Journal of Financial Market Infrastructures

Not all payments are created equal: segmenting the payment landscape

Gottfried Leibbrandt

  • This paper proposes a segmentation of the payments landscape by size of payments and geography.
  • The characteristics and underlying customer needs for each of these segments as well as their dynamics over time are analysed.
  • Fundamentally different needs and requirements in each segment are not easily satisfied by a single system. 
  • In payments ‘one sizes may not fit all' and the segmentation could be a useful tool in designing new systems. 


The payments landscape is changing. Checks and cash are declining and being replaced by electronic instruments; a range of new players are taking aim at the role and position of banks; and new technologies such as Bitcoin/Distributed Ledger are even challenging the nature of money itself. An often-heard argument is "a payment is a payment", implying that a new player with a superior technology or customer proposition, if successful, would be able to ultimately replace all existing payment instruments/systems. This paper argues that the current payments landscape consists of segments with inherently different characteristics that require different approaches. Most dynamics occur within such segments, rather than across them.

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