Top trends redefining commerce and the merchant payments ecosystem in 2023

Tuesday 7 March 2023 11:51 CET | Editor: Raluca Ochiana | Interview

Merchant Payments Ecosystem industry leaders and influencers share their predictions on the most significant trends redefining commerce and the payments ecosystem in 2023.


Could you briefly introduce your company’s background?

Peter O’Halloran, Fiserv: Fiserv is a global fintech and payments company with solutions for banking, global commerce, merchant acquiring, billing and payments, and point-of-sale. Carat from Fiserv is the global commerce platform that orchestrates payments and experiences for the world’s largest businesses. Carat can help leading brands unify their commerce, optimise transactions, and imagine and realise new ways to engage with customers in any region.

René Siegl, IXOPAY: IXOPAY is a globally operating and agnostic payment orchestration provider. Our SaaS solution is easily scalable, PCI-certified, and available for white-label clients and enterprise merchants with a wide range of features such as smart routing and cascading, state-of-the-art risk management, automated reconciliation and settlements, along with plugin-based integration of acquirers, PSPs, and third-party providers.

Robbert Ledeboer, Maxcode: Maxcode is a software development company with offices in Romania and the Netherlands, that has helped fintech companies build and deliver their products for over 17 years. We have been at the forefront of the financial revolution together with our partners from the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, and many other countries in which our clients operate.

Albert Comas, Yazara: Yazara is headquartered in the US and operates worldwide, with a regional expert team covering every geographical region. The company has a Turkish background, as we spun off our technology from Paycore. Yazara’s mission is to develop and deliver (with excellence) a payment software that eliminates the need for physical POS machines and hardware – and makes every mobile device a secure, convenient, and frictionless way to receive and initiate payments.

Pavel Kaminsky, 7Security GmbH: 7Security GmbH is a QSA, 3DS, and QPA company authorised to provide PCI DSS, 3DS Core, and PIN Security certifications to merchants and payment service providers in Europe, CEMEA, and the US. We offer disruptive innovation in the PCI services, which makes us the preferred choice of fintechs and especially startups in Europe.

Could you outline the key initiatives of your company aimed at promoting sustainability and making a difference with ESG?

Peter O’Halloran: Carat from Fiserv is committed to environmental sustainability, most recently speaking at the United Nations to help promote corporate responsibility and alignment with UN goals. We are also invested in helping merchants further their sustainability efforts through implementing payments in the unattended space, as well as EV charging. Our daily business decisions are grounded in ESG principles whether through conducting business in an ethical manner, leveraging cloud-based platforms, increasing outreach to local businesses, focusing on diverse suppliers, or enhancing our role in the electronification of transactions. We strive to position ourselves as a global champion of ESG by aligning our business goals and objectives with our ESG programming.

René Siegl: IXOPAY is headquartered in central Vienna, and the company pays for yearly tickets for employees to encourage the use of public transport. A healthy lifestyle is promoted, with a free gym membership and healthy snacks and drinks offered on-site. IXOPAY makes regular annual donations to charitable organisations and has a diverse workforce with employees from many countries and walks of life – and a strict non-discrimination policy. Furthermore, our code of conduct for employees includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption provisions, as well as stringent compliance and security policies.

Robbert Ledeboer: ESG is something that is not just a trend – it influences consumer choices. Working on projects not just on fintech, but also on supply chain, we are constantly both invested and researching ways in which software development trends and innovation can aid sustainability within a company, while our quality audit process does not just cover the application, but also the performance key metrics of a project.

Albert Comas: As Yazara, we encourage all merchants using our solution to decrease their use of additional hardware and printed receipts. Our merchants are using their own mobile devices to receive payments from their customers and can send them online receipts, thus creating a more sustainable payment process. At the same time, promoting an acceptance solution that benefits small and micro merchants and eliminating cash and the costs/risks attached represent two important steps towards the reduction of tax fraud and money laundering, also encouraging social inclusion.

Pavel Kaminsky: We have shifted to become a ‘paperless office’ in the last few years, and we are inspiring our clients to do the same by sharing our experience. Considering the amount of documentation that comes with each compliance project, I imagine we’ve saved quite a few trees so far (and we are planting some as a team initiative in 2023). Additionally, we are working on partnering with more green fintechs to promote their solutions.

Please outline the top 7 trends redefining commerce and the merchant payments ecosystem in 2023.

Peter O’Halloran: Through our client communications and our insights, we have identified the following key trends:

  1. The changing role of the store must be considered as physical retail shifts to online hybrids;

  2. Blurry channels as customers want to seamlessly buy any way they choose;

  3. Potential unattended interactions are growing as staffing becomes more difficult;

  4. Unleashing colleagues to deliver better experiences through hand-held devices;

  5. Customers demand their ‘mission-driven’ shopping to be catered to and delivered accordingly;

  6. Enhanced commerce methods and models to deliver a global experience;

  7. Demand for an online, hyper-local purchasing experience regardless of country or currency.

René Siegl: The continued rise of alternative payment methods; adherence to evolving regulation in individual markets; security; digital acceleration; the challenges of data sharing; higher flexibility; market consolidation.

