As most of us are smack in the middle of our first full workweek after the holidays and we’re re-energized and back in the swing of things, I’d like to take a moment to recap some important industry events of last year. Here are a few of the milestones, scares, and trendsetters from 2007:
- Studies revealed that consumers initiated $82.3 billion electronic transactions in 2006, an increase of 13% from the year before.*
- The fall of the paper check continued: the Federal Reserve announced its plan to cut its regional check-processing centers down to four by March 2011.
- Payment networks Visa, MasterCard, and Discover became stand-alone public entities or were in the final stages of becoming so.
- Visa launched its mobile payments platform.
- Apple released the iPhone, and its tremendous popularity contributed to the predictions of mobile payments expansion.
- “Skimming”, a process where someone takes your credit card to process your payment and then fraudulently records your information for later use, became a notorious id theft practice.
- Security breaches drove more proactive PCI compliance programs, both externally by law and from within companies.
What to expect for our new year? Security threats and compliance programs will continue to gain momentum and hopefully mandate all payments industry organizations become PCI compliant. Paper checks will continue to decline and actually become more costly and time-intensive to process manually. Technology innovations, partnerships, and mergers will not only integrate payment, accounting, and billing systems, but also inventory, shipping, and distribution systems. Happy New Year to a more secure and efficient business!
*Figure from Digital Transactions (v4, n11, November 2007)