Payments News

11th Annual Field Guide to Alternative Payments

May 08, 2019

Churn is still the overarching theme in a dynamic market dominated by mobile options and eyeing digital currency.

You can tell a lot about the dynamism of a market by how often its players turn over—how many new companies enter the market from year to year and how many fail or fade into the background. By this measure, digital payments is one of the most dynamic of markets. We noted last year that the churn had been such that just three entrants from our original guide in 2009 were still on the list. Those three are still here, but now, in this year’s edition, we can note that four entries among the 34 that follow are entirely new to the guide.

Still, some overarching themes continue to hold true. We continue to see a heavy reliance on fully digital platforms aimed at mobile devices. A tipoff to this longstanding trend is the number of services using the “X Pay” formula as their naming convention. This year, that group includes two imports from China, Alipay and WeChat Pay, that are making major efforts to sign up U.S. merchants so users will have places to wield their wallets when they travel here.

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