The PYMNTS team caught up with experts in the payments field to ask them their views on industry trends, predictions for the coming year and what their ideal payments system looks like — and how far off that vision is.
Azimo’s CEO Michael Kent shared with us his thoughts on the major changes that may be in store for the payments industry in the coming years.
PYMNTS: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST THEMES, SUCCESSES OR CHALLENGES YOU'VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY THIS YEAR?
MK: It's been a great year for payments. There are more people wanting to talk about payments, putting money into payments, investing in payments and selling product to payments, so I think it's been an amazing year for the industry. I think that 2015, for a lot of people, has been about raising money. Companies in retail and financial services, particularly payments, have raised a ton of capital. If 2015 is about raising the money then I think 2016 is going to be all about execution.
PYMNTS: WHAT DO YOU SEE AS BEING LARGER ISSUES OR THEMES LOOKING FORWARD TO 2016?
MK: I think 2016 will be super interesting and maybe the market will become a little bit more sensible. I think the Square IPO will be really telling in how the wider market perceives this new, emerging sector. If I had to make a prediction for 2016, it would be that good companies are going to be executing and there will be a diversion between those doing things well and those that potentially don't have product market fit or don't quite have a business model that works.
PYMNTS: WHAT DO YOU THINK PAYMENTS WILL LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE? HOW DO YOU THINK THINGS SHOULD EVOLVE?
MK: In the remittances space, the traditional route of sending money overseas by going to a place like MoneyGram or Wester Union is broken. It's expensive, slow and the exception rate is very high, so what we would like to see is international cross-border payments becoming as easy as sending a WhatsApp or Facebook message. That's how we would like to see the market evolve, but it's very hard and there are some things that make it tricky. Cross-border regulation is super complex and the technology stack for payments is often archaic. There's a shake out and changing of that technology that has to happen, but what we would like to see is incredibly convenient, fast, instant payments to anyone everywhere; that's how we think it should be.