Wordline: iDEAL and The Future of Payments in The Netherlands


In the Netherlands, where cash payments have been declining for years, iDEAL is the leading online payment method. More than two-thirds of e-commerce payments in the country are made using iDEAL.

But how will iDEAL evolve? 

For Michael Salmony, executive adviser at European payments firm Worldline, there is a great opportunity for iDEAL to create a new API ecosystem built on the foundation of open banking standards.

Salmony is board-level advisor to major international banks, industry associations, regulations and European and international bodies. He is known for business innovations especially in digital and financial services with a focus on payments, open banking, fintech and digital identity. 

With opportunities and challenges of future payments, in this article Salmony talks about possible future plans for iDEAL and in what ways the payment solution can adapt to meet the needs of consumers.

Michael SalmonyMichael Salmony
Michael Salmony, Executive Adviser at Worldline

When it concerns the future of payments, some countries are further along than other. For example, in the Netherlands, where cash payments have been declining for years. In contradiction to that, card payments have become more and more popular, especially account-based payments with online banking solution iDEAL.

What are possible future plans for iDEAL and in what ways can the payment solution adapt to meet the needs of consumers?

Possible Futures for iDEAL

Maybe iDEAL 2.0 will instead be the basis for new value-added services. Maybe iDEAL 2.0 will provide a single API hub so that all Dutch banks can be accessed simply for PSD2/Open banking.

The single hub could provide not only basic compliance APIs but also value-added APIs to allow banks to be integrated as lenders in other ecosystems, to provide credit scores to merchants (‘instant scoring for instant finance’), to provide e-mandates/e-signing services and the many more monetisable APIs in the new connected economy.

This is a great opportunity for iDEAL to create this new API ecosystem and build on the foundation of open banking standards like the Berlin Group protocol. iDEAL 2.0 could provide bank-based e-identity along the Nordic model which is sorely needed if we are not to build all our digital economy on the 1970s technology of passwords. Finally, iDEAL could be the transport mechanism for the only thing that counts now – data.

So, many ideas exist on how iDEAL can become an even greater success than before. Let us hope that some of these ideas are exploited and we will not just see an internal technical restructuring with proprietary protocols or just yet another newly shaped payment button.

Creating global successes

Europe has proven that it can create large, even global schemes, having repeatedly created many global successes like GSM, allowing the many players in the telecom world to interoperate. This is also a generic scheme which not only allows telephony but also many value-added services like messaging, data, identity and more. GSM is a worldwide success and shows that two-sided markets can be made to work without building single centralised platforms and creating monopolies.

As we can see there are some clear lines in the future: payment will be instant, connected, less-cash, bank-based, API-driven, mobile, cheap, easy, open, more secure, less dependent on others… but the road from where we are now to the pan-European goal we are looking towards still has a few challenges.

We’re now only in Season 3 of the box set, whereas AI-driven lifestyle apps are probably Season 8 – there is still a long way to go and much progress to make.

Let us work together to get to the future – there are some excellent examples which show how this can be done.