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Oh payment trends, oh payment trends….

So, as we sit down to give thanks for family and friends and start the endless parade of gift swaps, holiday cocktail parties and the barrage of sporting events, it’s time to share my 8 main trends of 2018 (*and the gratuitous bonus one for good luck as we say good bye to 2017).

  1. Mobile The gift that keeps on giving. You can look to my earliest set of predictions dating back more than five years ago and you’ll note this is still my number one trend. In an industry that has been changing rapidly, this nifty little computer in your pocket has been at the epicenter of helping shift consumer behavior, and this year won’t be the one in which we say goodbye to this stalwart of the trend report/predictions.As the new and improved iPhone rolls out, the mobile pay wars are still in full bloom as Walmart Pay rapidly gains share. Mobile will be a central theme in 2018 (like it was in 2007-2017), and the mobile payment trend will continue to strengthen as we move ever more closer to the cardless society (calling it now as the trend for 2025!).
  2. Data Protection In case you haven’t heard, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) goes into effect in mid-2018, 25 May 2018 to be exact! I will leave the full context of this to my respected European colleagues, but the trend here is on the focus of data, who owns it, and how to protect it.I think the conversations at next year’s conferences will be very much focused on Authorization, who can use my data and who can’t, and how that is managed. It’s going to be a fascinating topic because it’s been overshadowed by our next trend the past 18 months. 
  3. PSD2 err 3? The Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) goes live in January 2018 shortly after the last of the champagne gets consumed and all of us return to the offices to kick off the new year. Many questions remain, how will the new TPP market unfold, what will consumer demands look like, which banks will become PISPs? Will this bring the GAFA into the fold?2018 will start to unlock these secrets; also, we may learn what the Revised Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD3) may be focused on. 
  4. “Cashless” The term gets thrown around a lot, however with recent Gen Z findings, the trend toward our cashless utopian existence may not be that far off. In fact, we are beginning to see the initial new cashless markets appear in the Nordics, and the trend is continuing in countries like India that are making full-on pushes toward it—to create a more inclusive financial ecosystem.I believe this trend continues to build strength in 2018 with more regions making the push and possibly more governments taking on cashless initiatives to help drive their economies into the new digital reality.
  5. Biometrics Facial recognition will lead  us out of 2017 and into 2018 as the iPhone X moves away from the fingerprint and toward facial recognition software. As noted in my earlier meanderings on the topic, the science fiction of the past has rapidly become the science of today.This move toward identity and digital identification processes that will take us away from the password and username is at the heart of what I expect to hear about in 2018. I can’t wait to see what Seth has to say about this space as its evolution is going to help drive us away from plastic to mobile to not needing a form factor other than ourselves in the very near future. And I can’t wait until the day where I don’t have to worry about forgetting my wallet or phone on the quick errand run! 
  6. Augmented Reality While Pokemon Go was a phenomenon from last year, the augmented reality space is still very much in the near-term trend focus. Helping give context via a digital augmented experience is something I find intriguing and while the use cases aren’t all that readily apparent beyond helping technicians fix machines, the ability to have enhanced experiences via your device is pretty neat…maybe it’s something as simple as booking a reservation to a restaurant through an in-app camera experience while you’re standing in front of it or purchasing a package of hot dogs using “not hot dog app” at the holiday party…who knows, but this space will boom as we move further into the IoT value chain. 
  7. Open Can you believe I waited till 7 to get to Open? Well this will be at the heart of pretty much all of our 2018 discussions from my end of the New Payments Ecosystem in 2018. The digital transformation technology of Open APIs to the Levels of Openness 2018 will focus on the business decisions around Open strategies and how FIs will be able to monetize an open strategy.This will be a multi-year trend that I can’t wait to see evolve, as 2017 was really the foundational layer of this trend. And while it may not have the decade-plus run as a top trend like our friend the mobile device, Open will be the foundational layer that the next 20 years of trends are built from. 
  8. Transformation You can’t have a discussion on banking without mentioning transformation, whether it’s fully transforming the bank or transforming a process, everyone and everything is in a state of transformation. I think the trend for 2018 will see the first big bang results of the first transformation strategies.The large scale savings on the annual reports will start to show up and the large scale project announcements will gain speed as super regional banks join the multinationals in undertaking transformation projects. If 2018 has a word cloud produced next December, I believe this word will be at the center in big bold letters. 
  9. The bonus trend – Partnerships I mentioned it in my wrap from last year’s big conferences…and I don’t believe it will lose any steam in 2018. I think large scale partnerships will help drive change in the New Payments Ecosystem in 2018 and likely the biggest target will be cross-border immediate payments.As more and more countries come online with their immediate payments schemes, the next leap will be to ubiquity and that will require partnerships to happen—2018 will likely be the seed year for this trend to bloom. 

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy end to their 2017 and enjoys time with family, friends and loved ones alike. We’ll be seeing you out there in 2018 to discuss and debate all of the above and everything else under the payments sun…until then however, happy holidays! 

Head of Digital Banking Solutions

As the Head of Digital Banking Solutions, Mark works closely with financial institutions discussing, exploring, and examining market trends and key drivers in the evolving digital solutions space with a key focus on mobile, tablet and the future of wearable technology. Prior to moving into the sales organization Mark was Senior Product Marketing Manager for ACI's Digital Banking solutions. He was responsible for developing and executing product launch and go to market activities for the related product lines. Prior to joining ACI in 2012, Mark worked at Greenwich Associates as a Senior Project Director on their Custom Projects team. Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lafayette College.  The future of Fintech and where the digital banking evolution will take us is at the heart of what Mark reads about, researches, discusses, promotes and debates. As a proud card carrying millennial, Mark's primary goal is to bring a fresh yet informed point of view to the discussion. It is truly an exciting time to be in the industry as everything down to the foundation of the financial society is being challenged by innovative individuals and start-ups alike. Mark looks forward to helping companies and banks alike navigate the disruptive environment they are in today towards a successful future.