2014 marked the year we became all too familiar with terms such as data breaches, data protection and payment solutions, thanks to high-profile security breaches to Target, Staples, Kmart, and The Home Depot, to name a few.
So, what has changed a year after the Target breach, besides costing the company tens of millions of dollars, losing customer loyalty, and leaving almost 12 million consumers vulnerable to identity theft?
The answer is not much. However, this doesn’t mean that we, as in consumers, retailers, issuers, haven’t learned anything from these incidents. To start with, we learned that the payment solutions system in the U.S. is extremely weak and clearly unable to protect a massive number of consumers, and it needs to change now. With this reality in mind, a growing number of issuers and retailers have started acting on updating credit cards to EMV chip-enabled cards and upgrading their systems.
Why these retailers and issuers have moved toward this change is not a completely selfless act, because 2015 is a different game than 2014, with the fast approaching EMV migration deadline in October. This payment solution milestone will ensure issuers and/or merchants are taking responsibility for their own systems and their customers’ data safety
In light of this, here are some predictions for how 2015 will play out in the payment solutions industry with a special focus on EMV Migration:
1. 2015 will be the year for EMV technology to become an industry standard in the U.S:
Since the liability shift deadline is right around the corner, the issuer banks, third party processors, acquirer banks, as well as the retailers will need to start and/or complete the Chip Issuance and Acceptance in 2015. The non-compliant ones will face the risk of losing their market share. Being EMV ready will become a strong competitive advantage in the payment systems market.
2. Contact-less technologies, mobile technologies and the mobile commerce market share will increase in 2015:
The migration will also trigger the increase in mobile payments, since it is perceived as a “more secure way of payment” by many consumers. Therefore, the new technologies, such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, HCE (Host Card Emulation), and Beacon, will attract an increased number of consumers, which in return, will start offering a variety of new applications like mobile loyalty, peer-to-peer payments, etc. By contrast, wearable technologies will start finding traction, in terms of market share, but it will only become widely adopted within the next couple of years. However, we can expect various players offering new solutions to address different needs such as ease of payment, security, privacy, not only for consumers, but also for merchants.
3. The payment systems industry will start focusing on the “prepaid” solutions:
This will target mostly the unbanked population, but with the wide use of Chip and Contact-less Technologies, we will start seeing the common use of the chip especially for low ticket value – transportation transactions, for instance. The players in the system will start looking for and applying global standards, set forth by industry brands (like Visa/MasterCard) for “open loop” solutions. It will not be a surprise to see an increased number of tap-and-go types of NFC (Near Field Communications) payments this year.
4. The time for the new global players in e-commerce:
We also expect announcements for new mergers and acquisitions, and possible joint ventures in 2015, considering the amount of traction mobile technologies will gain among consumers. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or the secure offline payment solutions will expand their user networks, but the real competition will be on the e-commerce side, where we will witness a fierce competition between global players like Google and Amazon, offering payment system services to their customer bases.
Gokhan Inonu is a global leader with over 25 years of experience in EMV migration and financial transactions leadership roles. In his current position as President, Cardtek USA, Mr. Inonu heads the American division of Cardtek Group and oversees operations, sales, marketing and partner management.