Staying Ahead in the Payments Game

Last updated: 14 July 2014

Hot Issues in the Payments Industry

We recently gathered leaders from across the banking industry at our annual Smart Payments Forum (SPF), held this year in San Francisco, to discuss trends in the payments industry. Attendees at the SPF agreed that EMV and the protection it provides is integral to reducing card fraud and also serves as a conduit to an array of opportunities with mobile and contactless payments. The opportunities surrounding instant issuance and NFC were also hot topics, as they have clear consumer benefits and could help banks win out against budding financial service startups.

Contactless EMV Cards

Tap-and-go card behavior is by far the easiest for consumers—less carrying of cash and no dipping or swiping.  Many industry experts at the forum cited the benefit of contactless EMV cards using the same tapping behavior as NFC mobile wallets, which means the more consumers use each of these, the easier it is to form the habit.  It’s tremendously beneficial to use the same technology across cards and mobile wallets because it gives the consumer just one behavior to learn at the register.

Often I’m asked how successful Contactless EMV programs have been with issuers. One of our retail customers who attended the form proudly showed off approximately 11 million contactless transactions per month since implementing receptive terminals in its convenience store.  This represented a whopping 75% of their total Visa and MasterCard transactions.

Instant Issuance

Time is a straightforward benefit that consumers universally understand. When you think about how long it takes to replace a lost or stolen card, especially given the fact that 39 percent of consumers use a single payment card, the inability to access funds can be crippling. Having that secure EMV card back in a consumer’s hand in a matter of hours versus days could be a factor that hugely impacts loyalty.

We heard from one bank in the Middle East that turned to instant issuance to migrate to EMV within a short time frame. With an average request of more than 15,000 cards per day, the bank saw instant issuance as the ideal solution to keeping customers content and secure.


NFC has made great strides in becoming a payment standard over the past year.  Isis reported an average of 20,000 new wallet accounts per day during the month of April – that’s a staggering rate. Retailers are upgrading to EMV terminals that also serve NFC payments, and many banks are issuing contactless stickers that allow NFC payment technology to be applied to any type of smartphone. Even beyond payments, NFC has many uses—unlocking doors or your car, sharing files between devices, etc.—creating an all-in-one convenience factor for consumers.

One of the largest Latin American transportation companies showed us how they are using NFC technology to keep pace with substantial growth in passenger volume. NFC provides adequate security for payment and non-payment activities while still building on the company’s existing infrastructure.

Unfortunately I don’t have room to tell all of the great stories here. The week was full of encouraging testimonials of using EMV and NFC to gain new customers and stay ahead of the curve. Even better was the chance for industry players to share ideas and challenges with each other.