An End-of-Summer Riff on Emerging Payments

The emerging payments sector has not taken a vacation this summer. Both Visa and Google made key mobile acquisitions, while the ISIS mCommerce JV reached out to collaborate with all 4 major issuers. What will the Fall, heck, the next 5 years bring for this exciting field? Market Platform Dynamics CEO Karen Webster, who will be presenting at Emerging Payments 2011 in San Diego this November, reveals her predictions.

EMERGING PAYMENTS 2011: Why do you think it’s important to get all members of the m”commerce ecosystem together in a forum, as opposed to only hearing from one’s own industry in this discussion?

KAREN WEBSTER: mCommerce, is an example of a “platform of platforms” play and as such is incredibly complex. Here’s why: Payments, as a standalone sector, has the business challenge associated with bringing merchants, consumers, issuers, networks, processors, and others together via a business model and value proposition that makes it possible for consumers to use just about any mag”stripe card issued from any bank and at just about any merchant. Mobile is its own complex ecosystem with its own business model and value proposition challenges to incentivize operators, handset manufacturers, apps developers, payments players, and consumers to participate. Add to this the swelling number of intra”and entrepreneurs who see the potential of browsing/buying mash”ups via mobile and the entrenched interests of each of those stakeholders to consider. This includes figuring out who gets paid and how much. Only when we begin to recognize these cross”platform complexities and get those with the interest, incentive, and capability in this opportunity together in an honest and realistic conversation about these issues can we start to make progress.

EMERGING PAYMENTS 2011: What are your concerns about organizations taking the “wait and see” approach to incorporating alternative payments products and services into their platforms?

WEBSTER: The knee”jerk answer seems like it should be, “wait and see at your peril.” Yet integrating new payments products into an organization is a resource issue that must be carefully evaluated. So, probably the best approach is to have a process and set of filters in place to know when to say “yes” to the ones that matter and “no” to those who either don’t fit or won’t ignite.

EMERGING PAYMENTS 2011: How do you view the overall progress of emerging payments? Which industries are leading the way?

WEBSTER: Payments as a sector is at an interesting juncture. The traditional payments players are focused on expanding their reach into adjacent ecosystems, including mobile, social networks, healthcare, online games and exchanges, media, and software. At the same time, players in these very same large, networked ecosystems are trying to determine how payments can be pulled through to add value to their core businesses. This “push/pull” ecosystem dynamic creates enormous opportunity as well as enormous disruption.

Some of the most interesting opportunities may be in how emerging players are helping to drive innovation in the areas of healthcare payments, compliance and billing, B2B payments across all business segments, as well as the use of data to support customer acquisition and retention.

Visit the website for Emerging Payments 2011 to read the full Q+A article.


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With eyes on lowering costs to improving cash flow, 85 percent of U.S. firms plan to make real-time payments integral to their operations within three years. However, some firms still feel technical barriers stand in the way. In the January 2020 Making Real-Time Payments A Reality Study, PYMNTS surveyed more than 500 financial executives to examine what it will take to channel RTP interest into real-world adoption. Here’s what we learned.

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