What lies ahead: Trends that will shape the future of the payments industry
With the evolution in technology and the new mobile customer, payments industry globally is witnessing a significant shift. Here is NPIs take on the trends that will shape the future of payment services industry:
Move towards contactless: Let’s talk numbers. Cashless transactions are growing at a rapid rate, with cashless transactions overtaking cash transactions for the first time in 2018. Customer convenience and increased adoption of cashless technology across retail and transport sectors have been cited as the major reasons for its growth. While Ireland and the UK are on their way to becoming a fully cashless society, we are still far behind compared to countries like Sweden where only 2% of transactions are now cash based. There is still a need for consumer awareness and adoption across sectors to ensure the transition is smooth and no groups of population are left behind.
Artificial intelligence in Payments: Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to revolutionize the payments industry with AI now being used to enhance customer experience, offer personalization in payment services, offering new and efficient forms of transactions as well as deter fraudulent activities and minimizing losses. As per a report by Capgemini, total value of digital transactions is expected to reach 726 billion by 2020. With the sheer volume, it is virtually impossible for humans to monitor these transactions without the help of AI and machine learning solutions. Not just operations and fraud detection, companies are leveraging AI to enhance all areas of their business. Companies are now using AI assisted chat bots to answer customer inquiries, assist with online payments, suggestions for repeat purchases etc.
Data is still king: With more and more consumers choosing digital payment methods, this presents an opportunity for companies and marketers to leverage the data being processed through these channels to better serve their customers. Specific to payment services, factors such as consumer buying behavior, frequency of purchase, preferred mode of payments, inventory etc. are all factors that can help draw insights and better serve the customers. New Payment Innovation offers its customers its Revolution tool to analyse their customer data. Revolution provides businesses with extensive analytical transaction reporting with complete real-time visibility of performance both in-store and online within the same platform, a feature which is unique in the payment services industry. Revolution provides merchants high level commercial and transactional information enabling them to make intelligent and informed business decisions based on trends identified.
Digital wallets and Cryptocurrencies: Cryptocurrency is the new buzz word in the financial services industry in 2019. The role of cryptocurrencies in shaping and disrupting the payments industry will be of key importance. Global companies like JP Morgan Chase, Facebook with Libra and Goldman Sachs have already announced plans of entering the cryptocurrency market. Cryptocurrency backed by traditional assets such as gold, can offer a potentially stable solution less prone to fluctuations in the payments ecosystems. It will be interesting to watch how merchants and retailers adapt to cryptocurrency to make sure they are not left behind.
Security of Data: As the amount of payments and data being processed increases, so does the need for enhanced security measures. Security should be a key priority for any business before selecting an online payment services provider to process their transactions to ensure their customer data is protected. As per the Lost in Transaction report published by Paysafe, 59% of small and medium sized businesses who took part in a survey cited security as the most important factor for them while choosing a payment service provider for their business. Payment services companies can use security as a competitive differentiator by having robust security measures and protocols in place.
Growth of Alternative finance: We are slowly witnessing the adoption of alternative credit facilities in the market such as deferred payments, merchant cash advances, card installment payments etc. as an alternative to traditional bank loans which have fixed payment terms and timelines. Consumer preference towards “Buy Now, Pay Later” is also influencing businesses and retailers on how they manage their borrowing and credit. Merchant adoption towards alternative credit is expected to have steady growth in the time to come. New Payment Innovation offers Flexible Finance, an alternative finance option to merchants with easy approvals and repayments based on their daily takings.
RFID and Microchips technology in payments: Radio frequency identification chips (RFIDs) are giving us a matrix moment with these chips now being implanted in human skin. Although still in the implementation and awareness stages, microchip implants could be considered the future of payments, with steady adoption underway in countries like Sweden and the United States. With “technology that you can literally never leave at home”, it will be interesting to see how this impacts retailers and merchants as well as consumer spending.