Brad Hyett, CEO of phos discusses with Douglas Blakey and Evie Rusman the prospects for the cards and payments sector in 2021

Understanding the region and country-specific nuances of the digitalisation of payments

Many countries have shifted their digital transformation projects up their priority list this year in response to the pandemic, including the digitalisation of payments and cashless alternatives. In 2021, we’ll see these projects fully realised and taken advantage of by merchants and consumers alike. If we look at North Africa, for instance, there are an array of neo and challenger banks emerging with a mobile-first proposition. This increasing provision of digital banking solutions is affording SMEs in the region, which have typically relied on cash to do business, greater access to mobile money services so that they can better serve their customers.

Where we once saw digital transformation projects such as this taking place in countries like the UK and the Nordics, where payment technologies have been part of society for many years, we’ll now see the adoption of this kind of technology surge in countries such as the US and the Middle East. These regions will essentially leapfrog over certain stages in the development of digital banking infrastructure including, for instance, traditional POS terminals.

2021 forecasts phos: The year of e-wallets

Why 2021 will see digital payments rocket and prove contactless is here to stay

The launch and proliferation of e-wallets has been building this year, but this trend will really take precedence in the world of payments in 2021. The global mobile wallets industry is predicted to jump by almost 50%, to reach a value of  $1.47trn amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 1.7bn people using mobile wallets by 2024.

While most of us will be familiar with Apple Pay and Google Pay, these won’t be the only touchpoints that people have with e-wallets either. Increasing numbers of companies are developing their own solutions to directly serve the needs of their customers. The majority of smartphones in use today can natively offer this kind of technology, so that customers can pay on a website, a mobile app or physically in store. But the crucial point is that all of these scenarios are contactless and cashless, and so respond to the changing demands we have seen for these kinds of payment options.

Brad Hyett is CEO of phos