For the financial technology industry, 2017 will be defined as the year that the threat of tech giants grew stronger, artificial intelligence cemented its importance and some startups applied to become banks.

What to look for in 2018? Maybe more mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and deeper forays by Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc. Here's a wrap from industry experts:

Payments

In the world of payments, all eyes are on the part of the ecosystem that helps retailers process card transactions. Incumbents like First Data Corp., Vantiv Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s merchant services unit have long focused on winning business from large brick-and-mortar retailers, neglecting to spend a lot of time on the growing e-commerce sector. That's made room for startups like Stripe Inc. and Adyen BV, which have garnered high valuations for doing just that. Now the questions are: What will be the next way that consumers make purchases and what will the incumbents do to catch up?

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