The evolution of the payment journey has been exponential in recent years, and as it has continued, speed has elevated and friction has dissolved. 

Speaking at the SBC Digital North America conference, Michael Kaplan, the General Manager and Chief Revenue Officer, PayNearMe, sat down with Bill Clerico, Fintech Investor and former CEO, WePay, as they discussed what they believe the next steps are for payments. 

During the discussion, which was titled ‘Payments 3.0: A player-centric approach to payments’ and as we approach the third stage of the payment evolution’, Kaplan was keen to gain a deeper understanding of how we have progressed from the inaugural two stages of growth. 

Emphasising that the journey has been about removing friction, Clerico stated: “At every step of the continuum we have been taking friction out of the payment journey – like that 1.0 experience was about giving people different rails to pay and that’s removing friction. If they only had one way to pay previously and now all of a sudden they could walk into a retail store and pay cash, that’s a great example of removing friction, but it’s really a 1.0 way of removing friction. 

“I think 2.0 is about simplifying all of those options. We really hit people with the full menu and it was a case of how do we simplify that and guide people through that. 

“Removing friction in the 3.0 world is really about making a natural part of what they’re trying to do and sort of building it into the workflow of gaming and purchasing or whatever they are doing. 

“Instead of saying ‘okay, I really want to go and place this bet’ and that means they have to go offline from that and figure out how to load their wallet so that I can then come back and place the bet, I think it’s really about how can we make that a magical frictionless experience, and that experience is really just a part of gaming, which is really what the person is coming to do there – the loading the wallet is not what is getting them excited. 

“I think the 3.0 world is really about taking the saved payment information and building it into the overall workflow of the product. 

Kaplan added: “Friction is the word that gets thrown around when we talk about payments, it’s almost about making payments invisible.” 

He then highlighted Uber as a strong example of a transactional process that has increased customer expectations around this. 

Clerico built on this point by highlighting that Air B&B has taken this principle and innovation and transcended it to the hotel space – with it being a recurring theme that the new challenger is the one increasing frictionless in the payment journey.