2017 In Payments: The Year Of …


A lot can happen in a year. What makes one stand out from another? How shall 2017 go down in the history books?

Search Google for “2017: the year of…” and it becomes clear that many have seen this as a year of “death” and “disaster.” Others were not so quick to characterize it negatively, trawling the search engine instead for “the year of change.” Still others decided not to get philosophical about it at all, searching merely for “2017: the year of the rooster” or “the year of our Lord.”

Zoom in on the payments industry and the impressions are just as varied. PYMNTS asked 29 industry experts how they would characterize the year and got 30 different answers, so it seems it all depends on perspective. One thing is clear, however, and Creditcall CTO Jeremy Gumbley perhaps said it best:

“Nearly every aspect of our industry has undergone some level of change, improvement, enhancement or replacement,” Gumbley said.

“As such, if I had to pick a single theme for 2017, I’d say it’s been a year of disruption.”

Put another way, “Payments is no longer a traditional industry with slow innovation,” said Bill Lodes, First American executive vice president of business development and strategy. “Companies are moving at breakneck speeds to provide payment innovation to the market. I look back at this year and the one word that comes to mind is evolution.”

It certainly has been a year of change in more ways than one, some good and some bad.

Digitization has accelerated, with application program interfaces (APIs) establishing a firm hold as the go-to method for implementing payments solutions. Consumers are living digital lives, and financial institutions (FIs) and organizations are clamoring to meet them where they are. In fact, many invested significant budget dollars into the development of new software and strategies to achieve this goal.

Alternative payment methods such as eWallets and wearables saw modest growth this year, with many experts anticipating an acceleration of the trend in 2018.

FinTechs have played a major role in the growth of digital — yet despite introducing significant disruption to the industry, the dust is beginning to settle and these nimble upstarts are, in many cases, beginning to work with traditional FIs rather than against them.

Digital security has also been top-of-mind as the list of blockbuster data breaches grows longer and the impact of each grows larger than the last. This has brought the issue into the public’s eye, leading consumers to put additional pressure on banks and corporations to step up their security game.

In the PYMNTS year-end eBook, experts shared how this industry-wide disruption touched their corners of the payments world in 2017, including categories as diverse as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, globalization, personalization, blockchain and the cashless (or at least, less-cash) economy trend.

We hope you enjoy the read.