What to watch for in payments in 2011?

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11 January 2011
Zilvinas Bareisis
This time of the year is always good for reflection and looking forward. I have also been reflecting on the payments issues we have been dealing with at Celent in 2010 and what is likely to be important in 2011. The good news for consumer is that payments innovation continues apace. The card schemes are competing more fiercely than ever; PayPal and prepaid cards have gone mainstream, leaving the other newer, smaller, more niche players to shape the space of ‘alternative' payments. There is finally a real acceleration towards mobile contactless payments in the developed markets, although for now, mobile banking (rather than mobile payments) remains the main type of financial transactions over the mobile device. While some of these developments are clearly global, others have a distinct regional or even country-specific flavour. The big news in the US in 2010 was the Frank-Dodd act, and specifically for the payments industry, the section that dealt with debit card interchange. This is poised to fundamentally reshape the economics not only for the US debit cards, but potentially for the checking accounts as well. In Europe, the harmonisation journey (SEPA, PSD, etc.) continues with mixed success. At the wholesale end of the spectrum, small and medium enterprises (SME) have more choice when meeting their payment needs - various non-bank competitors are active in the B2B space, offering various e-invoicing and international payment solutions. Finally, the concept of payment services hubs is getting a widespread recognition as the way forward for banks seeking to upgrade their payment infrastructures. While more work is needed to agree on the terminology, the vendor solutions are maturing and offer banks credible options when designing a payment services hub. We will continue to watch many of these developments throughout 2011. What other things do you have in mind? What payments-related topics would you like us to investigate and what reports would you like to see coming out in 2011? Happy New Year! P.S. If you would like to read about these trends in more detail, watch out for our upcoming report Top Trends in Payments 2011, due imminently.

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