and some changes in the programme structure. One thing that won’t change is the art and design competition: given the outstanding presentations at the end of this years’ Forum, we’ll definitely do that again! If you weren’t there, I urge you to take a look at the competition winners and appreciate the imagination and invention that went into them.

If I had to highlight one presentation, it was Catherine Eagleton’s keynote. Catherine is the curator of Modern Money at the British Museum and co-author of the excellent Money-A History. She asked the delegates to send her examples of anything that should be preserved, particularly the intermediate forms of new payment systems that are forgotten in the long run. I hope some of them will take her up on that. But she also mentioned in passing how difficult it is to think of ways to preserve World of Warcraft gold pieces or Facebook credits for posterity, and I keep thinking about it now. It came up last year when Consult Hyperion were asked to provide a piece on mobile money for the Science Museum. We were enthusiastic, but soon realised that a phone in a glass case (with a dead battery) is not much of an exhibition, and I’m afraid the curators concurred. So if anyone has any ideas on that one, please get in touch (although it does give me an idea for next year’s competition!).

Oh, and I should finish by saying to everyone who mentioned it (and there were quite a few), yes, the hotel coffee was slop that I wouldn’t have fed to pigs and I swear with my hand on my heart that if we ever serve stuff like that to you again I will personally take all delegates to the nearest Caffe Nero and buy every single one of them a drink there myself.

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