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  • Thierry Spanjaard

2022, change or continuity in payment systems?

January is this special time of the year when many analysts go through the exercise of making predictions. And they are safe enough as no one ever gets back to them later to check whether they were right or wrong. So, let's go for our predictions for the payment industry in 2022, and maybe beyond….

In the payment industry, while the past years were totally dedicated to the migration to contact smart cards and then to dual interface cards, to finally pass the 10 billion EMV cards in circulation, the industry is now more vibrant than ever! Numerous innovations come in the payment card industry including biometrics and dynamic CVV and analysts consider they are reaching maturity in 2022. But the innovation in payment may also be the result of the growing role of FinTech, especially thanks to Open Payment PSD2 regulation in Europe, the evolution from cards to other means, including the growing share of wallets (Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc.), the expansion of mobile money services, and the development of always more QR-code based payment systems, especially under the influence of large Chinese players WeChat, Alipay, …

Also, while online payment has always been kept as a well-defined separate step in a purchase process, the evolution is on its way towards invisible payments where the payment process becomes embedded in the purchase process to become more painless, seamless and effortless for the consumer. Invisible payments are already increasingly present in the physical world with Uber-like services and all kinds of subscription services from bike fleets to Netflix. Similarly, following the trend to make payments painless, BNPL, Buy Now Pay Later, takes a growing share of payments for large items.

The limits between physical and online commerce are increasingly blurred, with increasing omnichannel strategies in retail. Consumers are evolving in the same direction with more use of mobile payment systems even in physical commerce.

At the same time, in the US, the Democrat administration is way more sensitive to antitrust actions than its predecessor. This may affect the position of Visa and Mastercard duopoly as Senator Dick Durbin is back to his fight against transaction fees, and also the GAFAM are now under pressure from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), now chaired by Lina Khan, known for her antitrust positions.

Open questions remain about large projects: shall we see the inception of EPI, the European Payment Initiative, in 2022 or will it end up in the cemetery of nice ambitions like its predecessors. Also, when the world in launching CBDCs, Central Bank Digital Currencies, shall we see the launch of a European CBDC project in 2022?

Cash transactions have been on their way down for years, and this trend is to continue in 2022 and beyond. However, solutions have to be found for those who, willingly or not, refuse this trend: the elderly, the unbanked, and digital sceptics.

Consumers worldwide are showing a yearning for new payment methods, including mobile payment, online payments, invisible payments, BNPL, … It is the role of our secure transactions industry to provide them with reliable and secure technologies to achieve these goals and to ensure payment will not remain an isolated niche but be integrated with other parts of the puzzle: digital ID, commerce, telecoms, IoT, …

Photo credits: Photos by Zlaťá, by CardMapr, by Marek Studzinski, by Alistair MacRobert, all on Unsplash.

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