WePay's Week In Payments: The 'What's Coming in 2017' Edition
It’s a new year. Traditionally the time to look forward, make some resolutions and heed expert opinions for what to anticipate in the year ahead.
We took a look at the predictions from six different payments organizations and found the following common themes across the majority of their predictions.
IoT and Payments Everywhere
Some of the enthusiasm for this prediction was the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the first week of January. The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a favorite at CES for a few years now but the success of platforms like Amazon Alexa has led to a renewed interest in devices that just happen to also support shopping and paid services. That means payment support for the IoT and a new focus on the idea of payments everywhere.
“The internet of things will have implications for delivery of a seamless, 24/7 banking experience, and as it matures, will influence authentication and sending of secure customer information.” – The Financial Brand
“In a society where speed is paramount, self-checkout stations are becoming increasingly popular; by 2021, there will be 325,000 self-checkout units globally.” – Payfirma via Business2Community
“Contextual Commerce 2.0 will make it possible for new relationships between brands and consumers to be established and for the retail playing field to be defined differently and on the consumer’s terms.” – PYMNTS.com
Open APIs were highlighted as part of an integration trend. The trend suggests that open APIs from platform solution providers and even from banks are slowly replacing proprietary APIs that limit the scope and growth of integrated payment solutions. They are simultaneously enabling platforms of all kinds.
“Access to easy money has not, however, prevented payments service providers and banks from continuing pursuit of better and easier payables solutions. These are increasingly being delivered via cloud services and able to integrate via application programming interfaces (APIs) with other solutions along the cash cycle (such as procurement, alternative financing, and virtual cards).” – Mercator Advisory Group
“Technology, cloud computing, the diffusion of mobile devices, the many location-based technologies that mobile enables and an ever-growing supply of APIs and SDKs all make it incredibly tempting and even easy to start a ‘platform’ business.” – PYMNTS.com
“Open APIs will continue to receive increased attention and focus, particularly in relation to connected appliances, and banks will be interested in adding APIs so consumer applications can be easily created.” – Apriva
Blockchain, more mobile, better EMV tools, contextual payments, bots
There are a group of newer technologies and approaches that are coming in to fulfill increasing demand for seamless and mobile experiences. These help solve problems around more secure identity management andverification solutions.
“Blockchain is being investigated as a better potential means for managing the daunting anti-money laundering/know your customer (AML/KYC) process by virtue of more direct access to required information…” – Mercator Advisory Group
“In 2017, almost a quarter of all US adult smartphone users (45.8 million people) will use a P2P payment app at least once a month.” – Let’s Talk Payments
“While 2016 was undoubtedly the year of ‘EMV’, where payment industry product innovation was stalled in an effort to upgrade key systems and payment acceptance devices to chip card support standards, 2017 will likely see the dust settle and the re-emergence of disruptive entrants into the space.” – Apriva
“Something that we’ve seen as payments now lives inside of entirely new ecosystems, like messaging and voice-activated platforms.” – PYMNTS.com
“Microsoft, too, is doubling down on chatbots, and its CEO believes that they will soon displace apps as the enabling platform for organizing and accessing information.” – PYMNTS.com
Platforms are hard – integration and platform tools are key
A unifying theme across all these disparate ideas for 2017 is the growth of the platform. Platforms are going to have to at least be cognizant of all of these coming trends and are going to have to deal with them. And the reality is that just as merchants and clients and customers are turning to platforms to manage payments and other specialist functions within the business area where they operate, so too are platforms turning to platform solution providers that can in turn provide them with all of these new pieces and moving parts as they become important.
“There are four things that all successful platforms share. One: They make it incredibly easy for different groups of customers to get together and do business. Two: Platforms have to operate at scale. Three: Platforms need a business model that can make money. Four: A platform’s work is never done.”
“The tools available to innovators today make platforms easier than ever to create.” – PYMNTS.com
As Matt Marino here at WePay said, platforms are continuing to integrate with third party payments solutions providers. In other words, the tools and services that platforms have access to are making it easier and easier to build platforms, allowing platforms like FreshBooks or Uber or GoFundMe to focus on their core business and pass the complexity and risk of common services to platform service and tool organizations like WePay or AWS or Microsoft.