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Looking back at 2011

If you remember, I made a few predictions about 2011 about a year ago. Time to check whether they were realised or not ...

1. Prediction: UK cheque usage drops massively. The UK Payments Council says UK cheque usage has dropped massively before the anticipated deadline of 2018 in favour of mobile payments. The previously floated idea of introducing a paper-based alternative to cheques as part of a commitment not to leave the customer "high and dry" when the cheque clearing scheme is finally abolished is dropped and a mid-term review is planned in 2014.

Realisation: Got it wrong here. The Payments Council announced on 12 July 2011: "until we have in place a paper-based solution that has the flexibility and ease of use of cheques … we should not be abolishing cheques ... We have, however, concluded early that this is no longer the best option and retaining the cheque is a better approach."

2. Prediction: SEPA struggles to survive. SEPA, loathed by many bankers for creating a level playing field, struggles to survive in the midst of new entrants in the payment space.  The new entrants, proposing low cost payment services closely integrated with the mainstream social networks, come to maturity and partnerships with banks start to form.

Realisation: Well given that SEPA is now a reality in the Netherlands, Germany should be following shortly, hence there is maybe still hope?

3. Prediction: Belgium follows suit to Ireland and Portugal. Standard & Poors lowers Belgium's credit rating from 'stable' to 'negative' after the country has been without a government for more than twelve months. The IMF is looking at bailing out the bankrupt country amidst fears of massive capital flight.

Realisation: BPIGS? PIGSB? Guess it doesn't sound right but other than that I can't imagine why it's not up there in that list. Last I heard, Belgians are massively transferring money out of banks for fear for other Dexia stories and moving it into Belgian bonds - really smart move guys!

4. Prediction: Google launches new online, location aware bank. Gbank, Google’s first foray into banking, opens in the US. Although the bank offers simple current account and payment services, it is the first bank to really know its customers. Making extensive use of the location aware capabilities of its customers’ phones, strong relationships with high street retailers and its vast behavioural database, the bank is able to offer its customers the best shopping experience, anytime, anywhere.

Realisation: I'm disappointed this didn't happen. Is Google becoming a new Microsoft? I hope Apple picks up the lead here soon.

5. Prediction: Lloyds returned to the private sector. The UK government, in dire need of votes after the tuition fees debacle and VAT hike, and spurred by a continued strengthening of the banking sector plans an early release of its stake in Lloyds Bank. This is about 18 months earlier than the original target date of 2014. Mr Miliband’s aides refused to comment. A Labour source said: ‘This is not going to look good for the party.’

Realisation: Not yet returned to the private sector but heavily reducing it's balance sheet.

6. Prediction: Europol investigates virtual robbery. Europol have arrested two people believed to be part of a group accused of stealing online IDs and passwords belonging to Facebook users and using their Facebook Credits to sell merchandise via real-money trading websites. Facebook Credits have known a spectacular increase in usage over the last six months and are now considered to be on par with PayPal volumes. Regulators have been struggling to keep up with virtual currencies.

Realisation: Well, not exactly like this but we've had our share of security scares this year, too numerous to list.

7. Prediction: Eurostar will have Wi-Fi in 2012. Eurostar, the operator of the passenger service linking Britain, France and Belgium announces that all its trains will finally have Wi-Fi by the end of 2012. Unfortunately, no changes are planned to the onboard food catering though.

Realisation: Haven't taken a Eurostar these last few months but as far as I know this hasn't happened either. Maybe something for 2013?

So, admittedly, most of my predictions didn't quite turn out as predicted but I hope you enjoyed reading them.

On this note, I’d like to close this blog by wishing you all a great 2012 and hope you’ll keep reading.


Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 06 January, 2012, 11:06Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Erik, a brave and honest assessment.  Its not often that predictions turn out exactly right, but often events are spun to make it look like they did! Good luck in 2012.

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