Key players in the EU payments landscape

Article

Key players in the EU payments landscape

2022 edition

As the world struggles to return to pre-pandemic levels, some fields have turned adversity into an advantage. With its digitalization process already underway, the payments sector received a boost, with European citizens increasingly demanding better customer experiences through digital payments.

This whitepaper sheds light on the EU’s dynamic and diverse payments landscape, providing a comprehensive overview of the payment industry’s trends and evolution.

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Emerging trends

According to the European Banking Authority (EBA), the use of digital platforms to bring customers and financial institutions closer together is expanding. This growth is projected to surge even further as financial institutions push to satisfy customer demands for convenience and lower costs, enabled by the platformization trend in the EU’s industry sectors.

In recent years, the EBA has observed that financial institutions are increasingly relying on digital platforms to roll out or upgrade their business models, with the COVID-19 pandemic catalyzing this digital transformation. The number of digital platforms and enablers has subsequently risen to meet this demand.

New players in the digital payment arena have emerged. While cards and e-wallets are still the heavyweights, account-to-account (A2A) payments and Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) have gained momentum. The revolution that started with the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and continued during the pandemic shifted consumer behaviors from cash to digital payments. In fact, interest in cashless payments was high in Europe even before the pandemic.

Geographical disparities

The EU’s payments sector is as varied as the cultures of each member state. According to FIS’ Global Payments Report, the European point-of-sale (POS) market boasted a post-pandemic rebound of a 14% year-on-year growth, with Norway, Belgium and Spain as the biggest players.

Accelerated by the pandemic’s safety measures, the downfall of cash continued, accounting for 25.6% of all European POS spend in 2021, down from 27.4% in 2020. There are significant disparities in cash use between member states, ranging from Norway registering just 4% of cash usage to Spain’s 47.1%.

Spain is the only European country projected to have cash as its main POS payment method by 2025. In comparison, the Nordics are projected to become nearly cashless by 2025—Denmark at 3.8%, Norway at 2.6% and Sweden at 4%.

Structure of the report

In part 1, Deloitte’s panorama of the payments ecosystem showcases the different stakeholders of the payments industry with a particular focus on payment service providers. It also explores the disruption of the traditional payments model and the emergence of various change drivers and accelerators. After delving into the industry’s current trends, part 1 concludes with valuable market insights at the European level.

In part 2, The Payments Association EU takes a closer look at the players and features of the European payments landscape on three different levels. First, it examines the payments industry from a global perspective, mapping the non-European actors that run their businesses in the EU. Then, the focus is shifted to European players that, while headquartered in Europe, also operate in non-European countries.

Finally, part 2 features a regional perspective, highlighting the various players and comprehensively analyzing the EU’s various countries. Here, The Payments Association EU summarizes each member state’s domestic payment representatives and unveils several country-specific findings.

It is important to note that most European payment players can fit into multiple categories. For example, payment service providers that enjoy a strong presence in their home country but also with operations in neighboring countries are included in both the report’s domestic and regional sections.

If you have any questions about the topics covered in this whitepaper, please find our contact details below.

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