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Payment Means: A Vast & Diverse Industry

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Topics under Payments

Payment Industry Trends

A payment is the transfer of a financial asset, usually money, in exchange for a good, service or asset.The payments industry consists of businesses providing non-cash means of making transactions. Payments service providers partner with banks to offer merchants the ability to accept payments without cash. The payments industry includes organizations that store, process and transmit credit and debit cardholder data.

This industry is strongly affected by the strength of the overall economy. When more purchases are made by customers, more transactions are processed. Payments businesses are now a vital element for the global financial services and banking industries.

Key Segments

The most common payment methods are:

Credit cards –These widely accepted plastic cards are the most commonly-used payment mode apart from cash. They are issued by a financial company, giving an option to cardholders to borrow funds or pay for goods and services on credit. They are primarily used for short term financing and interest is charged on balances after a due repayment date. American Express, Barclays, Citibank, UnionPay are major credit card companies.

Debit cards–These cards deduct money directly from a consumer’s checking (current) account to pay for a purchase. Large purchases are not possible with a debit card, as they have daily purchase limits. A debit card can be used as an ATM card for immediate cash withdrawals.

Direct debits –Direct debits are also known as pre-authorized debit or pre-authorized payments. They authorize a person or organization to collect payments from another person’s account under specified terms. Direct debit transactions are processed electronically.

Bank transfers–These are also known as wire transfers or credit transfers. They are used to transfer funds from one bank account to another. Bank transfers are useful for companies to receive payments from foreign customers. 

Mobile payments–Mobile payments or m-payments are payments where a mobile device is used to initiate, authorize and confirm a transfer of money in return for goods and services. They are an alternative to cash, checks, credit cards and debit cards. Mobile payments make paying for purchases easier and more convenient.

E-wallets – An Ewallet or digital wallet is computer software in which digital cash is stored for paying for transactions on the internet. This type of transaction is convenient as purchases can be made in seconds with a simple tap or scan of a mobile device.

Cryptocurrencies – Cryptocurrencies are digital or virtual currencies that use cryptography for secure payment. It is an innovative payment network that uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority. These have developed into a powerful payment method with ever growing global acceptance. Cryptocurrencies offer many benefits such as increased payment efficiency and lower transaction costs. Bitcoin is the first launched cryptocurrency. Other cryptocurrencies include Litecoin, Dogecoin, Peercoin, Feathercoin.

Regional Market Shares

Major regions for the payments industry include North America, Europe and Asia.

North America is the largest payment market globally. This market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4% up to 2024. Credit cards are the main revenue driver in the USA and Canada, representing 60% of the industry’s revenues in the USA. Debit cards and other non-cash transactions account for the remaining 40%. Mobile payments are growing but are not expected to exceed 30% of US retail transactions.

Europe is another significant market for payments. Payment cards account for more than half of the revenues in this region. The share of alternative payments is forecast to reach up to 20% of the total payments market in the near future. European governments are implementing new laws which are likely to favor multiple third-party payment providers to launch new payment modes in the future.

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