Accenture Banking Blog

Visa, Mastercard and Amex could transform interbank payments

The previous five posts in this series looked at some truly exciting and important trends that are shaping the payments landscape in 2020. In this final post, we’ll look at what might be the most influential of them all: the movement of the credit card giants into interbank payments.

Card giants like Mastercard, Visa and American Express have begun to enter this space from different angles. Given their market muscle, consumer base and agile ways of working, this move could have tremendous impact. The traditional dominance of banks in this arena could come to an end.

The card giants aim to bring new payments solutions to market, enabling businesses to meet the increasing demands of customers in areas that include efficient P2P transfers, physical and virtual cards, foreign exchange, remittances and more.

For example, Mastercard recently bought the account-to-account payments business of Danish payments fintech Nets A/S. The acquisition gives it access to Nets’ business-to-business (B2B) digital infrastructure for clearing, real-time payments, e-billing and other services.

On a similar note, Visa has acquired Earthport, a move that will further expand and scale Visa Direct’s rapidly growing service offerings in areas like peer-to-peer payments, cross-border payments and bill payments.

The card giants are also entering the cross-border payments sector. Visa has launched a payments system called Visa B2B Connect for business-to-business transactions. The system is partially based on blockchain technology.

Card firms are also adopting new technologies to build services hubs aimed at delivering value-added payments services like authentication, tokenization and data analytics. In the meantime, many banks are still in the process of integrating digital services into their legacy environments.

The overall picture is that card providers are redefining their role in the entire financial services ecosystem and creating new, innovative business models and services. By combining new technologies with their formidable access to data, they are creating value-added services in response to the changing needs of customers. This is helping them stay relevant in the fast-evolving payments marketplace.

As a whole, payments is set for some interesting changes in 2020. We expect to see the growing dominance of digital payments, supported by technological advances and stringent regulations for payments security. This will add up to a year of experiments and risk-taking from all payments players, targeting the common goal of remaining relevant and innovative in this highly competitive and volatile market.

Buckle up—it is sure to be an interesting ride.

If you’d like to continue the conversation on the future of payments, I’d love to hear from you.

This makes descriptive reference to trademarks that may be owned by others. The use of such trademarks herein is not an assertion of ownership of such trademarks by Accenture and is not intended to represent or imply the existence of an association between Accenture and the lawful owners of such trademarks.