Over the last decade there’s been a flood of innovative technology that is changing the payment industry. Gone are the days of expensive, slow, and outdated methods that involved paper, clunky cash registers, and even physically swiping your credit or debit card. Checks and cash are now on the decline and are being favored by electronic methods that are less expensive, faster, and more secure.
Here’s a look at what the future holds for the payments industry as innovation and technology continues to rapidly advance. You may even be surprised to learn that most of this tech is already here and being used on a daily basis.
No surprise here. Mobile usage is exploding. And that trend will continue with online payments as technology continues to advance and younger users embrace mobile usage. Despite only 18% of people currently using mobile payments on a regular basis, Millennials and higher-income households were reported to be using mobile payments once a week.
Furthermore, eMarketer expects that the mobile payment industry is growing to experience a 210% growth in 2016 in the US alone. That will take the total amount of mobile payments from $8.71 billion in 2015 to $27.05 billion in payment transactions.
Mobile payment platforms include apps, digital wallets, social peer-to-peer platforms, and mobile POS or NFC systems. Some examples would be:
- Due allows users to send money online from business-2-business or send money from person to person. No limits and 100% free.
- Google Wallet allows users to store credit/debit cards for secure transactions, send money through Gmail, and lets merchants distribute offers.
- Apple Pay/Samsung Pay gives smartphone users the power to store billing information and make in-store purchases through near field communication (NFC).
- Venmo is Braintree’s/Paypal’s peer-to-peer payment system where you can send funds to friends or family through your smartphone. Limited to $300 for non-verified users and $3000 for verified users.
- Dwolla offers an app where your can send or request money to people via phone number, email, or Dwolla ID.
- Facebook Messenger is safe and convenient way to send money to your friends through the popular social network.
- LoopPay is a mobile wallet that also comes equipped with Magnetic Secure Transmission technology so that users it at in-store payment terminals.
- Tab is a unique app for dining. Check into a restaurant and the receipt will be emailed to you after you leave.
- Tilt merges peer-to-peer payments with crowdfunding so that you can keep track of who paid what on projects.
- PayPal is arguably the world’s largest payment gateway not only has a mobile app, but also a full-fledged mobile wallet.
- Square provides a mobile reader that attaches to a smartphone so merchants can easily accept credit cards. Square announced its IPO in 2015 and there was a lot of hype surrounding the stock. While the business is growing, advancements in mobile POS technology is creating a number of innovative competitors could threaten the company’s future. Users are also charged 1% of money sent.
As technology continues to advance, and more users use mobile payments, we can expect to see mobile real-time payments overtake cash as the preferred payment method. In fact, it’s expected that by 2018 an additional revenue pool of $80 billion will be generated by real-time payments.
Furthermore, mobile devices will extend beyond just smartphones and tablets. Payments will be made through wearable devices like Apple Wallet apps or wearables such as Pure Wrist or RFID bracelets. One of the more interesting developments will be the expansion of geolocation where merchants can send customers SMS notifications that contain coupons or deals when they are in proximity of their business. Customers will also be able to use geolocation to make purchases through beacons without having to approach a cashier.
The Future of the Payments Industry is Embedded Chips
If you’ve recently received a new credit card you definitely noticed that the new card came with an embedded integrated circuit chip (ICC). The main reason is that this technology is used to enhance security since, as ComputerWorld, states, “the chip in the card is communicating with the network behind the terminal to enhance security instead of just forwarding your card number and related data to the network, as with the magnetic stripe approach.”
Don’t be surprised if this technology is perfected into wearable, ranging from rings to bracelets, so that you can make quick and secure payments. For example, imagine being able to get rid of transit or credit cards. A group of students from MIT created the Sesame Ring that replaced Boston’s transit card.
Prepaid, Bitcoin, and Blockchain
Electronic payments will continue to evolve and adapt in the payments industry. Prepaid cards may not be revolutionary, they will become more commonly used. Tobias Schreyer predicts on TechRadar that “prepaid cards will become an important asset to the average consumer, proving to be a useful alternative to traditional credit and debit cards.”
PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has claimed that Bitcoin has the potential to change the world. Here’s the thing, it won’t just be Bitcoin. Instead, it will be the so-called blockchain, which is “the global online ledger that underpins the bitcoin digital currency.” As further described in Wired, the blockchain is a database that runs across a worldwide network of independent machines. This technology “can provide a more secure, more reliable, more transparent, and more automatic way of exchanging money, securities, and other assets” such as stocks, bonds, and even house or car titles. As organizations create their own blockchains, thanks to the Open Ledger Project, they will be able to replace “the slower technologies and expensive middlemen that clog up today’s markets.”
Finally, biometrics may be used to not only continue the elimination of cash and credit cards, but even smartphones and wearables. We’re seeing this now with companies like Apple and Samsung using fingerprint payments on their mobile devices. Pulsewallet will allow customers to simply wave their palm over a reader to make an in-store purchase. The future of the payments iIndustry is looking very positive.
MasterCard previously developed the ADS VeriChip, which was a chip implanted under the skin. The chip was approved by the FDA, but didn’t go much further. Recently, the high-tech Epicenter office in Sweden placed chips under the hands of employees. RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips could store financial information which would replace the need for carrying cash, cards, or mobile payment solutions.
Even more high-tech would be the use of retinal scanning, facial recognition, voice authenticity, and even your heartbeat that will be approve payment transaction. This isn’t just a sci-fi movie plot. Companies are currently working on these types of biometric payments.