The Evolution of Merchant Payments and the Rise of Digital Wallets

The annual Merchant Payments Ecosystem (MPE) conference recently convened in Berlin, bringing together industry leaders and businesses to explore the latest trends and innovations in merchant payments, according to Finextra. This year’s event, chaired by Anna Maj and David Birch, featured discussions on open banking, generative AI, cross-border payments, and more, highlighting the ongoing transformation of the payments landscape.

During the conference’s opening panel, experts including Atze Faas, Kenny Ebanyat, Chris Reid, Martina Weimert, and Killian Thalhammer discussed key issues facing the industry. Reid emphasized the importance of focusing on enabling economic exchange, highlighting that payments are merely the value exchanged between merchants and consumers. Thalhammer shared Deutsche Bank’s focus on investing in open finance and banking capabilities to enhance instant payments.

Ebanyat shed light on how the NBA approaches payments, viewing the organization as a merchant selling subscriptions to game content. He emphasized the NBA’s goal of global growth and deepening connections with fans. The panel also discussed the growth of digital wallets, with Birch suggesting that a smart wallet may not be far off. Reid echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of consumer convenience in financial transactions.

Weimert highlighted consumer demand for control over their transactions and emphasized the importance of service packages for both consumers and merchants. The panel also explored the potential for new players in the digital wallet space beyond tech giants like Apple and Google.

Later in the conference, Michalis Michaelides discussed the role of digital payments in public services, emphasizing their importance in financial inclusion and digital transformation. He highlighted the potential for SMB enablement to boost the economy and bridge financial inclusion gaps.

In a panel on digital wallets, experts including Simas Simanauskas and Erik Cicilla discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by digital wallets. Simanauskas emphasized the need for industry experts to create products that enhance customer experience, particularly in the face of competition from Apple and Google Pay. Michaelides and Cicilla discussed the potential for super-apps and open banking to revolutionize the payments industry, emphasizing the need for frameworks to facilitate further innovation.

MPE 2024 provided valuable insights into the evolving landscape of merchant payments and the growing role of digital wallets in shaping the future of payments.

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