Fintech & Ecommerce

Top 7 books for everyone who wants to understand payments

Payments are swiftly changing and you need to understand the basics to see where it goes


Top 7 books for everyone who wants to understand payments. Source:

Data Bridge Market Research has published a new report titled “Payment Processing Solutions Market” which estimates that the global payment processing solutions market is expected to rise to an incredible value of $78.24 billion by 2026. It’s no wonder since global non-cash transactions surged nearly 14% from 2018–2019 to reach 708.5 billion transactions, the highest growth rate recorded in the past decade. Not to mention that COVID-19 has triggered the acceleration of cashless economies all over the world.

The payments industry is actually a more complex ecosystem than it seems for an outsider. What can be difficult there? One person pays, another gets the money, right? Not in the modern world of finance. There’s a great number of participants in every routine transaction as well as a lot of ways to pay for a good or service. How to understand all those complexities? Reading is always a good start. Therefore, here’s a shortlist of the top books to read on the topic.

1. Payment Systems: from the Salt Mines to the Board Room (D. Rambure & A. Nacamuli)

This book illustrates the evolution of the payment infrastructure and instruments over time. It’s a nice overview of the key payment aspects and the most prominent markets. The narrative begins with an overview of the payment system structure, its risks, and security issues. The book also covers cross-border payments, SEPA, SWIFT, foreign exchange trades and CLS, securities settlement, and many more. In addition, the authors explain the peculiarities of the payment systems in Europe, the US, and major Asian countries. They also dwell upon corporate banking and payments as a service provided by banks. Finally, the book shares some insights on the future of the payment industry.

2. The World Of Digital Payments: Practical Course (FinTech) by Pavlo Sidelov

This most comprehensive description of the digital payments landscape was prepared by the acting CTO of the core payments software provider It’s good reading material for beginners since it covers the basic notions. The book clarifies the difference between fiat and private money, payments, and transfers, etc. Readers will also find out who the main transaction participants are, what kind of commission fees exist, what happens when financial disputes arise, and many more. However, experienced FinTech professionals will also learn a few interesting things. The book provides a detailed description of payment instrument implementation: from the technical integration aspects to anti-money laundering and KYC procedure. You’ll also find all necessary information on both offline and online payment means, virtual currencies, e-wallet systems, and mobile payments driving the e-commerce industry.

3. The PAYTECH Book: The Payment Technology Handbook for Investors, Entrepreneurs, and FinTech Visionaries (edited by S. Chishti, T. Craddok and R. Courtneidge)

Payments and technology go hand in hand, and the given essay collection informs the readers of the latest developments and opportunities in this dynamic, ever-evolving industry. Written by leaders in the global FinTech and payment sectors, the book gives valuable insights on the socio-political and economic impacts of PayTech, its future, current challenges and perspectives, cybersecurity, regulation and compliance, cryptocurrency and blockchain, etc.

4. Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin: From Money That We Understand to Money That Understands Us (Perspectives) by David Birch

Written by an internationally-recognised thought leader in digital identity and digital money, this witty book will show you money from different angles. Both historical and philosophical paradigms collide here to explain the human drive towards cashless economies. The author shares some brilliant ideas on how money intertwines with culture, identity, and mutual trust. In this way, Birch guides the reader to the possible future scenarios and the role money and payments will play in them.

5. Payment Technologies for E-Commerce by Weidong Kou

This book is dedicated to the key aspects of electronic payments such as public key infrastructure, smart cards, security, authentication, payment agents, digital cash, SET protocols, and micro-payments. The overview features many technical details, real-life examples and pros & cons of the described payment methods.

6. Bank 4.0: Banking Everywhere, Never at a Bank by Brett King

The most recent addition to the popular series from the globally recognised futurist is a revelation. The book explores the future of banks amidst the evolution of technology from re-engineered banking systems, to selfie-pay, voice-based smart assistants like Alexa and Siri and smart glasses which will soon guide you on daily spending and money decisions. The thought-provoking Bank 4.0 hints at the new skill set and client-oriented strategies needed for banks to be successful in this new era, rather than concentrating on technology only. In particular, King describes how Fintech and tech “disruptors” are using behaviour, psychology and technology to reshape the economics of banking.

7. Paying with Plastic, Second edition by David S. Evans and Richard Schmalensee

This reading from the MIT Press has received numerous positive feedback and appraisals. It revolves around the credit and debit card systems, mostly described from the position of a card issuer. Along with recalling the historical development of card payments, the book provides useful insight into the implications of the current market dynamics for cardholder rewards, merchant interchange fees, and card acceptance. Such a detailed description might seem quite daunting to the people outside of the payment industry, but it’s highly recommended for professionals.


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