Technology in Retail Payment Innovations - October 15-16, 2012

Retail Payments Risk Forum, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Atlanta, GA


Payments industry leaders, regulators and law enforcement officials gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Oct. 15 and 16 for the Technology in Retail Payments Innovations conference. Five expert panels explored topics ranging from security threats to mobile payment transfers to technological developments in card-based payments.

What follows is a summary of general themes that emerged at the conference.

Spurred by advances in computing and communications technology, the retail payments industry continues to rapidly spin off new products, services and business models. At the same time, technological evolution is broadening the opportunities for fraud.

Many elements of the payments ecosystem are in flux. Technological standards, regulatory policy, data and network security concerns, and even what constitutes "mobile money" are all evolving. For instance, technology standards have traditionally been essential for payment networks to achieve the critical mass needed for successful payment network adoption. But new technologies can render standards obsolete.

And what constitutes mobile money? In developing countries the popular practice of transferring mobile phone minutes from person to person raises the possibility that airtime could actually serve as a payment over the mobile network. Yet another force that is creating opportunity and uncertainty in the payments arena is the increasing ability to quickly analyze vast quantities of data.

In short, technology continues to shape the payments industry, creating enormous opportunities and equally large challenges.