Atlanta Fed Folk Not Wildly Optimistic About Mobile Payments

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Although people who work for various Fed chapters don’t usually engage in blunt talks publicly, a bunch working for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta released some intriguing 2016 predictions this week. Among them are dire expectations for mobile payments and ACH Same-Day plus a belief that EMV will drive down the number of U.S. ATMs.

To be clear, the Fed folk stressed that delaying the predictions until the year was almost one-sixth over was a deliberate choice: “By waiting a couple of months to release ours, we’re hoping they will end up being more accurate than usual.” They also stressed that these are not technically Fed predictions, as they come from one just group of Fed employees: members of the Retail Payments Risk Forum of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

With that out of the way, onto their predictions:

  • Don’t Hold Your Breath For MPOS In 2016

As the predictions so succinctly put it: “This will be the year for mobile point-of-service (POS) payments…not!” It pointed out that 2013, 2014 and 2015 were all predicted to be the year of mobile payments and they weren’t. And neither will 2016.

“The issues of limited merchant acceptance points, fragmentation, and consumer concerns over security and privacy will remain as substantial hurdles,” the report said.

  • ACH Same-Day “Will Not Be A Huge Hit”

The post was similarly unimpressed with ACH Same-Day.

“The Risk Forum forecasts that the roll-out of NACHA’s mandated same-day ACH service in September will, at least initially, have modest adoption because corporate originators will have to update internal systems to support faster payments, the dollar cap of $25,000 per payment, and the imposition of the interbank fee,” the post said. “Consumer payment applications will have modest uptake due to competing payment alternatives.”

  • EMV Will Drive Down The Number Of ATMs

This prediction suggests that EMV rules for ATMs “will follow the same pattern as POS terminals did in 2015—the large ATM owners and operators will meet the October 2016 deadline but many of the small and mid-sized operators, especially those owned by nonfinancial institutions, will not and will be faced with absorbing the loss of transactions made with counterfeit cards—a fraud loss they haven’t experienced in the past. Overall, the Risk Forum looks for the ATM base in the U.S. to contract by 10 to 15 percent because of financial institution mergers and the cost of EMV upgrades.”

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