The trends that are shaping the future of payments

Whilst 2020 has been daunting for many of us, there certainly are positives to be drawn. In the last of our three-part series, our industry experts give us the low-down on what is yet to come in the future of the payments industry. With 2021 on the horizon, we cover topics from open banking, to fraud prevention and regulatory measures.

The opinions you will read below belong to:

Bethan Cowper – AVP, Market Development and Business Support, Europe

Sergey Putenikhin – VP, Eastern Joint Regional Directorate Managing Director, Asia Pacific

Aleksei Chumakov – Head of Business Intelligence, Russia

Nayan Raut – AVP, Regional Business Development Director, Asia

Rafael Marinho – Regional Sales Director, Brazil

Mohamed Hijazi – AVP, Regional Business Development Director, Middle East

Patrick Mowatt – Regional Sales Director, Africa


BC:      Across the board globally, a number of key areas of the payments industry really came into the limelight in 2020 and these will be strategic focal points in 2021.

Financial inclusion – regardless of geography. FIs and governments will be working to continue to reduce the number of unbanked people – whether that be through targeted financial products or agent banking chains.

Security – as with any major event, fraudsters are always the quickest to adapt and change to consumer behaviours and take advantage of any residual confusion. There will be much more emphasis around security and fraud prevention for payments in 2021 and this will cover everything from having the correct fraud prevention strategy, to educating consumers on what to look out for and how to protect themselves against scams.

Mobile – just as ecommerce has grown exponentially in 2020, as has m-commerce and the proliferation of the mobile channel in general. More apps have been downloaded than ever before, and more mobile payments made. Research published by DeVere Group has found a massive 73% increase in the continued use of financial apps in 2020 across Europe and the US, with 67% planning to continue to use these apps post-pandemic.

Consultancy and partnerships between vendors and FIs – it’s clear that the relationships between parties in the payments industry are changing. The slave/master relationships born out of the 90s (whether vendor or customer heavy) are finally dissolving and these relationships are becoming much more cohesive in terms of how to solve problems and drive business. In 2021, FIs will continue to look for partners that support their vision and that have the expertise and experience to help them achieve their goals.


SP:      In the Asia Pacific region, there are many mobile payments apps saturating the market. I foresee that this will continue and gradually these will somehow unify as a single platform or a super app will be developed that will probably combine payments/identification/marketplace.


AC:      The industry is moving towards a more open and standard way of payments, especially with open banking initiatives across the globe. Worldwide, we are seeing a shift towards the open banking paradigm, where financial institutions support payment and information services according to national, regional or global standards. Currently, there are several payment standards including local and private implementations, which I personally consider work more like a patchwork rather than a standard that works across the industry.


NR:      I foresee that in first world countries, the payments industry will have a major digital transformation. Mobile payments, fraud detection and fraud prevention solutions will also be key factors in these areas. Security has a much bigger part to play now in comparison to previous years – partly down to the sheer volume of remote services that are being used.

In the rest of the world, we see that digitalisation will pick up, but I don’t believe the use of more traditional banking channels, such as ATM, POS, and cards, will be overtaken. Because of the COVID pandemic, we have already seen that the push for contactless and mobile payments has increased, however when the restrictions are eased and people are allowed to move freely, it may be the case that we see the use of cash and card payments increase again.

In terms of deployment architecture, a lot of fintech and financial institutions will look at cloud-based infrastructures. For this, country-specific data restrictions will need to be addressed. 


RM:     I think Asia, Europe and the Americas will continue to be the leaders of the digital payments revolution we are currently seeing, though regional aspects like the digital adoption of payments and regulatory requirements will dictate some differentiators.

For example, central banks around the world applying specific country rules that can expedite, delay or even bring domestic differentiators into the picture. Take the Brazilian Instant Payment solution, PIX – PIX was launched and managed by the Central Bank as a framework platform that allows banks to build upon it. So, in the Brazilian PIX scenario it laid out a common framework to universally address the demands of all players and customers, laying the foundations for modern open banking initiatives such as open financing.


MH:     In 2021, I see there being an even higher demand for contactless transactions and support ofthird party payment methods, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc., as this is what consumers are coming to expect. We might also see a higher demand for remote/mobile banking, including artificial intelligent support.


PM:     The push for more digital products will definitely be a growth point for the future. For Africa in general, card associations will most likely push their marketing drive even more aggressively and will most probably subsidise or even fund some projects. Also, the World Bank, for example, will most likely increase the funding of more payments projects as this is something that has been increasing annually for the past two years.

What I also expect is regulators changing to support the needs of the people and countries - some regulatory factors are outdated and rigid and we will most likely see more relaxed regulations that will actually benefit and promote the payments industry.