The payments sector is going through a profound change by integrating the fields of credit and loyalty schemes. At the same time, major players are making acquisitions consolidating the European market. Consequently, regional champions are emerging between the global players and the fragmented local operators.
That is the conclusion of a new report by the Emerging Payments Association EU (EPA EU) and The Paypers, commissioned by Luxembourg for Finance. The report offers the first strategic review across Europe’s individual payments markets, ranking the key players according to their place in the value chain and some financial indicators.
The research goes beyond the pan-European well-known trends of increased digitalisation and decreased cash usage, and dives into how the different national, political, and economic pressures influence the payment landscape within regions of Europe.
The research found some interesting trends, including:
Payment methods are increasingly integrating and partnering with alternative services and data sources, such as loyalty schemes, discount offers, and credit services. On the latter for example, by using (historical) transaction information of buyers and sellers to do risk profiling and scoring, parties like PayPal or PayU are able to provide instant lending services to facilitate payment transactions.
With Europe’s incumbent financial system under threat from BigTech and innovative players within the payment space, the large traditional banks and payment service providers are being forced to expand their service offering and consolidate. Take for example Italy-based payments service provider Nexi Payments’ acquisition of SIA, a European payment processor and interbank network provider.
PSD2, the European directive regulating payment services, is a key enabler of evolution in both payments and identity: it allows the two to be united in a single service and increases consumer confidence, therefore facilitating adoption of online payment methods as well as online identity services.
Nicolas Mackel, CEO of Luxembourg for Finance, said: “For Europe’s financial industry to compete in the disruptive digital era, local networks and solutions need to be frictionless across the continent. This is even more important as we emerge from the pandemic as more consumer and transactional activity shifts online. We must now come together and unify as a region, rather than continuing with the mosaic of different payments systems we currently see across the EU. The payments sector is hitting critical mass and cooperation and consolidation is the sensible way forward. The introduction of PSD2 is already helping to encourage further cross border expansion, and this research identifies the major emerging trends.”
Thibault de Barsy, General Manager of EPA EU, added: “In such a differentiated market, our research, which presents an innovative strategic review across Europe’s individual payments markets, provides the perfect basis to monitor how national, regional and global players are progressing.”