If I had to pick my main takeaway from 2023, it would be the importance of maintaining access to cash. As mobile payments become the cornerstone of everyday transactions, we’re simultaneously seeing more than three million people in the UK rely on cash for their day-to-day payments. In fact, in September of this year, cash use grew for the first time in a decade. To avoid these individuals being left behind, our industry has a duty to enable financial accessibility and inclusion in the days, weeks, and years ahead. The UK government shares this belief, with new regulation coming into play that may fine banks if they fail to provide free access to cash within three miles of businesses and consumers. As we look to the year ahead and see more businesses and financial institutions transition to cashlessness, expect to see even more regulation coming into place.
When I look forward to 2024, as businesses and consumers alike continue to battle the cost-of-living crisis, I expect to see a rise in the number of businesses demanding access to customer data. With consumer expectations, wants and spending patterns more unpredictable than potentially ever before, accurately predicating spending behaviour is essential to business growth. Luckily for businesses, every transaction comes with a range of rich insights – companies simply need to ensure they can access this data, as payment platforms don’t always make it easily available. By leveraging these insights, better, more informed decisions can be made, leading businesses from strength to strength.
As companies diversify strategies to adapt to the economic climate, innovation in the industry will continue to thrive as companies adapt and evolve. In fact, in early 2024, I predict we will see open banking enter a new phase of maturity. With the open banking implementation roadmap being largely completed over the last twelve months, the landscape is ready for consumer-focused applications to take off. While B2B adoption may continue at a slower pace, expect to see deeper collaboration between financial institutions and third-party providers, fostering innovation and competition.
Furthermore, the rapid evolution and adoption of AI and machine learning (ML) in the payments landscape is something that I anticipate continuing into 2024. AI and ML hold the promise of revolutionising fraud detection systems, improving the accuracy of risk assessments, streamlining financial planning, and changing the game on customer service. Already addressing the demand from consumers for a seamless payment experience, I expect to see companies rapidly adopting the AI and ML technology that will enable the biggest benefits, with the least risk. 2024 is set to be another exciting year for payments.