Report: ‘Black Hole’ Affects Online, Mobile Projections

Sept. 19, 2013

Online and mobile payments are expected to grow considerably by next year, but a new report said accurately predicting what level they will reach has become more difficult with the influx of non-banks in this area of payments. The World Payments Report 2013, co-sponsored by RBS and Capgemini, estimated e-commerce transactions would grow 18 percent to 34.8 billion ($1.8 trillion in total value) and mobile payment transactions would surge 58.5 percent to 28.9 billion (nearly $800 billion in value) worldwide by 2014. But, the companies seemed to doubt industry numbers, noting that accurately assessing e- and m-payments, virtual currency and other non-cash instruments has become more difficult. The report said growing transaction volumes, inconsistent reporting and increasing non-bank payments activity in regions like Africa has led to a “statistical black hole.”

“By comparing our analysis and estimates of global non-cash volumes with the figures emanating from industry analysts, we discovered significant gaps that demonstrate a need for more reliable data regarding this rapidly growing market,” the authors wrote. “The analysis certainly raises questions about the market size estimates being made in the industry and highlights the need for improved, centralized data collection.”