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To understand the role that merchants will play in the evolution of the payments landscape, Ovum conducted a large-scale survey to examine the strategic priorities and technology investments that will drive change in 2018 and 2019.


  • Innovation remains a core objective, with 36% of retailers in particular highlighting enhancements to their payment acceptance capabilities as a leading IT priority.
  • Attitudes to real-time payments have changed markedly in the past 12 months, with 78% of merchants expecting it to enable them to improve their customer experience.
  • At the same time, 77% hold the view that immediate payments will replace the use of payment cards over time.

Features and Benefits

  • Learn how merchants in different regions and segments plan to invest in new payment services to enhance their customer experience, and shape your own roadmaps accordingly.
  • Understand how your peers and competitors are planning to take advantage of real-time payments infrastructure, and avoid getting left behind.
  • See where payments technology investments will grow most strongly, and take advantage of the opportunities this creates.

Key questions answered

  • How do retail, digital goods, travel, hospitality, and telecoms businesses in different regions view the opportunities of both real-time payments and open banking?
  • How quickly are these views changing, and where do different banks see the opportunities for service enhancement?
  • In which countries and regions do merchants see the biggest opportunities to replace payment card transactions with those going across real-time payment rails?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for enterprises
  • Recommendations for vendors

Delivering greater efficiency, alongside innovation, will drive the IT agenda for merchants in 2018

  • Merchants in all sectors will increase their IT spending on payments-related projects in 2018
  • Responding to rising costs has made delivering greater operational efficiency the leading driver of investment activity
  • Over one in five merchants report that they have suffered a data breach in the previous year
  • Those merchants that have already modernized their payment architecture are enjoying the benefits

Taking advantage of real-time payments and open banking has become a high priority for merchants

  • Merchants are now considerably more positive about the opportunities of immediate payments than they were a year ago
  • The ability of real-time payments to enhance the customer experience is a clear attraction to merchants
  • There is also widespread agreement on the potential for immediate payments to lower costs
  • In the longer term, there is the expectation that immediate payments will come to replace plastic cards


  • Methodology
  • Author