Tech giants Apple, Amazon, Google, PayPal and Intuit on Tuesday announced the formation of Financial Innovation Now, a financial services lobby that seeks to steer Washington policy as new technologies emerge.
One of the group's goals is to inure pols to a quickly approaching evolution in finance, a change spurred on by new technology coming out of Silicon Valley. Apple has Apple Pay, for example, while Google offers a competing solution in Android Pay. PayPal, one of the first to jumpstart the burgeoning sector, recently stepped into mobile payments with the purchase of Venmo.
"A technological transformation is going to make financial services more accessible, more affordable and more secure," said Brian Peters, executive director of Financial Innovation Now. "The challenge in Washington is making sure policymakers understand that, and they're comfortable with it, and they don't apply old rules to new technology."
It's not all about mobile payments, however, as Financial Innovation Now also seeks to enable real-time payments clearing processes, streamline rules for online lending, create open authentication protocols and push Internet-connected financial apps.
Other issues of interest include fraud prevention, increased consumer convenience at lower costs and the democratization of payment technologies. On the latter, the group notes over two billion people worldwide go without basic financial services, including some ten million households in the U.S. alone. By harnessing the Internet, mobile platforms and other modern technologies, the coalition believes it can help underserved populations.
Perhaps most important for founding members like Apple are initiatives to foster trust in emerging payment platforms. The group contends open security and fraud reduction standards can greatly enhance consumer protection and drive innovation.
In general, Financial Innovation Now seeks to shift thinking from old time brick-and-mortar systems to modern solutions that live in smartphones, the cloud and beyond.