Future of Payments

Given the pace of technological, commercial and regulatory change, it is impossible to guess where payments will be in the coming decades. 

A few broad trends, however, are likely to continue.

We should expect cheques and cash usage to continue to decline.  The question remains whether this decline is terminal or will plateau at a particular level.  Both outcomes present challenges for industry and the community, including the costs associated with maintaining these systems and a possible deepening of the “digital divide” within our society.

In contrast, we should expect electronic and card payments to continue their rise in popularity.  As we note in our Low Value Payments Roadmap, the physical methods we use may become less important in categorising payments as card and non-card payments may blur.  We are already seeing signs of this as the international card schemes investigate how to deliver “cardless” solutions, such as mobile payments.

This blurring will likely see competition intensify, particularly in online payments, where the barriers to entry are significantly lower for new entrants. New digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, may also reshape the payments landscape.

Online and cross-border commerce are likely to continue increasing, creating demands for new services and use of global standards.  There may also be a greater expectation for more information to be provided with payments, made possible with the introduction of improved technologies. Some of these challenges will be met by the "New Payments Platform" infrastructure and overlay services.

The world will be a much different place - more connected, more digital, faster and smarter.  However the reason for payments - to efficiently facilitate economic activity - will continue.