In 2019, we embarked on a project to explore the future of payments and financial services. To help us understand what that future will look like, we put the question to senior leaders across our organisation.

“Open your minds,” we said. “How will the payments landscape have changed in 10 to 15 years’ time?” Their responses gave us plenty of food for thought.

Some assertions we could have predicted: “We’ll be less reliant on cash,” they said; “real-time payments will be the norm”. Crime-fighting super computers, a Carphone Warehouse for banks, and behavioural authentication solutions were among the more imaginative suggestions.

They warned against the increasing velocity of money laundering, and the growth of digital giants in the payments space. One even suggested that a hundred years from now the concept of money might cease to exist.

It proved an insightful exercise, which revealed many common threads — some surprising, others less so. As we reviewed the interview transcripts a central theme began to emerge: the resolution of friction and fragmentation in payments.

frictionless
/ˈfrɪkʃ(ə)nləs/ • adjective
  1. not impeded by or creating friction; smooth.
    "a compass needs to have a lightweight magnet and a frictionless bearing"

  2. achieved with or involving little difficulty; effortless.
    "a frictionless payment solution"

When we probed our subjects to consider how Mastercard was enabling this vision of the future, they spoke of solutions that allow money to move seamlessly and securely between people, businesses and governments… and across borders; smarter, automated payments that click into place just in time; innovative digital solutions that reach the parts of the world banks can’t.

Together, they painted a picture of a world where common standards and processes break down barriers to international trade, where payment systems and schemes are connected — and protected. Where people and communities thrive.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be exploring the key themes that we think will define the payments landscape in 10 to 15 years' time. Keep an eye out for stories, films and podcasts across our web and social channels, and let us take you on a journey to the frictionless future of payments.

Join the conversation: #FrictionlessFutureofPayments

David Daniel, SVP Marketing & Communications, Mastercard

David has dedicated his tenure at Mastercard to growing a world-class marketing and communications team spanning disciplines such as storytelling, customer insights and product marketing. He combines a deep understanding of rational human behaviour together with creative thinking to deliver global strategies that are both emotive and credible.