Are payment cards here to stay?

The recovery of the economy, the increase in financial literacy and the consequent increase in the banked population, as well as the variety of ATM services provided in Portugal, has increased the number of bank cards in recent years.

Despite this being a decade of changes in the banking competitive arena, namely with the bankruptcy of banks such as BPN and BPP, the BES fraud scandals and acquisitions such as the incorporation by Banco Santander of BANIF and Banco Popular, there was still room for innovation. Experiences such as online account opening, MBWay (alternative payment method), the CGD DABOX app (taking advantage of PSD2), or even exploiting credit from a more humane perspective like PUZZLE did, are just a few we can name.

Portugal has innovation in its DNA and the adoption of new ways of looking at banking has been notorious. However, even though new payment methods are emerging and adhering, their penetration does not yet seem to replace the use of plastic card. According to the studies to which we have access, the forecast for the coming years is still for growth both in the number of cards in circulation and the value payed with cards. And if growth exists in total, it is expected to be twice significant in prepaid cards, namely closed-loop prepaid cards.

As we have heard repeatedly at several recent industry conferences (Banca do Futuro, Portugal Digital Summit and MoneyConf: Web Summit), the focus should not be on technology, but on customers and solving their problems or difficulties. If the new forms of payment will solve these problems, then they will find their space and their success, if they just appear claiming the use of the latest technology, then they will find user disappointment and poor adherence. While debit, credit, prepaid or any other card is the best solution for many consumers, it will remain a concern for us to provide the best solutions for those who want to use it.