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Merchants Believe Real-Time Payments Will Replace Cards

May 14 — A new study from ACI Worldwide and Ovum, 2018 Global Payments Insight Survey: Merchants,” finds that 77 percent of merchants believe that real-time payments will replace payment card use over time. Within the U.S., 77 percent of merchants hold this belief, despite the current reliance on plastic cards in the market.

Merchants seem ready to embrace the transition — 78 percent feel that real-time payments will help lower costs as well as improving customer service. The majority also see potential to leverage real-time payments to deliver enhancements to their customer experience. Respondents  in Asia felt most strongly that real-time payments will improve customer experience, with 90 percent of merchants in India, Malaysia and Thailand agreeing with the sentiment.

“The rollout of new real-time payments infrastructure in 2017, notably in the U.S., Australia and the SEPA zone, has driven a marked change in attitudes among both merchants and consumers,” said Kieran Hines, Ovum’s head of industries. “Where real-time was perhaps seen as a financial plumbing issue, it is now more viewed as the key to delivering a series of operational benefits.”

However, concerns about fraud, security and shopping conversion rates remain. Over half of those surveyed believe they are at a greater risk of a data security breach than a year ago, and 22 percent of respondents experienced theft of data within the past year. Yet merchants see abandoned digital “baskets” as their biggest source of lost revenue.

“As the survey has shown, real-time payments and security are clearly top of mind for merchants today,” said Mike Braatz, senior vice president at ACI. “Driven by customers’ shifting preferences in how they purchase and the channels they purchase through, merchants are finding the need to improve the customer experience and operating efficiency to maintain a competitive edge now and in the future.”

The 22-question survey focused on retail banks, billing organizations and merchants. It was conducted between December 2017 and January 2018 and included a total of 1,032 executive respondents across 13 industry sub verticals in 19 countries, resulting in 225,000 separate data points on current perceptions and investment plans around payments technology on a global basis.

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