The best of 2017 on

Banking, global, technology

As December draws to a close, it’s time to look back on the biggest headlines and defining themes of 2017 for the financial services industry.

It has certainly been an interesting year, with highlights including the 50th anniversary of the ATM, brand new real-time payment systems being introduced and ongoing preparation for a regulatory shift that could transform the industry as we know it.

Here, we look back on some of the most significant stories of the past year, as covered on

50 years of the ATM

The humble ATM celebrated its 50th birthday in June 2017. Rather than simply looking back at the past five decades of growth and change for this industry-defining innovation, we looked ahead to what the next 50 years could bring.

We also explored the vital role the ATM has to play as consumers continue to show strong demand for cash in various regions, from Europe to Asia.

Preparing for PSD2

For many financial institutions (FIs), preparing for the EU’s PSD2 regulation has been priority number one in 2017. explored one of the most significant sub-themes of this regulatory shift – the growing importance of open APIs – and, in one of our most-viewed articles of the year, looked into the debate around the ongoing use of screen-scraping in this new era of retail banking.

Growth in real-time payments

Consumer expectations for secure, real-time payments have continued to grow in 2017, and the industry has responded.

In Europe, the SCT Inst cross-border instant payments system was launched in November and service providers were urged to get onboard. Visa also contributed to the evolution of the sector in Europe with the introduction of the Visa Direct real-time payments platform.

Meanwhile, the US unveiled its own real-time payments system in November and looked ahead to what the future could hold for faster payments, while banks in China are working together to offer a faster, more streamlined mobile payments facility to consumers.

Burgeoning biometrics

As consumers become more and more comfortable with the concept of biometrics – driven largely by the evolving functionality of mobile devices such as the iPhone X – the onus is on financial services providers to make this technology part of their service offering. covered various noteworthy developments on this front, including Mastercard’s experiments with biometric cards, and also asked what potential security risks could accompany the growth in this exciting technology.

Love affair with contactless continues

Consumers in markets such as the UK have embraced contactless payments in growing numbers this year.

It’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down, so looked ahead to how this payment technology could evolve in the coming years, as well as exploring concerns about the risk of fraud in the contactless payments space.

What next for the branch?

What does the future hold for the bank branch? Ongoing closures suggest that FIs are struggling to justify the cost of an extensive branch network, but consumers still want and need face-to-face engagement with their banks.

It’s an issue that has sparked a lot of interest, with two of’s most-viewed articles of 2017 asking whether smaller, tech-driven branches are the future and how providers can find the right balance between physical and digital banking.

Continuing the fight against fraud

FIs have continued to face fraud threats on various fronts in 2017, battling against everything from ATM hacks to cyber attacks and mobile malware.

We also took an in-depth look at one of the biggest emerging security risks – digital banking fraud – and what banks can do to tackle it.

As we move into a new year, there’s no doubt that ongoing modernization and vigilance will be required to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters.

So what about 2018?

The coming year looks set to be just as exciting and eventful as the last one for the financial services sector, with consumers continuing to demand the highest standards of speed, convenience, innovation and security from their providers.

Banks need to be prepared for the possibility of unprecedented change, stiffer competition and ongoing tech evolution in 2018, which could be a landmark year for the industry.


Image credit: iStock/waewkid

Written by Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal is's resident news reporter. He writes regular blogs covering the latest stories and key developments in the global financial services industry.

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