Payment Predictions for 2021



In parallel to this pandemic-stricken year in which time often seemed to stand still, global economies moved quickly in ways that accelerated change, bringing lasting impact to consumer behavior, fraud patterns and risk mitigation needs. This is also true of Cambodia, where a desire for increased security and an acute awareness of current health guidelines has brought an uptick in the use of noncash payments, according to Visa’s latest Consumer Payments Attitudes survey1.

Ms. Chum Monika, Visa Country Manager for Cambodia said: “A significant number of respondents in Visa’s Consumer Payments Attitudes survey pointed to the added security for transactions as an impetus for switching to digital and other noncash forms of payments. While the use of cash still dominates, the current outlook for 2021 means it is imperative that Visa educate consumers on how to best protect themselves and their finances in the coming year.”

In 2020, Visa has focused our expertise and resources in ways to help financial institutions, merchant partners, governments and consumers navigate these seismic shifts. Looking ahead to 2021, many of the changes in digital payments will carryover. More importantly, the experiences in 2020 will accelerate innovation and force companies to learn from their mistakes to ensure they are not repeated in 2021.

A few predictions for 2021 include:

1. Consumer habits born from the pandemic will become the new normal, requiring updated fraud prevention strategies by merchants.

According to Visa’s Back to Business Study, 78 percent of global consumer respondents have adjusted the way they pay for items due to intensified safety concerns and nearly half (48 percent) would not shop at a store that only offers payment methods that require contact with a cashier or a shared machine like a card reader. I believe these consumer preferences are not temporary and are here to stay.

These consumer behaviors will further drive merchants to innovate in order to grow and meet customer preference. Investments by merchants in new ways to onboard customers and new ways to pay such as online, in-app, contactless, and IoT (wearables, in-car, smart speakers, smart appliances, etc.) will be rewarded through new customer acquisitions, existing customer retention and growth in sales.

But as merchants move online, so are fraudsters – some of which have resources backed by nation-states. Payment security is difficult and not everyone in payments has the expertise to do it well. Merchants will need to update their fraud prevention strategies to support omnichannel commerce and if in-house expertise is not available, merchants should turn to proven, reputable partners that can produce outcomes aligned to their business goals and interests.

2. Modernizing payment infrastructures will reveal new potential vulnerabilities. 

A growing number of Central Banks and fintechs are challenging tradition and exploring new and faster ways to send money, settle payments and share information. Real time payments, digital currency and Open Banking supports innovation that matches the expectations of digitally savvy consumers and will help drive digital commerce for decades to come. But faster payments open up opportunities for faster fraud and sharing of customer information must have data privacy in mind.

Fintechs and Central Banks need to have mechanisms in place to spot atypical patterns that can be an indicator of fraud. It is also important that the principles of Open Banking and the sharing of data is used responsibly and ethically across all products, services and technology. 2021 will see payment volumes in real time payments continue to grow, digital currencies continue to become mainstream, consumer and data privacy at the forefront of many discussions, and industry players working together to resolve new vulnerabilities that are revealed.

3. Contactless to become the default for most consumers, with Tap to Phone leading the way.

As contactless becomes the default payment experience around the world at the point of sale, Tap to Phone will enable micro and small businesses to enter the digital economy with the simplicity of an app. Tap to Phone enables sellers to accept contactless payments without the need for a payment acceptance terminal. We’re seeing early stages of this product growth and expect 2021/2022 to be big years for growth as contactless consumer usage continues to grow.

4. Integrated commerce, or “eCommerce in real life” is set to become the ultimate mainstream customer experience.

In an unprecedented year for eCommerce, driven by the general need for companies to provide online buying options curbside pickup and new forms of delivery, among others, 2021 will further push integrated commerce toward becoming not just a trend but commonplace. Less friction, new technological advancements for app-centered buyers and a multi-channel commerce strategy will allow businesses to be even more nimble and meet the constantly evolving needs of their customers. And it’s not just traditional or large companies joining in: Around the world, governments are raising contactless limits, public transport networks are upgrading to contactless payment systems and small businesses are using this agility to their advantage.



1 The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study was prepared by CLEAR in Aug-Sep 2020, surveyed amongst 7,526 consumers in Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Cambodia.


About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, and @VisaNews.