The world is getting faster these days. Change happens at the speed of, well, if not light, then sound. The information deluge is constant. Commerce is constant. Payments and financial services? Always on, too, and always in demand. There’s no such thing as “bankers’ hours” anymore.
No surprise, then, that innovation in the payments space is getting ever-more truncated in terms of time to market. It’s also no surprise that trends now come in waves, more often than not, with nary a ripple effect in sight. Deals are cut across industries as firms seek scale, scope and technology to tie it all together. Witness, for example, Amazon’s push into food via Whole Foods Market – and its foray into medicine through its announcement, just last week, that it would buy PillPack. Not to mention push payments, which use existing rails to get gig workers paid as projects are completed.
Any number of examples of innovation and change pop up in the pages that follow. We asked executives from several points along the payments continuum to weigh in on what those trends and innovations mean, looking both backward and forward.
What better demarcation point for introspection, reflection and prognostication than the half-year mark? The hazy days of summer may be upon us, but the executives we’ve tapped are clear-eyed in their assessment of what changes have been wrought, in ways grand and small — and where trends have developed in the year, thus far, and where they are going.
It's not just about digital, with transactions done in ones and zeroes. It’s not just consumers going mobile. It’s not just the headlines about cars that drive themselves, or Big Data, or cryptos or blockchain. It’s all of this — and, of course, a lot more.
Among some of the musings from our experts: Mergers are less about volume and more about bringing new value to end markets. The regulatory environment is changing for firms of all shapes and sizes. PSD2 and GDPR have crossed the Rubicon from mere acronyms to reality. Artificial intelligence is no longer the province of science fiction.
Want more food for thought? Put down that beach read and get ready to delve into some heady stuff.