The internet era has transformed how consumers approach money, as it has almost every part of human life, which forms the foundation of August's Admap on the future of payments.

Digital payments platforms are on the rise and, in many parts of the world, toting around a wallet full of heavy coins is a relic of the past. Indeed, many younger consumers can barely fathom an era in which cash was king: from London’s hipster markets to Shanghai’s roadside food stalls, the willingness of vendors to accept hard currency when more convenient alternatives exist is on the wane.

From digital payments, to loyalty, to cashless stores and mobile banking – change is the only constant. As in other categories, the payments category is also being forced to evolve as younger consumers expect a convenient and smooth customer experience, ideally on the mobile phone.

How can brands, retailers and consumers equip themselves for the new era of digital disruption?

The nine articles in this month’s Admap aim to help make sense of the pace of change, and feature perspectives and case studies from the US, China and India.

Richard Yao of IPG Mediabrands kicks off this issue by looking at the challenges facing financial services brands in the payments space head-on: with payments providers disintermediating the relationship between banks and their customers, what can legacy banking brands do to stay relevant to their customers?

Research from Kantar’s Rebecca Koppie and Greg Flemming indicates that the smartphone is increasingly central to the consumer banking experience: the number of checking account customers in the US who have accessed a bank account via a mobile phone increased from 24% in 2013 to 39% in 2018.

With that smartphone trend in mind, mobile user experience and person to person payments are set to define the near term in mature markets such as the US, according to iQuanti’s Tony Hooper. Big banks are also making a concerted effort to enhance their mobile user experience and catch up with mobile-first payments competitors such as Venmo.

The lightning-fast evolution of payments in Asia offer perhaps some of the most important and interesting lessons. In terms of mobile payment uptake, APAC (47%) is substantially ahead of even its closest rival LatAm (on 38%), with regions characterized by mature economies like Europe and North America lagging behind, according to Viktoriya Trifoniva of GlobalWebIndex, who offers a useful comparative overview of mobile payments by market in this issue.

India’s Paytm is a world-class example of building a digital payments brand in a cash-dependent economy, and winning. In this issue, Harshvardhan Sahni and Jitender Dabas from McCann Worldgroup New Delhi offer a fascinating deep dive into the success of Paytm, and how it beat the odds to capture the Indian market with unique cultural insights amid the chaos of demonetisation.

Jerry Clode, founder of The Solution, argues it is important to understand China’s enthusiasm for cashless payment as a reflection of local consumers’ unique expectations. Mobile payments are also making a huge impact for marketers as Alibaba and Tencent create large ‘datalakes’ across a wide range of different services including food delivery and ride hail apps, new retail, e-commerce, fintech, and physical brick-and-mortar.

The traditional retail store is the central point for all this disrupton. But are cashless stores here to stay, or just another over-hyped microtrend? David G. W. Birch grapples with the societal impact of cashless stores, what the cashless transformation means for less-connected consumers, and explores the crucial data privacy elements at play in working with digital identities.

Tim Mason, CEO of Eagle Eye Solutions, explores what the future of loyalty schemes looks like in the digital world, including reflections on the Tesco Clubcard which he set up and has gone on to be an iconic case study in loyalty marketing. He argues that customer technology investment and digital marketing engagement needs to join up the full offline and online experience via digital for retails to find success in the new era of loyalty.

Last but not least, Money 2020 takes a deep dive into the five key trends in money that marketers need to know about, including the vexed issue of digital identities and the imperative focus on trust and data privacy.

Not enough time to read all the articles? Admap subscribers can access a deck that summarises the knowledge, evidence and guidance from all the authors, and offers key considerations on the topic.