The profound change underway in the payments industry is good news for some of Europe's biggest fintech firms, including Gemalto and Ingenico, which are set to benefit from years of "secular tailwinds", according to research from Citi.
As it rolls out coverage of Emea fintech, with a focus on payments, Citi offers up a positive view of the landscape, insisting that "Sinatra was right: the best is yet to come" in an industry that is seeing the way consumers pay for services and goods changing at the fastest rate since the proliferation of credit cards.
Citi cites four key forces that are driving the new order in Europe: changing consumer preferences; which is linked to the ubiquity of mobiles; increasing merchant demands as payment firms are increasingly seen as technology providers which can handle complex transactions and boost revenues and profitability; and changing regulations designed to boost e-payments at the expense of cash.
These forces will drive annual growth in electronic payments in the high-single digits range for years to come given that cash still comprise the majority of transactions in most developed markets, predict the Citi researchers.
With this in mind, the report sees good times ahead for what it terms the 'Emea Fintech Five', rating of Gemalto, Ingenico and Worldline buy and Wirecard and Worldpay neutral.
"As merchants adapt to this trend, we believe there’s a lot of low hanging fruit for our payments companies to pick given that much of today’s merchant payment acceptance technology is surprisingly primitive. In addition, payment companies have the opportunity to further increase their profitability by providing value-added services," says the report.
Meanwhile, big firms will benefit because: "At the same time, we believe that changing regulations will drive consolidation in the European payments industry and that the industry will eventually evolve into an oligopoly with the attendant benefits which oligopolies usually enjoy."