Review of the Card Payments Year (Part 2)
Having discussed some of the global trends in card payments here, we turn our attention to developments that have impacted at a more regional level.
The US has been assessing the impact of EMV and now seems set to introduce Chip & PIN over the next few years. There is still much discussion around the cost/benefit analysis of this move but it seems that the lack of a clear way forward in the mobility sector is providing enough inertia for even the most pessimistic business case to look good. EMV USA is on its way and let's hope that much of the pain experienced in implementation elsewhere can be avoided.
On a sexier level (everything is relative!!!), the US has also seen the emergence of tablets in the retail sector. The trend is starting to gain traction elsewhere too and, with the prospect of using tablets for both typical EPOS applications alongside customer facing applications this trend could have a big impact on the future shape of payment systems.
In Europe, and in the UK in particular, the rollout of contactless card acceptance devices finally seems to have hit the tipping point with many major retailers committing or even rolling out. Uptake from a cardholder perspective is still relatively low so there is still much work to be done on the issuing and education of cardholders side.
Also in Europe, work around streamlining security approvals and payment systems in general continue. National approvals and processes in Europe has historically been a huge barrier to entry to new vendors. Although they are never as quick to deliver as originally hoped for, any initiatives which encourage more competition has to be a good thing for the wider market. The continued growth of card payment in central and eastern Europe, markets unhindered by historic security and debit scheme programmes, has provided some lower hanging fruit in the meantime.
Hoping to take advantage of all these developments is a new breed of hardware vendor emerging from Asia. We have seen similar attempts in the past, of course, but this time, and with lessons from these previous attempts learned, the market conditions are far more favourable both in terms of opportunity and competition.