In addition to headline-grabbing inflation and concerns about the effects of the war in Ukraine on those directly involved, as well as on people and markets worldwide, we, in the payments industry continue to contend with many of the same issues we've faced for decades. One of those issues is interchange, a sore point for merchants and a necessary tool for those doing business along Visa and Mastercard's payment rails. The major card brands set the rules for using their networks and, in April and October each year, they set new interchange rates—except for 2020 and 2021, when rate hikes were paused because so many retailers suffered during the worst of the pandemic.
With new interchange rates in effect this month, merchants are complaining again, and various government entities are looking into the card brands' practices again. This issue's lead article goes into current initiatives and probes and presents views on what is and isn't likely to change when it comes to the long reach of the card brands.
As reflected in the range of topics highlighted in our News Briefs, interchange isn't the only issue people in payments care about. Some of the stories covered include recent efforts to promote environmentally friendly practices among European fintechs; research indicating future financial services will be inclusive, agile and digitized; the continued growth of the 27-year-old gift card market; and the Electronic Transactions Association's unveiling of its 2022 Forty Under 40 class of leaders who have made a measurable impact on the payments technology ecosystem.
Also making a major impact are our contributing writers. In this edition they share insights on how to get out of your own way and build self-confidence; the growing demand for real-time payments in the gig economy and what that might mean for acquirers; awareness that the payments ecosystem is interdependent and relies on stakeholders for much more than revenue; and the multiple benefits of merchant cash advances for retailers and resellers.
Rounding out this magazine are updates on milestones in the payments and fintech community, new company and product profiles, spotlights on leading innovators, resource guide listings, and a few words of inspiration to help you get the most from your career. We are always eager to receive your feedback on what we're doing well and what we can do better. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, and continue to send your latest news to email@example.com.
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