The future of payment systems

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Change in payments is in overdrive, and will only get faster. Traditional payments players are being squeezed from all sides.

This point of view explores ten trends that Accenture believes will drive the future of payments. It includes consumer views based on the results of Accenture’s 2020 North America Consumer Payments Pulse Survey.

Though they are just teens and young adults today, Gen Z will make up to 40 percent of all US consumers by 2020. This emerging demographic doesn’t remember a time before Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, and will influence other consumers.


As the payments universe expands, customer experience is becoming the prime competitive differentiator. When companies have the customers’ attention, they better get it right.


Mobile payments is poised to finally have its day thanks to APIs and open banking. And delivering a unified mobile payments experience is ground zero in the battle for the consumer.

Consumers want more rewards and are willing to switch cards to get it. Payments players have the opportunity to deliver rewards that meet consumer lifestyle needs, delivered seamlessly in real time.


The power of the network is built upon collaboration. Working within ecosystems allows companies to multiply capabilities and reach without investing from scratch.


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Banks and Fintechs will power the future of payments transformation. Banks have brand recognition, industry knowledge and a customer base to scale. Fintechs have disruptive technologies and agility.


Every credit card account becomes software code. It will reinvent customer experiences, and influence regulations and security measures.

Everyone can be a merchant and every device can be an acceptance device. The payment network becomes bilateral for the first time.


Bankers view data security as among the top challenges in payments today. As the industry projects $31.3 billion in global card losses in 2020, financial institutions must push to out-innovate the fraudsters.


Overhauling existing payments infrastructures is a must for payments players today. Replacing inflexible systems with open and agile frameworks is key to compete.


The future holds great opportunities for banks, credit card companies and new entrants–if they are up for the challenge. Winners will begin now to evolve business strategies, operating models, systems and cultures, buckling up for what promises to be a wild ride, and buckling down on change.

The Future of Payment Technology in 2020 and Beyond

Payment technology trends today are shaping the future of merchant services. At the heart of this seismic shift are three core elements: Security, usability, and automation.

What’s driving the greatest change in payment technology in recent years is the emergence of technology companies entering the payments space, including Apple, Samsung, and Google. The lines between what is a payment company, and what is a technology company, has blurred — and the world of payment technology options have become greater than ever.

Both merchants and consumers today have the desire to utilize payment methods that are quick, secure and enhance the overall experience. To help you wade through the crowded world of payments processing technology, we’ve gathered a list of top trends that will be the future of payment technology in 2020 and beyond.

In-Store Mobile Payments

Credit cards will remain king for long into the future, but the form in which that credit card is used will continue to evolve. In-store mobile payments that rely on NFC technology, mobile wallets, and other contactless payment methods is a payment technology trend that is here for the long haul. Industry estimates peg the in-store mobile payment market to be worth $503 billion by 2020.

Enhanced security methods that tokenize payments and allow for consumers to ditch their physical credit cards crosses off two boxes that are important to businesses and shoppers: A desire for more convenient payment methods that are fast and simple and secure to use. This will continue to propel the in-store mobile payment market.

Mobile-Point-Of-Sale Payments

Another extension of the in-store mobile payments market is the rise of the mobile point of sale devices. These devices are equipped to help businesses take their payment needs on the go. Instead of being constrained to brick-and-mortar locations, mobile-point-of-sale payments provide merchants with modern, flexible opportunities to interact with their customers anytime and anywhere. The mPOS market has broken down payment barriers and made it easier for merchants of all sizes to accept mobile and credit card payments.

The mPOS payment experience provides better engagement with customers, and it also enhances the checkout process with more speed and flexibility.

The mPOS market is transforming the future of payment technology by introducing new devices that no longer keep merchants connected to clunky legacy payment systems. Mobile-point-of-sale systems have more opportunities to incorporate customer loyalty programs, capture customer information better and streamline the entire checkout experience. Collectively, this will make the mPOS payment technology continue to gain traction.

Biometric Authentication

Industry data suggests that by 2021, there will be more than 18 billion biometric transactions happening every year. That figure will continue to rise as more devices incorporate biometric technology into how consumers authenticate passwords for more than just payments. Instead of relying on a single method to verify identity, multi-factor authentication that incorporates biometrics is the next big trend to watch in 2020 and beyond.

The future of payments technology is all about perfecting more secure identity authentication. As credit card fraud continues to be a significant pain point for everyone involved in the payments ecosystem, including merchants looking for more advanced ways to verify the legitimacy of a shopper’s identity in order to avoid fraudulent charges that lead to costly chargebacks that can complicate relationships with payment partners.

That’s where biometric authentication is going to be a game-changer for the payment technology market. Instead of relying on traditional credit card payments that often verify identity with a signature or PIN, biometrics takes the security measures to the next level. From fingerprints to faces and even iris scans, this will be the next payment technology trend that redefines how the industry starts to talk about payment security.

