2015 Predictions

In Insights by Paul Brandner

Last week, Carta’s leadership team took a stand on the most important things that happened in payments in 2014. We’d be remiss if we didn’t get their take on what’s to come in the year ahead.


by Paul Brandner
Director of Marketing

If their predictions are any indication, 2015 is going to be a big year for payments — one in which we’ll likely see mass mobile adoption and big new players in digital wallets.

Part blue-sky augury and part educated inference, here’s what our CEO Brian Semkiw and CTO Rui Mendes predict 2015 will hold for payments.

  1. The locals go mobile

    Last year we saw Apple enlist the big banks for Apple Pay, but according to Semkiw, in 2015 we’ll see many, many small and medium sized banks bring their credit card portfolios to mobile phones. Yes, 2014 was the year mobile payments hit the headlines but, he explains “we’ll really only see widespread adoption of mobile payments this year, as regional banks step into the game.”

  2. Big players one-up Apple

    “I don’t see a single bank’s mobile wallet competing globally on the scale of Apple Pay,” says Semkiw. “If one player can give Apple a run for their money, I think it will have to be a huge international telco or a massive retailer.” Whoever does it, he says, they will have to match or surpass Apple’s stellar usability measures and offer significant additional value—discounts, loyalty rewards or perks—in order to truly compete.

  3. NFC everywhere

    Now that we have simple ways of putting trusted credentials into a mobile phone, banks and program managers can think outside the box. Mendes says it means we’ll see HCE and NFC used for all kinds of mechanisms. “It will come quickly now that trust is established. Soon we’ll see simple peer-to-peer exchanges that are easy as handing off cash,” Mendes promises.

    He sees transit as a huge player in mobile this year. “It’s already rolling out in London, but cities around the world are outfitting trains and buses with NFC technology. We’ll start seeing sophisticated transit applications that let travellers pay and ride directly by mobile.” And though it may not happen in 2015, Mendes thinks traditional forms of parking payment will soon be obsolete. “There are a bunch of different mobile solutions already showing up, he says. “Phones have georeferencing, a camera, secure payments—everything you need for a seamless parking experience. Mobile is the perfect tool and you won’t need a meter anymore. I predict we’ll soon see one technology surface as the de facto parking solution.”

  4. Traditional POS starts its slow death

    The traditional Point of Sale is doomed, thinks Mendes. “It won’t be this year, but before long those machines will be obsolete. We will see an increasing shift away from clunky old machinery towards tablets and mobile phones that are integrated with backend systems.”

    Technology like Square played a big role in starting this shift, and we’re starting to see big companies that are not bothering with cash at all (Kit & Ace—the new clothing giant started by Lululemon’s founders—are totally cashless). This will all become more sophisticated with NFC, and the proliferation of mobile tools.

And since we’re forecasting the future, here are some of my own thoughts on what we’ll see in 2015:

Banks have spent a lot of time and effort building trust and relevant products. This is the year banks will need to capitalize on that trust, before consumer behaviour is entrenched in an Apple Pay type of wallet.

Top-of-wallet is always a priority and will be even more important as the digital wallet goes mainstream. This year, even more banks will jump on the Apple Pay train, but in addition to Apple Pay they will see a strong need for their own HCE wallet so their branded card won’t be mixed in with other brands.

Globally, we’ll see many banks commercially rolling out HCE based wallets. Their primary motivators will be to increase walletshare and to protect their brand. Banks are typically slow movers however you’ll see them pick up their feet when they notice other banks are getting in the game.

What else will 2015 hold for payments? We can’t wait to find out, but whatever it is, you’ll most likely read about it right here.