The payments sector saw record investment last year. This investment, coupled with the almost total everyday life digitalization, caused the sector to make a major step forward.
Embedded finance, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes, and incumbent-backed payment ventures are booming over the past year. But what payment innovations will go on to be in demand when life returns to normality?
Here are the payment trends we should pay attention to.
Embedded finance for more seamless payments
Global e-commerce now counts for nearly one-fifth of all retail sales. The tremendous increase in online activity led to the increase of consumers’ expectations that their online transactions be as seamless as possible.
Embedded finance is when tech companies (social media platforms, ride-sharing apps, and online retailers) offer payment processing, wealth management, and other additional financial services, alongside their usual services.
Embedded finance is not the only characteristic of tech giants. Now, regulatory infrastructure offers non-financial businesses easy and convenient conditions for companies of all sizes to navigate the highly regulated industry. And SMEs will play a key role
in the recovery of the economy after the pandemic. But their survival will depend on their ability to access finance. Embedded finance provides SMEs with flexibility and the ability to build safeguards into their strategies for successful navigation in this
ongoing period of uncertainty.
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) will stay
During the pandemic, BNPL schemes have won increasing popularity amongst consumers. They regularly refer to it as the fastest-growing payment option. The fast adoption of BNPL has happened because it is equally beneficial both to consumers and merchants
by delivering commercial advantage for merchants together with the offer of a new interest-free alternative form of short-term credit for consumers and businesses.
But it's not all roses and BNPL critics admit that the scheme forces people to splurge on things they can’t afford, and it is less protected than a traditional credit card. But in spite of that BNPL will stay, though its growth could slow as providers will
become increasingly regulated.
FinTechs and incumbents
The two camps have always been considered enemies. But experts predict that in 2021 FinTech and the incumbent will really partner. And the partnership will work both ways.
Incumbents are expected to help FinTechs when they scale into different countries. FinTech startups’ partnership with banks will become increasingly important to strengthen areas where incumbents’ services are lagging behind.
AI-backed payments: convenience comes first
Payment companies use a huge amount of data in their activities. AI models are in high demand because they automate processes and analyze consumer behavior better and faster than humans. Automation lowers costs and reduces error rates which are hugely important.
The use of AI for B2B payment startups and banks is essential to reduce errors and detect fraud. Money laundering has also grown rapidly so that financial institutions could struggle with regulation. And AI is considered to be an effective tool that can
AI will also play a key role for retailers in post-pandemic recovery because it offers a new avenue for growth by analyzing consumer behavior data like the transaction history to decide whether or not to offer the financing alternative.
Request-to-pay and BNPL: beneficial combination
Request-to-pay is a popular feature of FinTech. It is a ‘pull’ payment when instead of pushing money to a billing provider or to another company, that company requests the amount it needs from you. If it gets wide adoption, it will become a very easy, safe,
and convenient way to deal with contractors. And the combination of request-to-pay with BNPL schemes will be the next big FinTech trend to watch.