This year was huge for payments. We saw the mobile wallet wars ignite into an all-out game of “anything you can do I can do better, anything you can do I can do better than you.”
Every time you turned your head in 2015, another mobile pay bit was being announced—Google Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay and the most recent additions, Chase Pay and Walmart Pay.
With all of that news, it’s amazing anything else made the short list of top buzz words, but alas, the old creaky systems in the U.S. had the spotlight shone brightly on their underbellies, and announcements from the Fed and NACHA were loud and clear—change is coming.
The U.S. will join the rest of the world (at least it feels like the rest of the world) in the chase for real time, ubiquitous payments.
And the final 2015 trend, which I think is the greatest slow-moving momentum story of all time, the EMV liability shift. “Cart abandonment” will for the first time refer to actual physical cart abandonment; the shoving lines won’t be going into the store but trying to get out.
But enough of the reminiscing. We are here to hit on the payment buzzwords of 2016.
Wearables. I am not talking about fitbits and Apple Watches. Wearables are going to have a new family member join the fray, Virtual Reality headsets. Samsung made a move to bring Oculus Rift to the masses with Samsung Gear VR. In a replay of everything that Samsung and Android have gotten to market with first, VR could be the one that they keep attention and market share away from Apple, only 2016 and beyond will tell.
Biometrics. We saw biometrics slowly and discreetly enter the payments arena with Apple’s Touch ID or Samsung’s Fingerprint Scanner. Whether to unlock your bank’s mobile application or pay for goods at the POS, fingerprint scanning was the first step into using biometrics to authenticate a user. Look for facial recognition to be the next big piece, say it with me… Pay by selfie!
Banking APIs.With PSD2 around the corner (and across the pond), the fight for opening up banking APIs to third parties will come home to roost; you saw the initial battle lines drawn this past week from both Chase and Bank of America (with likely more to follow) in terms of dealing with account aggregation sites and sharing customer data. I think this is going to be a hot topic as the year kicks off and likely stay at a rolling boil throughout the year.
Mobile Payments will at least double if not triple in volume for the calendar year in 2016. Maybe a safe prediction, but as the EMV shift continues to bring new POS terminals to market, old iPhones get their long awaited upgrades to the 6 and beyond, Android Pay and Samsung Pay reach their clients en masse, and new smart watches enter the market, more options that are at least as convenient as EMV cards (if not more convenient) will lift this space dramatically over the course of the next 12 months.
Olympic gold will be awarded to athletes, but no medals will be handed out for the winner of the mobile payment wars. We have at least another 3-5 years before the dust settles or the battlefield shifts; either way it’s going to be fun to watch Rio from afar.
P2P will be the biggest trend feature in the mobile wallet space, followed by coupons/offers. Chase Pay and MCX will likely drive this conversation but Apple, Samsung and Android will not be far behind.
Mark Ranta is head of digital banking solutions at ACI Worldwide.