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Consumers’ growing preference for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and increasing internet penetration encouraged service providers to build payment solutions based around mobile devices. Technological improvements in cloud computing and the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs) are also supporting the emergence of cost-effective solutions for cashless payments. The increased revenue potential due to the low cost of innovative payment solutions and the burgeoning market for digital payments are attracting investments from venture firms and participants in the payments industry, such as financial institutions, technology vendors and card scheme providers. Investments in e-commerce and online payments are the preferred investment sector followed by mobile payments and card processing services. An increase in e-commerce sales activities and expected further expansion has created strong revenue generation potential for investors and payment solution developers alike. New market entrants are experimenting with social media to capitalize on opportunities in using social networks as a platform for conducting e-commerce activities. There is also an increased focus on international money transfers and peer-to-peer (P2P) domestic transactions. Investments in mobile wallets also gained momentum in 2013, with their adoption expected to improve over the next five years.
Among the various investment types – acquisitions, asset transaction and venture financing – venture financing leads investment activities in terms of the volume of deals made in the cards and payments industry. Venture capitalists also emerged as key investors for mobile payment developers. Unlike acquisitions and asset transactions, which involved single investors, venture financing deals registered participation from more than one investor. In terms of the regional dynamics, North America and Europe collectively accounted for majority of investment deals made in the cards and payments industry during last five years. Investment activities have been limited in the emerging markets of Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. However, the growing use of cards, large consumer markets and flexible regulatory environments are expected to make these regions key areas of investment over the forecast period.
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- Acquisitions and venture financing activities are expected to increase over the forecast period, and asset transaction dynamics are unlikely to change dramatically. Developments in online and mobile payment solutions, and card processing capabilities are expected to support both remote and proximity payments, and widen the scope of cashless payments.
- Emerging regions such as Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America hold high growth potential, despite the majority of innovations currently surfacing in North America and Europe. Europe, however, is expected to lose steam over the forecast period, while North America is forecast to continue to introduce new payment solutions, primarily led by technological developments in the US. Countries such as Turkey are highly innovative in terms of payment products and services, with consumers showing a readiness to experiment, as are parts of the Middle East, as regulation can be scattered and consumer demand for new payment options is high.
- Mobile payments, including wallets and payment apps, have received increased focus from investors from around the world. Cards and payments processing, particularly through mPOS terminals, is a key area of investment. Innovative solution developers for e-commerce and online payments continued to attract investments during the review period, led by a surge in new concepts such as cloud technology and open APIs.
- Most acquisitions was made by technology vendors in the US, and were focused on payment processing. Large asset transaction deals were made by banks and focused on the acquisition of competitors’ businesses, and venture financing activities were mostly focused on mobile phone payment solutions.
- The advent of new technology and payment solutions has increased the need to address security concerns. Key issues in the future development of new technology and their widespread adoption will mostly involve security issues related to mobile devices. Most current consumer mobile devices are not designed to handle highly sensitive information such as credit card numbers or bank account details. Developments in the payment arena are likely to increase demand for mobile devices that can be entrusted with sensitive information, leading to a period of intense innovation among smartphone developers.
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