News & Views - Savantor

Payments landscape 2011

Monday, 28 February 2011

Forecasting the future for the payments industry is always difficult but a recent report looking at likely innovations for the rest of 2011 probably shows what most of us would have predicted.  Ixaris has released a report that identifies what they see as the most significant innovations that will change the payments landscape in 2011. The report brings together the expertise of 22 banking innovators and experts from around the globe and focuses on understanding the challenges facing the payments industry and their impact on innovation in the next 12 months.

In 2011, the forecast is that new players from diverse industry sectors will have the greatest impact on the payments market, with companies such as Facebook, Apple and telecoms organisations posing a threat to the incumbents. In contrast, retail banks are identified as least likely to drive innovation.

Pressure from competitors is the number one driver of innovation, compared to other factors such as cost reduction and customer retention. However, the inability to guarantee customer uptake is seen as the biggest barrier to innovation today.  There are probably no great revelations there but it does at least reflect what we see happening with non-bank players. 

Sprint, as reported below, offers customers the ability to charge online purchases direct to their mobile phone bill, thus cutting the banks out of the loop.  eBillme, who offer a way to pay with cash online using online banking and walk-in locations, has announced that their payment option will now be available on the Discover Network. When shoppers choose the option at checkout, their order is confirmed with a bill sent to their e-mail address. Consumers simply pay the bill the same way they pay utilities, loans, insurance and other bills through their online bank account or by paying at one of over 75,000 walk-in locations.  The ubiquitous PayPal will conduct several pilot programmes over the next year to test how consumers will use their PayPal accounts at the check out.  They will target merchants that specialise in groceries, petrol and other broad categories.  It looks as though 2011 will at least be an interesting time for innovation.

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