There’s a very real possibility that we’ll soon be able to walk into a shop and pay with our faces - no card, no phone, just our unique retina pattern.
Though we’re not quite there yet, consumers can already pay with their phone, their smartwatches, voice-activated assistants, and connected cars, so it’s only a matter of time before our faces become a legitimate way to transfer cash. Let’s backtrack for a moment.
We all know that the global eCommerce world is growing rapidly, so it seems like the next logical step is introducing new payment methods to cope with this explosion.
What Are Cardless Payments?
Pretty self-explanatory, really.
Cardless payments are any form of money being exchanged without a debit or credit card.
The term refers to transactions that are carried out with any other item than a card - so smartwatches qualify, so do phones and even some IoT devices (paying your washing machine insurance from the washing machine itself, anyone?).
At the moment, cards are the go-to payment method for the majority of the world, but mobile payments are sneaking up to take the lead. And this notable shift to mobile has seen the rise of an ever-expanding list of payment-enabled devices.
Today, consumers actively choose to shop on their mobiles rather than a desktop, and online businesses are quickly realizing that, in order to keep up with the kids, they need to incorporate digital payments throughout their stores. This means they can capture a greater share of wallets and, ergo, a great share of the billion-dollar industry.
New Payment Technologies to Tie in With the Times
To align with this shift to mobile in the digital commerce world, a wave of new payment technologies have surfaced that clamour to meet modern consumer needs and to create a seamless payment experience. Because, after all, why would you not let people pay with the same device they shop on?
- Digital Wallets
Digital wallets are apps that keep credit card information stored on a mobile device, whether that’s a smartphone, smart wearables, or anything else that has a payment function enabled.
We’re talking things like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay here, but there are a glut of independent companies developing shiny new wallets (of the digital variety, of course).
2. Hybrid Online-Mobile Systems
While this isn’t technically a fully-functioning payment method, hybrid online to mobile payment systems allow users to authenticate purchases they’ve made over the internet with the tap of a button on their mobile device.
3. Contactless Payments
This is where things get juicy - and, if you use your imagination, it’s where things could get really futuristic.
Contactless payments employ technology that enables people to pay through a device of their choice (whether that’s a mobile or something else) by waving it around near the point-of-sale terminal rather than inserting or tapping a card.
Now, you’ll notice that most of these methods originated in the real-life commerce world (you know, in-store and all that), but the digital commerce world is never far behind and these methods are already being integrated into online businesses.
So, do you want the good news or the bad news first?
We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up.
Cardless Payment Solutions: The Bad
Here’s a question for you: what comes first, the chicken or the egg?
This age-old conundrum can (and should) be applied to online payment solutions. eCommerce stores and digital businesses tend to want to see how things play out before they invest.
That is, they want their customers to adopt new technologies before they even consider integrating them into their checkout process. But it’s a vicious cycle because, until online stores support a technology, it’s really difficult to whip up interest in it.
Add to that the fact that learning how to implement and use a new technology takes up precious time, and digital businesses will have to communicate with both employees and their customers about how to carry out transactions on with new technologies. That sounds easy enough though, right? The real problem comes from the absence of any card, which automatically increases the interest of hackers.
Dubbed Card-Not-Present (CNP) Fraud, the process of knowledgeable webbies hacking into payment systems might become more widespread as new, cardless payment technologies gain momentum. In fact, in a study by Discover Global Network (Sept 2017), 62% of digital enabler respondents cited an increase in fraud year over year.
Technology is fighting technology. And, to put it simply, often the pros of a global movement like cardless payments outweigh the downright scary negatives.
Let’s dig in.
Cardless Payment Solutions: The Good
The interconnected internet age means that global cross-border business is the new “thing”. More and more consumers are buying goods online from overseas where they don’t need to have a physical card in their hand, which means cardless payments are increasingly becoming the adopted norm. Plus, preference for payment method varies from country to country.
When you bear this in mind, as well as the fact that consumers are reaching out to buy digital products in different currencies from all over the world, having one standardized payment system seems archaic - especially when more and more consumers are actively choosing to pay without their cards.
Mobile devices are becoming such a huge part of everyday life that people are increasingly craving a one-device payment approach that incorporates their beloved phones. So, if global online businesses want to keep up with the times and consistently attract new, tech-positive audiences, they’ll need to up their game.
What Cardless Payments Mean for Your Business
We’re living in an exciting time. Things are changing at the click of a button and we couldn’t possibly predict what will happen in the next five years, but it’s important to stay on top of new technologies if you want to keep your business above water.
So How Can You Keep Consumers Happy and Your Business Protected?
Start by choosing a payment solution that has your back. That means opting for an established solution that has ridden a wave of trends before and has come out metaphorically smiling the other side.
Ideally, look for a provider that allows easy integration of cashless payment methods and offers a high-level of security to give you peace of mind. You can do this by choosing a solution that is already down with the latest payment technologies.
Cashless Payments Are the Future
Minimalism might seem like the hipster movement of the moment, but it’s becoming more and more attainable with the reduction of multiple devices.
Soon, consumers will just need their phone (and, one day, maybe just their faces) to provide payment, putting all the power into one singular device. This not only minimizes the amount of stuff we need to own, but it creates a seamless experience by combining online shopping and payment all in one place.
In the meantime, preparing your online business for a change that is coming will put you in good stead for the future. Not only will you be able to reach more consumers from all over the world, but you’ll make their experience ten times more enjoyable - and that means they’ll keep on coming back for more.