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Global Payments Report

The art and science of global payments. A definitive report from Worldpay

An individual payment is a simple act. Timeless and enduring, payments serve the same ends today as they did thousands of years ago. Our methods of recording and exchanging value evolve with technology: from livestock to gold coins, paper money to digital wallets. Yet the essence of a payment remains unchanged: Goods and services are exchanged for a payment of a value mutually agreed to between buyer and seller.

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Payments represent the sum of our experiences. Payments document our needs, our desires, and our ever-shifting values. Payments tell the story of human history through economics, recording those needs, desires, and values. The diversity of our payment landscape arises naturally from our respective cultural, political, and economic differences.

This deceptive complexity means making sense of global payments requires both art and science.

The science of global payments starts with the importance of commerce and mobile revolutions, and the role of machine learning and artificial intelligence in optimizing conversion rates and fighting fraud. The science involves understanding the forces driving the creation of hundreds of alternative payment methods. It also underscores the importance of payments in creating positive user experiences with brands. Science is necessary to appreciate the complexity of global payments. But it’s not sufficient.

The art of payments is every bit as essential to understanding commerce. Consumer behaviors and preferences are as diverse as the cultures of the world—they defy easy answers or cookie cutter solutions. Payments are far too complex to be understood by algorithm alone. Navigating the changing world of payments requires something beyond spreadsheets and charts. Today’s payment landscape also requires the tools of an artist: inspiration, persistence, and creativity.

This report offers insight into the art and science of payments. We’ll start with science by offering a high-level data analysis of the ways we pay globally, both online and at the point of sale. We’ll then turn to the art of payments: the opportunities posed by China’s growth; the unique needs of Millennials and their emerging spending power; the dissolution of channels and the unification of commerce; how deferred payments enable the immediacy of The Now Economy; and the future of invisible payments (spoiler alert: the future is now). Finally, we’ll take a deeper dive and detail the payment landscape for 36 individual country markets from around the world.

Whether you’re looking to expand your business internationally, optimize your payments mix in existing markets, or simply gain a deeper understanding of the current state of the art (and science) of payments, this report is for you.