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New Research from Marqeta asks will Payments in 2030 be a Dystopia or a Utopia?

Marqeta, the global modern card issuing platform, announced the launch of its new industry study, conducted in partnership with Consult Hyperion – The European Payments Landscape in 2030: Implants, embedded ethics and a ‘post-payments’ world – examining the potential issues and innovations that may emerge in the next decade of payments.

Marqeta partnered with Consult Hyperion, independent experts in payments and identity, to conduct a series of workshops with 12 industry luminaries, including: Theodora Lau, Founder of Unconventional Ventures, and Brett King, Founder of Moven, and Jonathan Williams, Technical Payments Specialist and Payment Systems Regulator. Led by acclaimed author, advisor and commentator on digital financial services, Dave Birch, the workshops delved into a range of issues to gain expert opinion on where the market is heading – from the possibility of new and emerging payment methods through to ethics and regulation. It suggests that innovations in AI and biometrics could change the way we live, but the social and ethical implications may need to be carefully managed to ensure equality of opportunity for all.

The insights from the workshops were further enriched with the findings of a 2,037-consumer survey done by Propeller Insights on behalf of Marqeta, gauging public sentiment around advancing payment technologies. Some of the key findings include:

Tribes and implants: By 2030, ‘tribes’ and influencers may play a key role in driving payment adoption – we are already seeing the start of this, with companies using social influencers to get its brand out. Many consumers already seem willing to embrace futuristic payment methods, with 51% of consumers surveyed saying they would consider using a microchip implant to pay. Could adoption of such ‘extreme’ technologies be further encouraged by the sway of influencers and tribes?

AI and embedded ethics: Consumers’ love of convenience may see spending controls handed over to AI-powered smart wallets making automated decisions on everything from selecting the cheapest way to pay, to the most ethical. By embedding ethical behaviour into transactions, the payments space can take on a unique role in incentivising both consumers and companies to be more conscious. There is already some appetite for this, with 31% of 18–24-year-old respondents saying they would be comfortable with AI making automated decisions on their behalf to choose the most ethical way to pay.

Ambient commerce reigns: Payments may become increasingly invisible as we move to more “ambient” models of commerce – such as the recent emergence of till-less grocery stores. By 2030, this will evolve even further so there will be no cards or payments devices. Instead, a person’s biometric data would be captured by cameras, along with the item they are purchasing and sent directly to their bank. While (32%) of surveyed consumers find the idea of ambient commerce ‘creepy,’ experts believe given how quickly Uber and the like have been accepted as a norm, the convenience would soon win people over.

The no-cash generation: As cash disappears, there could be a generation that has never held physical money. This surfaces serious questions over how societies educate children about the value of money. This is already a concern for many consumers today, with 35% of respondents admitting they worry that the young people they know who don’t use cash will struggle with learning to budget or to save without physical cash. – Digital responsibility: As we continue to move away from physical payment methods, and as the number of digital products and services on offer continue to multiply, digital responsibility may be a key focus for regulators. Digital responsibility means ensuring that new digital products and services are developed with consumer wellbeing in mind and don’t misuse data or encourage harmful habits, such as overspending.

“If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that no one can predict the future,” said Ian Johnson, SVP, Managing Director, Europe, Marqeta. “In less than a decade’s time, the payments landscape could look very different. It could be the norm to pay by waving a hand. What’s clear is that in 2030 and beyond, digital payments will have an increasingly foundational role in our lives – tying into our ethics, our future education, and the smooth functioning of our economies.”


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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