It is not every year that one can report on the likes of MasterCard snapping up VocaLink; Visa Inc. completing the deal to acquire Visa Europe; or the creation of Diebold Nixdorf, the result of Diebold acquiring Wincor Nixdorf. Douglas Blakey writes

Add in interesting developments along the way, such as the agreement between Visa and PayPal, MasterPass going omnichannel, and MasterCard Instalment pilots going global, and 2016 was a pretty interesting year.

The rise and rise of contactless has been another recurring theme, giving traditional cards a new lease of life.

Contactless growth might also represent one reason why past new year forecasts from contributors about the massive potential adoption of mobile and e-wallets have been more miss than hit.

Some of the more optimistic forecasts around this time of the year about adoption rates for Apple and Android Pay have also been significantly off the mark.

It is over two years and counting since the launch of Zapp was announced in the UK; according to the surrounding hype we we’re all going to be using the smartphone to tap and pay in store using NFC by now.

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Again, according to the industry experts of a few years back, by now we ought to be seeing mobile wallets offering value-add services and integrated loyalty schemes, in the process boosting mobile wallets towards a supposed tipping point.

Yes, they are easy and secure to use, and consumers are increasingly appreciating the choice of using stored value in the wallet or taking funds from a payment type linked to their eWallet.

Alipay, Tenpay, PayPal and Yandex have all been able to report impressive growth stats, with Alipay and Tenpay scoring blinding successes in China.

Elsewhere, the cards sector remains in pretty rude health, with credit remaining the most popular payment method for e-commerce in markets such as Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Singapore and the US.

In France, Russia, Mexico, and the UK the debit card remains the most popular payment method.

Looking ahead to 2017, more of the same: regulation, new entrants, greater competition and more efficiency gains.

APIs and PSD2 will not see existing providers disappear, but there will be new partnerships.

Expect more talk about consumers monetising personal data – probably more talk than action.

Credit card use in Germany – it never reached 10% of consumers – may even fall further as alternative payments rise.
On a positive note, 2017 will witness a happy 50th birthday for the ATM.

Blockchain-powered solutions will be launched; a greater emphasis on reassuring consumers’ security concerns will see a greater investment in biometrics.

To all readers, subscribers, PRs and press officers: A very Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2017.