Digital currencies—Real rewards from virtual transactions

Even though digital currencies are not yet mainstream, interest in them as payments vehicles is growing.


Payments companies must grow revenues in new areas. Although digital currencies have supporters and skeptics, they have great potential to provide just this opportunity. With digital currencies in their infancy as a payment mechanism, why should the industry start to pay attention today?

What’s exciting about digital currencies—including crypto-currencies—is their position to empower payments players to expand into payments occasions generally served by banks. What’s more, over time, digital currencies could become the true global currency. Payments companies cannot ignore this momentum and would be wise to consider their own digital currency strategies sooner rather than later.

This point of view explores interest in the market around digital currencies in payments and offers five actions that payments players should explore to remain flexible. It’s about ensuring that they have the right capabilities as digital currencies become more mainstream.

Learn more about our Payments Insights Series.

What does the future of payments look like? We asked consumers. Learn more in our Accenture 2014 North America Consumer Payments Survey.


A digital currency strategy is essential for payments companies to provide legitimacy and transparency to the currency, preserve relevance in the transaction and customer relationship, and capture new payments occasions. Payments players should consider five strategic areas in developing their strategy:

  1. Create seamless funding of digital currencies via traditional payments.

  2. Facilitate real-time and automatic conversion between traditional and digital currencies in the payment process.

  3. Become a central repository or bank for digital currencies.

  4. Use digital currencies to explore new geographies and purchase occasions.

  5. Apply digital currency principles to card loyalty programs.