Last night I watched my children completing a puzzle map of Europe. They started well, picking up pieces and popping them into place, as they knew where most of the countries were. But then they hit a problem – the puzzle was more than a few years old, and the map no longer looks the same as it once did.
I see an analogy with payments here. Most of us think we have a pretty good idea of what the future will hold but I believe many of us are visualising a payments map that is outdated. It assumes dominance by big companies, willing acceptance of payments innovations by retailers, constraints by regulators and rapid adoption by consumers.
But will that be the reality of tomorrow’s payments industry?
It will more likely be led by numerous PayTech entrepreneurs than the big players. Retailers will take a lot longer to adopt new innovations. Regulations such as PSD2 and regulators such as the PSR will enable rather than constrain innovation and competition. And most consumers will take a lot longer to change their behaviour than we predict.
So if you are struggling to place a piece of the payments puzzle, remember that it might just be that the picture has changed. What you need is a new picture, not a place for the piece you are holding.