At this time last year, when I was stepping into my new role as Accenture’s global payments lead, I posted my predictions for what would happen in the payments industry in the rest of 2018. I’m gratified to see that most of them have come about, with a number of the newer trends I mentioned set to remain relevant for the next two to three years.

With the payments landscape continuing to evolve at a high pace, I feel it’s only right if I nail my colours to the mast once again by setting out the themes that I believe will dominate the industry in 2019. As in 2018, I’ve divided my selections into three categories: established trends, building trends and new trends. Here they are.

Established trends

  1. PSD2-compliant APIs will be provided by the majority of EU banks.
  2. Contactless payments will continue to grow at 100+ percent in Europe—expect more than 50 percent of transactions being contactless in 2019, all told.
  3. Cash will experience an accelerated decline across Europe. Expect fewer than 2.5bn ATM withdrawals in the UK (which peaked at 2.9bn in 2012).
  4. Infrastructure renewal programs will appear around the world for real-time domestic payments and RTGS wholesale payments (notably in the US and Nordics).
  5. Smartphone manufacturers’ and tech giants’ mobile payments wallets such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay will experience further strong growth.
  6. Wearables for payments start to see growth with new devices, fashion and fitness accessories—the likes of Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay and Swatch Pay.

Building trends

  1. Open Banking regulations will follow in North America, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, with similar scope to the EU’s PSD2 and UK’s Open Banking.
  2. Real-time payments adoption in Europe will be slow. While a large number of banks will implement the technology required and connect to new real-time central infrastructures, volumes will remain low until at least the end of 2019.
  3. Artificial intelligence (machine and deep learning) in payments will grow, with intelligent fraud prevention being applied to payments transaction data in a real-time payment world.
  4. Data protection and privacy in an open environment will be extremely relevant for retaining customer trust.
  5. Some banks will build cloud payments solutions as an alternative to on-premise technology.
  6. Request-to-pay as an invoicing and payment method will continue to emerge as a proposition in several countries.
  7. Mobile wallets from China, already accepted by many retailers in Europe for Chinese nationals, will take advantage of PSD2 account access to launch services targeted at Europeans. Alipay has just received an EU e-money license in Luxembourg.
  8. Although most banks will still shun Bitcoin, expect to see cash management products appear that use Bitcoin and Ethereum, and are aimed at corporate treasurers.
  9. Ripple’s network for cross-border transactions will continue to grow significantly, attracting more banks and corporates, leading to rising transaction volumes.

New trends

  1. The fusion of instant payments and Open Banking will generate new payment methods and schemes and replace card payments in the long run.
  2. The consumer experience for payments will become a battleground for banks, especially around authentication for PSD2 on third-party applications.
  3. Challenger bank adoption will be much higher than in the past due to their superior customer experience for payments and ecosystem offerings.
  4. Biometrics such as facial, voice and hand-movement recognition, now robust enough for mass use, will be adopted by banks and fintechs as a weapon in the consumer experience battle, and also for securing cryptocurrency wallets.
  5. Retailer wallets for both e-commerce and in-store payments will start appearing in sectors such as supermarkets, fuel and quick-service restaurants, emulating the success of Starbucks and Walmart, and focused on a slick checkout process using biometric authentication.
  6. Retailers will start demanding new payment methods for recurring payments for subscription- and credit-based services.
  7. Fintechs and banks will see the importance of linking credit and payments. Expect to see this as an emerging theme in payments innovation.
  8. Voice-activated payments will start appearing as the likes of Google Home, Alexa, Cortana and Siri grow in popularity.
  9. Central banks around the world will warm to the idea of issuing their fiat currency on distributed ledger technology—and at least one will have concrete plans to implement the technology.
  10. As banks adopt real-time payments in economies such as Australia, Europe and the US, new capabilities will emerge to operate in real time. Examples will include corporate cash management solutions for real-time cross-border payments, virtual accounts and fraud innovation.

Whether you agree with my selections or not, I hope they give you some food for thought. Thanks for reading. And let’s reconvene in a year’s time to see if I was right!

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