By 2026, more than 10 percent of all U.S. commerce will be “frictionless”—meaning that purchases are automatically initiated without conscious consumer choice, using consumer-provided data, connected devices, and other sources. The implications of this shift will cross many industries, but for financial services firms they pose a significant threat. Banks must use their trust advantage in both their business models and in shaping the public-policy debate—or risk being left behind.
Some innovative players are removing the "friction" from commerce, using consumer-provided data to automate the payments process. For banks, frictionless commerce is a threat—and an opportunity.
How frictionless commerce unfolds depends in no small part on how regulation regarding consumer data unfolds in the next decade. For now, companies and consumers must grapple with ambiguous laws, unclear authority, and inconsistent enforcement.