The future of payments is the subject of great debate—is it unified commerce? Is it more online shopping?—and every year, plenty of analysts and industry players offer their share of predictions. For many merchants, the future remains unclear, though.

One way to find out more about the future, though, is to look outside of our American bubble. In the past, global payments have provided valuable information about the future of American payments, especially in the case of EMV.

EMV, the official name of the new style of chip credit cards, stands for Europay/MasterCard/Visa. EMV began, as the first name tells you, over in Europe, and spread here as its better security levels became clear.

So what’s the next big payments revolution? It’s hard to say, of course. But here’s a couple of recent articles that have shown some options.

Could Mobile Wallets Get Bigger Soon?
A recent article in The New York Times describes the takeover of smartphone payments in China, and many wonder if this is a vision of the future here in America. People have spent the past few years predicting explosive growth for mobile wallets, and while it continues to grow, it hasn’t yet reached the level of popularity many expected.

In China, though, it’s taken over—and only in a few years. China’s mobile payments last year hit $5.5 trillion, about 50 times larger than the size of America’s market, which is $112 billion. Many feel that it’s hard to overstate how culturally significant the smartphone wallet now is in China.

“From a tech standpoint, this is probably one of the single most important innovations that has happened first in China, and at the moment it’s only in China,” Richard Lim, managing director of venture capital firm GSR Ventures, told the Times.

So will this sort of mobile wallet popularity spread to America? We’ve consistently predicted future growth for Apple Pay and other mobile wallets—even a small nudge will often lead to massive growth in Apple Pay use, for instance, so with widespread acceptance will come widespread use. Not only that, there’s a lot to be excited about in new capabilities. We remain bullish on mobile wallets, but only time will tell.

When Will Pay At The Table Arrive?
Pay at the Table has long been predicted to be the next big thing here in America, longer even than mobile wallet. Back in 2007, the New York Times asked our Henry Helgeson his opinion on the phenomenon. “Those who have used the systems in Europe,” the Times noted, “may wonder why it has taken so long for them to show up here.”

The technology hasn’t shown up in significant numbers yet, but the EMV changeover has given another big opportunity for companies to switch over. We still believe that the Pay at the Table moment is coming, but there’s no certainty yet.

​​What's Next for Payments? Look Abroad.