Robbert Ledeboer: From the perspective of a software development company, from our research and the interactions we’ve had so far, we’re going to assess that the trends everyone should be on the lookout for in 2023 are:

  1. The rise of blockchain, asset tokenization, and security;

  2. Merchants getting ready for crypto;

  3. Using AI & ML to outsmart merchant fraud;

  4. Becoming a BNPL merchant;

  5. Automation and collaboration for simplified customer onboarding;

  6. Embedded finance as an opportunity to reinvent retail;

  7. How Phygital experiences are transforming the retail market.

Albert Comas: SoftPOS; MPoC; QR payments; BNPL; pay-by-link; digital onboarding; merchant super apps.

Pavel Kaminsky: SoftPOS, SoftPOS, and SoftPOS. Joke aside, I think we are yet to see the full potential of BNPL, Open Banking, AI (AI assistants, intelligent chatbots, etc.), embedded finance, RegTech, contactless wearables, and… oh, yes, SoftPOS.

Do you think that the ongoing crisis could have a tangible impact on the merchant payments ecosystem?

Peter O’Halloran: Everyone is feeling the bite of a tight economy. Retailers are not only experiencing it as consumers themselves, but they are also faced with the uncertainty of how this will affect their livelihood. In this article, Brian Travers of Carat from Fiserv EMEA offers some insights as to what he is seeing merchants do to combat the downturn.

René Siegl: In recent years, many merchants learned that the global markets can be volatile. A key takeaway has been the importance of a flexible infrastructure that allows merchants to quickly adapt to such changing market conditions and provides reliable fallback options. With IXOPAY we provide just that.

Robbert Ledeboer: One thing is for sure: the world is a different space than it was in July 2022. However, it is only through sharing ideas and learning from past mistakes that we can get through this ongoing crisis. The conversations will be different, yet still helpful – and partnerships will still play an important role in the industry.

Albert Comas: While it’s true that slow economic times challenge investments and put pressure on operating expenses, it’s also true that the payment industry remains pretty stable, as people continue buying their groceries, visiting restaurants, and ordering goods and services. For example, during the slow economy resulting from COVID-19, the demand for alternative payment methods such as SoftPOS increased. Similarly, we believe that value propositions such as Yazara’s, offering Software-as-a-Service, with a minimum upfront investment and savings in the form of eliminating dedicated and expensive hardware machines (POS) and reducing merchant acquisition cost to the minimum, should survive and even pick up during recession times. We’re certainly seeing an acceleration rather than a slowdown.

Pavel Kaminsky: Yes, the current situation forces the ecosystem to adapt quickly to its end customers' ever-changing purchase and consumption behaviours. We saw some large payment companies letting a huge percentage of their employees go, and generally shrinking in size – and crypto tumbled down this year; at the same time, the startup scene is getting more and more varied. I am not sure what lies ahead, but it’s shaping up to be challenging and exciting at the same time.

What steps are you taking to sustain growth during a recession?

Peter O’Halloran: At Carat from Fiserv, we are constantly investing in growth. We know that in order to help our clients, we need to keep innovating and maintaining our technical capabilities. While the economy is affecting many, where we can all strive to excel is in our commitment to excellent service. Staying in tune with client needs and being present is an easy way to ‘come out a winner’ without a huge financial lift.

René Siegl: In times of economic uncertainty, providing a solution that helps clients reduce their overheads is a clear advantage; this puts us in a unique position to capitalise on the current economic situation by helping our customers reduce costs during challenging economic times. We see ourselves as long-term partners to our clients, and we will continue to provide a high-quality SaaS solution that meets merchants’ requirements. Most importantly, and as we have always done, we will continue to grow our profitable business in a sustainable way.

Robbert Ledeboer: Visibility in the market should never stop, it is only through the constant support of advertising efforts that the company can come out a winner. Secondly, a strong connection with your clients and partners is key: identifying their challenges ahead of time, to make sure you can adapt to both their needs as well as yours.

Albert Comas: Market sensitivity and product specialisation are critical. Understanding the characteristics, needs, and economics of each market and adapting quickly to them. Adaptation comes not only on the economics, but also on the product features and evolution of our product to capture unique verticals or business opportunities. Also, our response time, our capacity, and our flexibility to quickly implement and take products to market will be critical: if we can implement a project in a few weeks, we’re allowing our clients to quickly capture the market, generate revenues, and position themselves as leaders. We aim to be not only a technology expert, but a product expert, walking together with our clients on the education and growing process of their markets. The need for merchants to have safer, simpler, and cheaper acceptance solutions is unquestionable, and we can be the right partner to capture that opportunity.

Pavel Kaminsky: Focusing on client retention right now is crucial, so we are dedicated to maintaining stable partnerships and going not one, but many extra miles for our clients. We are also increasing the services we currently offer based on clients’ inquiries and feedback so that we can support them in all of their payment compliance needs.


Peter O’Halloran, Vice President, Head of Enterprise and Digital Commerce EMEA, Fiserv




René Siegl, CEO and Founder, IXOPAY




Robbert Ledeboer, General Manager, Maxcode




Albert Comas, CEO, Yazara

Pavel Kaminsky, Founder and CEO, 7Security GmbH

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Keywords: merchants, payments , ecommerce, marketplace, POS, SaaS
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Merchant Payments Ecosystem
Countries: World
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