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.


  • While it’s true that adoption of contactless payments is increasing in the developed markets, uptake remains inconsistent, with uptake in Europe remaining lower compared to the US and APAC.

    Banks have not reinforced the unique selling points to drive Europeans towards contactless payments, since EVE has remained the norm, and chip- and pin-based payments are widely used.

    But with mobile contactless payment systems now commercially available – in the UK alone there are approximately 9.6 million credit and debit cards in circulation, in addition to 27,000 contactless payment terminals, and Oyster being used as the contactless payment system for public transport - it is probable that adoption will gain momentum, especially as Europeans are renowned for their mobile phone usage.

    Europeans value their mobile phones as much as their wallet or passport. So it only stands to reason that if they can process their payments on their phones, it is probable that they will see mobile contactless payments as a viable option. This fact, combined with an education programme for consumers to facilitate education about the technology, would help drive home the benefits such as ease of use and convenience. Perhaps only then would the gap between Europe and APAC and the US diminish.

Insight details

Insight Format
Geographic Focus
Asia-Pacific, EMEA, LATAM, North America