NFC Contactless Payments

Beyond mobile payments, the concept of contactless payments that rely on NFC technology will continue to be a trend that expands across the payment technology market. From wearable payment devices to credit cards that allow consumers to pay in a simple tap at the terminal, NFC technology is defining the future of payment technology. Contactless payment trends have already caught on in the public transportation market in major U.S. cities and this trend will expand to more payment options.

AI and Voice Technology

Amazon’s Alexa has begun to change the digital commerce game by introducing an artificial intelligence assistant into the shopping experience. Consumers are now buying into the concept of “voice commerce” where they can simply order and pay using only a few simple commands. AI technology allows consumers to easily shop and pay for items without even having to browse through their device. Instead, thanks to more sophisticated AI and enhanced digital payment methods, shoppers can simply tell a device to order an item for them. Relying on these “assistants” to navigate an easier shopping experience will be a trend that will change how merchants are thinking about their online stores. It’s also going to help evolve digital payment methods that rely on payment details to be stored through secure cloud technology.

Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

The last payment technology trend is one that’s really taken off in the past few years in the mainstream commerce market. With bitcoin being the leading cryptocurrency that most consumers know about, this is going to be a payment method that more retailers begin to accept as a legitimate payment method. This virtual currency is known for its secure transaction ability since it relies on cryptocurrency to verify the payment itself.
Consumers are now able to pay with bitcoin at major retailers as the trend catches on with consumers who are looking for payment methods that are believed to be more secure and less traceable. Blockchain, which is the technology behind bitcoin, is a distributed ledger that records transactions across a peer-to-peer network through a computer system. Bitcoin itself may not be the future of money, but blockchain technology is certainly getting attention from banks and major payment players. Look for this trend to continue in 2020 and beyond.

The Future of Payments

Exploring the key influencing trends

The global payments ecosystem is constantly evolving into a complex global network. As new Fintech startups disrupt the way we move money around the world, businesses of all sizes need to keep informed about the changing payments landscape. To remain relevant and competitive, you need to understand today’s payment trends and consider how to advance your payment processes to meet the demands of modern commerce.

On this page, you’ll find our handpicked whitepapers, reports, blog posts and videos for you to consult on a variety of important payment topics.

Cost and Value in Banks — A Model Fit for the Digital Era?

Research from The European Research Institute (ECRI) brings fresh insight into how the banking sector manages costs while balancing the need to add value to services provided to both retail and corporate customers.

International Merchant Treasurers: The New Payment “Super Users”

As Europe’s payments landscape is transformed, merchant treasurers now have the opportunity to exert greater control over the financial health of their companies.

Strategies for Fighting Fraud in the Real-Time World

In tackling payments fraud, PSPs are increasingly turning to technology. Successful fraud prevention is all about decision-making – accepting the good transactions and denying the fraudulent ones – with the best available information in real-time.

Balancing Simplicity with Diversity: Transforming Payments Systems for the Digital Age

Does your payment infrastructure need modernization? Read our white paper to learn the best ways businesses can leverage digital payment innovations to stay efficient and competitive.

The Future of Payments: Who Is Positioned for Advantage?

This paper explores how changing payment systems alter the relationship of consumers to banks and retailers, as well as the strategic consequences of the new payment landscape.

The Future of Payments in a Digitalized World

In this paper, we demonstrate that, by adopting digital payment systems, banks are in a better position to compete technologically and financially.

Innovation, Distributed

This report maps the symbiotic relationship between banking and Fintech 2.0.

Instant Payments — The Journey So Far

This paper explores why there has been such a push for instant payments around the world.

An Insider’s View to Payments & FinTech

This report delivers the top findings of the 2020 Global Payments Innovation Jury, comprising 70 successful payments executives from 37 countries.

Global Payments Insight Series

Check out our series of reports for insights into how to stay competitive in the changing payments landscape.

Key Drivers

From browsing to purchasing, new technologies are altering the payments industry. In particular, The Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, and Open APIs have worked their way into the mainstream. Check out our white papers, blog posts and videos for insights into how these innovations are driving significant consumer and business trends.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how commerce and payment transactions are conducted. Consult these resources to explore how the financial services industry can both address the challenges and seize the opportunities.

Video | Bringing IoT and Payments Together


Consult these resources to learn how Blockchain secures data, avoids duplication, decentralizes information, shares it publically and automatically executes smart contracts, among a host of other innovative benefits for payment systems.

Open APIs

Open APIs are transforming the payments experience for both individual customers and global corporations. Consult these resources to examine how software intermediaries are rapidly emerging as future drivers of banking and financial services.

Insights from our experts

About ACI Worldwide

ACI Worldwide, the Universal Payments (UP) company, powers electronic payments for more than 6,000 organizations around the world. More than 1,000 of the largest financial institutions and intermediaries, as well as thousands of global merchants, rely on ACI to execute $14 trillion each day in payments and securities. In addition, myriad organizations utilize our electronic bill presentment and payment services. Through our comprehensive suite of software solutions delivered on customers’ premises or through ACI’s private cloud, we provide real-time, immediate payments capabilities and enable the industry’s most complete omni-channel payments experience. To learn more about ACI, please visit You can also find us on Twitter @ACI_Worldwide.

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