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5 payments trends that are changing how the world pays for everything

Photo: Shutterstock.

How we pay for goods and services has changed dramatically in the past decade, so much so that in 2014 digital transactions surpassed traditional cash transactions. The payments sector is a battleground for companies to carve out a chunk of a growing, stable, and profitable market with an innovative transaction method. Here are 5 payment methods to look out for:

1. Bitcoin

A digital currency with a wildly fluctuating value, Bitcoin has gone from a hacker plaything to a mainstream financial instrument accepted in coffee shops. “Regulators[1] don’t know how to deal with it,” said Erik Gordon, clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “We’ve got to get regulatory consistency to get into the mainstream.” The New York Department of Financial Services has published a framework for regulating digital currency firm in response.

Braintree enables businesses in 32 countries to easily add bitcoin to existing payment methods via a partnership with Coinbase, a trusted, high quality bitcoin payment processor with 1.6 million consumer wallets and 36,000 merchants globally.

2. Blockchain

Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin — and it is predicted to have a huge impact on how Wall Street will operate in coming years. Blockchain is a distributed ledger through which each transaction is tracked and recorded, eliminating ambiguity on pricing and ownership.

Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, told Business Insider: “We build solutions on top of any distributed ledger whether it’s the Bitcoin blockchain or a private network.”

The company’s looking to make use of blockchain technology extends from small, startups such to big banks. Venture capital executives and bankers said they believe a big influx of capital is coming for blockchain, which has the potential to disrupt various elements of finance and transaction execution. Loan syndication, land titles and property records, and clearing trades have been highlighted as potential uses of the technology.

3. OneTouch

Another feature offered by Braintree is One Touch which is a feature focused on making the whole experience of buying something online seamless, while still being secure. One Touch can be used on iOS, Android or via web app, and lets you minimise the number of taps needed for user IDs and passwords for future purchases.

One Touch is used with PayPal, and requires a one-time login and consent for future payments to be made on the buyer’s behalf.

4. Digital Lending

Even the lending industry is undergoing a major transformation driven by digital. A new class of companies called peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders are creating online marketplaces that are pulling both borrowers and investors away from traditional banks.

Peer-to-peer lending matches people who are looking to invest with people looking to borrow. Society One, RateSetter Australia and MoneyPlace are the most notable in the Australian market.

Auckland based big fish, Harmoney are jumping the ditch to begin operating in Australia early next year. Harmoney has the backing of $NZ200 million in funding and has facilitated $NZ100 million in personal loans in the year since it began operations, better than any of its Australian competitors.

A slide deck highlighting the biggest trends in the new digital lending industry can be viewed here.

5. Social Payments

A lot of money gets passed around informally every day — when we pay someone back for dinner, pay a babysitter, or pay a roommate for rent.

With an emergence of social payment applications like Square Cash, these transactions have been made a lot simpler, all but eliminating the need for cash or traditional bank transfers.

This sector is growing dramatically, with everyone from Apple to Google to banks getting in on the peer-to-peer market.

It’s not just individuals that can benefit from social payments, with businesses often simply paying a small fee to access the service on a commercial level.


From peer-to-peer options, to digital currencies and the structures underpinning them, paying for goods and services is becoming a complex and rapidly evolving space. A real focus on digital, user-friendly transaction solutions, and we will be sure to see more exciting growth in the coming years.

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