The 2015 Payments Forecast from Forte CEO Jeff Thorness

Last year brought significant developments in the payments industry. After all, we experienced significant breaches (Target) and the resolve to do something about them (EMV and tokenization). We also welcomed Apple Pay into the world, which dramatically altered the way we talk about mobile payments. For an extensive recap of 2014 events, stop by and read Karen Webster’s thorough analysis of the year.

So what’s set to happen this year? Webster already graced the industry with her forecast, but let’s look at what Forte CEO Jeff Thorness sees as the big trends and issues coming up in 2015.

Q: 2014 was a pretty big year for payments. What do you see on the horizon for 2015?

Jeff: In 2015, I think there will be two big pieces of the payments landscape that will continue to have an impact on the industry.

First, I believe the issue of merchant data breaches is not behind us. As we experienced last year, particularly with highly publicized breaches like Target’s, data breaches are part of the current reality in the payments industry. As a leading payment provider, it is our job to develop solutions to help our merchants safeguard their customer’s payment data and offer them to our merchants. Tokenization and P2PE are two examples of these types of solutions.

Q: How can something like tokenization and P2PE work resolve the issue of merchant data breaches?

Jeff: Tokenization and P2PE encryption can work together in a layered effort to protect against breach. Using encryption at the moment the card information is captured and then tokenizing that payment information can provide a complete solution to safeguarding. We offer both of these solutions with our products and services.

Data breaches are not a thing of the past. They aren’t a one-time issue. It’s important for merchants and processors to stay vigilant and adopt strong technologies that can help defend against tragedies like breaches. I think this will continue to be an issue in 2015, one that will demand more consideration and make offerings like tokenization and P2PE standard.

Q: You mentioned a second trend or item on the agenda for the coming year. What else do you see having an impact in 2015?

Jeff: I think that both EMV and Apple Pay will be gradually adopted, rather than accepted in a firestorm fashion. Both of these technologies are of significant interest to the payments industry and to merchants, and they are major game changers. Naturally, as the deadline for EMV draws closer, more and more merchants will be making the switch. Apple Pay will also start to be increasingly adopted.

As a result, I think it will be important for merchants to consider adding both of these to their adoption plans. Things are moving fast in the payments industry, and merchants won’t want to find themselves left behind as consumers begin engaging with payment technologies in a different way. Implementation can be challenging if rushed and not done in a well-planned fashion. But with Forte’s help, we can ensure it is smooth and successful so that merchants can take advantage of these new and exciting payment technologies.

Q: Thanks, Jeff. Any last words?

Jeff: This is an exciting time to be in the industry. I’m sure this year will bring even more advancements and challenges, and I look forward to every single one.

Be sure to visit us at Transact 15 in San Francisco, powered by ETA. If you’d like to set up an interview with Jeff Thorness for a time during the show, please email

Photo credit: Susanne Nilsson

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