5 Payments Trends to Look for in 2021

2020 brought widespread changes to the payments landscape. From increased usage of contactless payments to a spike in e-commerce, payments experts noticed a lot of changes in a short period of time. While the future of payments may see some of these changes continue to evolve, some are also likely here to stay. Take a look at five payments trends we expect to see more of in 2021.

1) Contactless Payments

Contactless payments have spiked in popularity this year. Overall usage of contactless payments rose 150% between March 2019 and June 2020 in the United States alone. Contactless payments can be made with a contactless card, or a digital wallet such as Apple Pay®, Google PayTM, and Samsung Pay®.

In addition to digital wallets, another contactless payment method that has seen a resurgence is the use of QR codes. While they have been in use in other countries for years, they only just recently caught on in the United States. 

According to PaymentsJournal, recent data shows that “while only 13% of consumers used QR codes on their smartphones prior to the pandemic, an additional 11% have used the technology since.” In addition to payments, QR codes can also be used to offer customers a touch-free way to download coupons or fill out forms.

These payment methods are not only “touch-free” but also convenient and secure. Now that they’ve become more widespread, consumers will likely expect merchants to continue to make these options available to them into the future.

2) Alternative Financing/“Buy Now Pay Later”

A second trend that we expect to see more of in 2021 is alternative financing. Often referred to as “buy now pay later” or “BNPL,” alternative financing involves short-term loans at the point of sale. When a customer makes a purchase, they have the option to acquire the product now and pay later, in installments.

In addition to providing flexibility for the consumer, alternative financing can also benefit the seller. Offering this payment method has been shown to lead to a higher number of sales and a higher average order value.

3) Biometrics

Payment security technology is constantly evolving. One security feature that will likely become more widespread in the future is biometric authentication. This method involves verifying a person’s identity through the use of physiological data such as the recognition of a person’s fingerprint, voice, iris, or facial shape.

Biometrics may start to become part of two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication usually involves entering a password into a system, and then verifying your identity through a second method, such as a numeric code texted to your cell phone or emailed to the email address you have on file with the company. Biometrics could become an additional option in that multi-factor authentication process.

4) E-Commerce

Over the past several years, customers have increasingly been switching to online purchases rather than visiting brick-and-mortar stores to make their purchases. However, this trend saw a huge increase in growth during 2020.

Researchers estimate that United States consumers will spend approximately $190.47 billion this year on holiday e-commerce purchases alone - up 35.8% from 2019. With the ease and convenience of online purchases, combined with additional options that retail outlets are now providing, such as “buy online, pickup in store” or “BOPIS,” e-commerce growth is likely to increase throughout 2021.

5) Frictionless Commerce

These days, both sellers and their consumers expect a frictionless commerce experience, including during the payment portion of the transaction. TechTarget defines frictionless commerce as “a method of using data from devices, apps and websites to integrate buying opportunities as simply and seamlessly as possible into consumers’ everyday activities and natural environments.”

It means removing any obstacles or unnecessary extra steps from the transaction process. A frictionless payment process not only helps increase customer satisfaction, but it can also help reduce cart abandonment in online purchasing, therefore leading to higher revenue.

Many ISVs help their merchants achieve a frictionless commerce experience by producing software that includes payment processing functionality for a wide variety of payment methods, such as credit/debit cards, contactless cards, digital wallets, and more.


These are just a few of the payments trends to look for in the new year. Global Payments Integrated keeps on top of changes to the payments landscape to help ISVs provide the most up-to-date payment processing functionality to their merchants. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you get ready for 2021.



Apple Pay® is a trademark of Apple, Inc. All trademarks contained herein are the sole and exclusive property of their respective owners.

Google PayTM is a trademark of Google, Inc.  All trademarks contained herein are the sole and exclusive property of their respective owners. Any such use of those marks without the express written permission of their owner is prohibited.

Samsung Pay® is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.