a customer driven payment evolution

Payments Everywhere

Convenience is something we all strive for in all aspects of our lives and technology is here to provide it for us. Some of the biggest upheavals regarding convenience are currently happening in the payment service provider industry and banks and credit unions will want to be aware of these upcoming changes and getting ahead of the game.

Be In Real Time and On-Demand

Cross-channel payment is the word of the day: pay seamlessly, at any time and any location using any number of channels, from mobile and online to point-of-sale or between individuals using an app (P2P). This is why PayPal, Venmo, Square and similar providers of real-time, digital payment are currently dominating the industry. Some services, such as the one offered by the transportation-providing Uber, have the app make the payment for the customer, while Google's hands-free app allows one to pay by simply saying "I'll pay with Google".

And Uber is just the tip of the growing on-demand economy. On-demand services have spread across all sectors, from laundering (Washio) through laptop repair (Techy) and garbage pick-up (Rubicon) to hairstyling (GLAMSQUAD). It's all about customer-sought convenience: providing a service when and where the customer wants it, while the how always includes seamless payment. An on-demand economy also presents a shift for the freelance sector, providing new platforms and new ways of reaching customers.

KNOW THY CUSTOMER IS KEY

This "anytime, anywhere" attitude should apply on a global scale: services want to be available internationally and customers need to have an equally good experience wherever they may find themselves and whatever the local obstacles the service provider might be encountering behind the scenes. The other side of this coin is that the service providers also have to be aware of the need to provide quality support for specific features popular within a specific region and in the local language, as well. The world may be becoming an enormous, interconnected village where one is 6 or less degrees away from anyone, but customers still feel better navigating on what feels like the home turf. Achieving this level of cooperation and mutual integration can only be beneficial to all that make use of internationalization.

ENHANCE THE EXPERIENCE

Customer experience (CX) has never been more important than it is in today's highly competitive market and is poised to become only more important in the future. Combining online with brick-and-mortar retail should be of paramount concern. Customers like knowing if an item is in stock before coming to the store and would like the store to automatically charge their account once they pick the item up. But that is not the only facet of it. Showrooming is a growing part of CX, even if mobile purchasing is on the rise, customers still like to go into a physical store to check an item out before deciding whether to buy it. This does not mean all shopping will be done online, while brick and mortar stores turn only into showrooms. 

VR & AR ARE THE NEW BLACK

The reality of this can and will be flipped by savvy salespeople because it is already obvious that retailers who provide dedicated in-store space for examining products will draw more customers. 

Once they are there, enhancing the physical buying experience with digital means is what omnichannel will make possible. Using augmented reality (AR) to see how clothes fit or how furniture would look in their home or virtual reality (VR) for a taste of the concert before buying the tickets is just around the corner - and a huge opportunity for the forward-thinking businesses. Wearables, currently focused mostly on health and fitness, have become commonplace.

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It is a matter of time before they are adapted for everyday essential use, including integrated payment functionality. Waving your wearable over a payment terminal, without having to pull out a wallet or a mobile phone will become the new way to pay, as usual as swiping a card is today.

PROVIDE SAFETY AND ADDED VALUE

Security is a valid concern and with fraud on the rise, there is an urgent need for innovation that will prevent it - ranging from biometric security features upon initiation of a payment, or behind-the scene features not impacting the consumer experience. There are many contenders: iris recognition, heartbeat analysis or vein mapping, but the winner will be the one providing the best increase in accuracy, efficiency and security.

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Added value is a difference-maker and many have become aware of the fact, providing a loyalty system for customers using mobile apps for payment. A large percentage of customers report being willing to switch their primary card to receive higher value for purchases or for a large up-front bonus, and redeeming various rewards at the point of sale is a must-have. Start thinking about customizing rewards today and you'll win the battle of payment providers tomorrow.