The payments market is changing at lightspeed. Startups are launching new services and incumbants are paying attention. Three key trends that are driving a good portion of the changes are:
- Digital payments are increasing in favour over the use of cash and checks/cheques,
- Powerful and connected mobile devices (including tablets) are providing a ubiquitous payments platform, and
- The Internet is enabling simpler, more nimble platforms (analytics, POS, etc) for businesses.
The intersection of these three trends is one of the white spaces for startups to disrupt the payments ecosystem. The payments market has traditionally been difficult for startups to enter because of large incumbents and complex regulations. However, the market is evolving and we are seeing startups leverage the white spaces and inefficiencies. The successful startups are simplifying things for both merchants and consumers.
We’ve started to map out the payment ecosystem into categories along the value chain from consumers to merchants. The map is definitely not complete with all players and categories and there could be innacuracies. Also, the map is currently focused on credit cards, but we’ll continue to add to areas such as bank-to-bank and virtual currencies. As a reference, you can check out Payments 101 for a description of some of the categories in the map.