Cash & Liquidity ManagementPaymentsCustomer demand for digital payments booming but obstacles to innovation remain

Customer demand for digital payments booming but obstacles to innovation remain

Developing markets are driving rapid growth in non-cash transactions but banks are facing multiple barriers to the creation of a new ecosystem for payments, according to the latest World Payments Report from Capgemini and BNP Paribas.

Digital payments are experiencing a boom, driven by developing markets, according to the World Payments Report 2018 launched yesterday by Capgemini and BNP Paribas. However, the innovation landscape in payments is uncertain as big tech entrants make their presence felt, and incumbents face technical and regulatory complexity in the development of new collaborative payments ecosystems between themselves and fintechs.  

The report finds that it will take more than bank-led initiatives to grow the new payments landscape. The broader financial services community – including public-sector organizations, regulators and third parties – must determine their new roles and work together with large payment users to ensure a smooth, balanced and robust payments ecosystem development. 

Developing markets are driving non-cash growth 

The report forecasts that non-cash transactions will post a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7% through to 2021, following growth of 10.1% in 2015-16, which saw the total volume reach 482.6 billion. 

This non-cash boom is being driven by developing markets, with Russia (CAGR of 36.5%), India (33.2%) and China (25.8%) notable movers during 2015-16. Mature markets maintained steady growth of more than 7%. 

Developing markets are set to show a 21.6% CAGR, led by emerging Asia at 28.8% over the next five years. By 2021, developing markets are expected to account for around half of all non-cash transactions worldwide, overtaking the mature markets for the first time, whose current share stands at 66.3%. 

BigTechs are opening their e-wallets 

Disruption of the payments market is accelerating as new technologies take hold, and big technology companies and fintechs make their presence felt. 

In particular, e-wallets are on the rise and presenting a major market opportunity for non-traditional payments providers. In 2016, e-wallets accounted for 8.6% of non-cash transactions (a volume of 41.8 billion), of which 71% were facilitated by big technology providers. 

Innovation faces complexities 

Although disruption is accelerating and market entrants are proliferating, there are regulatory and technical complexity challenges to the development of innovative new payments ecosystems, along with the expectation of the current level of security. Only 38% of bank executives surveyed for the report said they were ‘planning an anchor role’ in new payments ecosystems. 

“As demand for digital payments is strong, especially in developing markets, some banks may want to revisit their choice to not seek an anchor role in the new emerging payments ecosystem,” said Anirban Bose, CEO of Capgemini’s Financial Services and member of the Group Executive Board.  

“With their significant market share in the payments industry and implementation of new technologies, banks are in a unique position to shape the marketplace. They can also create new revenue streams through innovative, collaborative relationships with fintechs and active participation by the broader financial services community.” 

With their significant market share in the payments industry and implementation of new technologies, banks are in a unique position to shape the marketplace

Like banks, corporate treasurers should also consider their role in the new ecosystem as they expect value-added services that are safe, efficient, reliable and global, and could co-design these services with banks. 

“Large payments users are also a key constituency in the evolution of innovation in the payments industry. Without their participation, payments services providers are missing a vital opportunity to shape new offerings in transaction banking such as in cash aggregation, cash forecasting and automated treasury,” said Bruno Mellado, head of international payments and receivables at BNP Paribas.  

“These offerings could equip corporate treasurers with the means to move beyond a tactical or operational role and towards a more strategic one for their companies.” 

Indicative of the complexities that surround innovation in the payments marketplace, many respondents said that adoption of a real-time payments infrastructure was being inhibited by lack of interoperability between schemes (identified by 74.1% of executives) and weak data and authorization standardization (59.3%). 

On distributed ledger technology (DLT), 85.9% highlighted lack of interoperability, 83.% lack of regulatory clarity, and 77.1% ability to scale, as factors limiting adoption. 

The report also shows how key regulatory and industry initiatives (KRIIs) are threatening to create conflicts as they spread from a regional to a global level. Conflicting KRIIs pose implementation and operational challenges that could hinder the transition to new payments ecosystems. Examples include the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) and PSD2 conflict, as well as GDPR and PSD2. 


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