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<p>NEEDHAM, Mass. – One of the byproducts of the Internet revolution was predicted to be the explosive growth of person-to-person (P2P) payments, at the cost of transaction volume at the traditional payment processors, including credit unions. While there’s still growth in that area, most notably in eBay-type auctions, it’s been gradual, “and person-to-person Internet payments as they were originally defined have yet to gain significant traction,” said Beth Robertson, e-banking senior analyst for TowerGroup. Robertson, author of a new report on P2P payments, compared the evolution to the ancient tale of the Trojan Horse. “The industry appeared to be one thing, yet is emerging as countless others,” she said. Areas of growth for P2P, in addition to Internet-based auctions, include areas that traditional financial institutions should be aware of, Roberston said, including immigrant remittances and services being developed for individuals with no established banking relationships. “Financial institutions must avoid playing a passive role as the utility-level processor of payments generated by online activity,” the report said. “TowerGroup advises institutions to assume a leadership position in introducing and adding value to new payment-related services rather than deferring to third-party providers (such as PayPal) to play this role.” The researchers believe P2P volume this year will be about 100 million transactions, but that only about nine million will be true person-to-person transactions. Most of it instead is in recurring payments to business accounts.</p>

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