The Payments Industry: Managing Through and Beyond the Pandemic

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10 June 2020

Assessing the COVID-19 Impact on Retail Payments


COVID-19 is a global human tragedy that is also causing a significant economic disruption. Payments is no exception with no major payment flow immune from the pandemic’s impact. Retail payment volumes have been badly hit, but the impact has been uneven, and thankfully, there are signs of recovery.

This report looks at the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the payments industry so far, and discusses what migth lie ahead. Will cash disappear because customers demand digital "contact-free" payments? Will central banks introduce their own digital currencies?

Our view is that the pandemic will accelerate the payments migration to digital and financial institutions must support that, from digital onboarding and issuing to servicing and product innovation. They also must shore up their defences by upgrading fraud, risk, and dispute management tools, as well as collections, monitoring and reporting capabilities. The pandemic also highlighted the need for resiliency and flexibility; financial institutions should review their partnering strategies and consider leveraging cloud to modernise payment infrastructures.

Companies and solutions mentioned in this report include:

Alipay, Amazon, Apple Pay, Billa’s Scan & Go, British Airways, Carrefour’s SelfSCAN, ChowNow, Doordash, European Payments Initiative (EPI), Fingerprints, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Google Pay, Instacart, Mastercard, MoneyGram, Monop's Easy, NatWest, NatWest Payit, Ordo, PayPal, Sainsbury's, Samsung Pay, Starling, Stripe, Swish, Tyl by NatWest, Visa, Voxly Digital, Walmart, WeChat Pay