The payments industry is quickly adapting to new technology, new regulations and new consumer demands. Here are 15 of the industry's major transformations already in progress.(Image: iStock)
EMV in the USA
October 2015 is the deadline for most companies in the United States to be able to support EMV-chip card payments. Some have fast-tracked their plans, but others are not expected to be ready in time. (Image: Shutterstock)
Faster Payments
Several entities — including Nacha, the Federal Reserve and The Clearing House — have undertaken projects with the goal of speeding up electronic payments in the U.S., enabling same-day or real-time payments. The industry's growing attention to Bitcoin could also fuel some faster-payments initiatives. (Image: Thinkstock)
Apple Watch
Apple Pay is already in consumers' hands, but what will happen when it reaches consumers' wrists? The 2015 launch of the Apple Watch may be the make-it-or-break-it moment for wearable payments, particularly since Apple's smartwatch will come with NFC — a technology that's absent from most other smartwatches. (Image: Bloomberg News)
Starbucks in Mobile Payments
Starbucks is already a force in mobile payments, claiming 90% of mobile-pay share in the U.S. in 2013. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (pictured) says "the real growth is yet to come," but new entrants like Apple Pay and CurrentC will challenge its dominant position. (Image: Bloomberg News)
Alibaba and Apple
A partnership between Alibaba and Apple would be a strong pairing with global reach. The companies' CEOs hinted at such a prospect late in 2014, but neither revealed what their team-up could mean for the payments industry. (Image: Bloomberg News)
Amazon Wallet
An Amazon wallet app snuck onto Android and Fire phones in mid-2014, with no marketing and few features. If Amazon has bigger ambitions for mobile payments, it will likely build on this app. (Image: Bloomberg News)
CurrentC Launch
The long-awaited Merchant Customer Exchange wallet, CurrentC, is planning a 2015 debut. At that point, it should become clear if the retailers who bet on CurrentC — and against Apple Pay — made the right move. (Image: Bloomberg News)
PayPal Spins Off
Under eBay's current timeline, its PayPal unit should become an independent company sometime in 2015, opening up opportunities for partnerships with companies that might not have cared to work with PayPal as a unit of a major online marketplace. (Image: Shutterstock)
Global Grab
As U.S. companies like Apple and Square plant the seeds for expansion for their mobile payment offerings in other countries, Alipay, Ingenico and many others are eyeing the U.S. and other foreign turf. (Image: Shutterstock)
Interactive Cards
Companies like Coin (pictured) and Stratos are betting that consumers would be willing to pay for an all-in-one device that stores all of their payment cards, even though the shift to EMV might work against their goals. And banks are evaluating options for using interactive cards to store multiple accounts.
Security and Identity
In the aftermath of the 2013 Target data breach, many companies began discussing the use of tokenization to replace sensitive card data with a secure value called a token. Some want to wipe out passwords entirely, and others are looking for ways to build a digital identity that can operate across devices. (Image: Shutterstock)
BitLicense for Banks
New York's efforts to regulate Bitcoin could spill over into other areas of financial services. In particular, state regulator Benjamin Lawsky said he might use his BitLicense framework as a model for banks and insurance companies. In this way, the Bitcoin movement could serve as a catalyst to modernize regulation in financial services. (Image: Shutterstock)
Swipe-Fee Battle Continues
Late in 2014, Google added its name to the list of retailers that would rather stay in court than accept the multi-billion-dollar swipe-fee settlement the card networks reached last year. This fight is sure to continue in 2015. (Image: Shutterstock)
Payment Data in Lending
PayPal and Square both have small-business lending programs that base their decision process on the payment data the companies already have from their merchant clients. This is one of many potentially powerful new uses of payment data. (Image: Thinkstock)
Prepaid Blends with Bank Accounts
Regions Bank realized that the pricing that works in prepaid could also appeal to bank customers, so it applied a fee to mobile check deposit. This trend could continue as more banks realize that the practices developed for prepaid accounts can be applied to other bank products. (Image: iStock)