This week, the Worldline Scientific Community published our Navigating Digital Payments report, in which we have identified the key trends in payments where we believe there will be significant changes in the coming years. In our analysis, we have not only identified what these changes are likely to be, but also the challenges and opportunities they will create, as well as what businesses need to do now to prepare for and benefit from them.
I can honestly say that it has felt like a great privilege to work together with my colleagues in the Scientific Community to craft this report. When we launched the community in March, we had a blank sheet of paper, and complete freedom to choose the topics we would focus on. Now, after much research and intense collaboration, we have been able to share in this document our vision for how payments will transform people’s lives over the next decade.
What has been most interesting for me personally is looking at how certain trends are converging and interacting, from which you can gain new insights about what the future will bring.
For example, consider these specific trends covered in our report:
- Consumers will increasingly prioritise products and solutions that are eco-friendly
- How governments tax, spend and legislate will be hugely influenced by the global political convergence on the fight against climate change
- Central banks will roll-out Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), both as a response to unregulated cryptocurrencies and to maintain sovereignty
- Mobile e-wallets are proving to be popular and convenient, and are starting to integrate digital identity
Whilst each trend is interesting individually, taken together I believe that they suggest some significant conclusions:
- To be successful, digital currencies will have to offer a more eco-friendly method of payment (taking into account the entire life-cycle) than those already widely used today.
- Digital currencies could provide a mechanism (via the concept of “programmable money”) for governments to implement taxation or incentives to drive more sustainable behaviour (for which digital identity linked to transactions would also be key).
Being able to reach these kinds of conclusions is why, in the Scientific Community, we bring together a diverse range of people with different profiles from across the organisation. Rather than working in a specific niche, we collaborate together and conduct a rigorous peer-review process. And by doing that we can spot such interplay between different trends to gain deeper insights and reach stronger conclusions.
To help you navigate the different trends and how they relate to each other, we identified three dualities that exist in payments. They offer a useful lens through which to understand how the future of payments will be shaped:
- Unification taming diversification – How can the proliferation of business models and new forms of currency be tamed to create straightforward, sustainable solutions?
- Seamless interactions amidst accelerated digitalisation – How can secure, inclusive digital solutions be built that enable new in-store experiences and autonomous payments?
- Implicit trust from regulations – How can the regulatory landscape and the protection of privacy be embraced in a way that will enable the data economy and trust at the point of sale?
All of these dualities point to a core dichotomy that exists in payments: behind-the-scenes complexity that is increasing, whilst consumers and merchants seek greater simplicity. But, in our view, the goal is not to reduce or eliminate the complexity, but rather to build a simplifying bridge.
And as we have said in the conclusion of our report, at Worldline, understanding this complex landscape is our day-to-day business. We combine this deep expertise with a passion for finding innovative ways to help our clients deliver the best possible experience to their customers. We are there to help you build the bridge: reshaping customer experience by simplifying complexity.
Our report Navigating Digital Payments: Reshaping customer experience by simplifying customer experience is available as a free download.