René Pomassl, CEO of Salamantex, writes for Payment Expert on what he believes are the three essentials for digital payments software.
The payments world has been rapidly evolving since we can remember. It seems every day there is a new innovative method of payment, from contactless to now paying with digital assets. There is now a multitude of digital assets that can be used. For example, the variety of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Dash and Ether. The challenge now is to make sure they are implemented to meet the needs of merchants and consumers.
Payment software solutions can overcome this challenge by being by the merchants and consumers side the entire time. The software provides a solution that handles everything, making it a smooth transition for everyone involved. While behind the scenes, the technology used to do this is all very impressive, it comes down to three essential features – simplicity, speed, and security.
Consumers love simplicity. Browse, choose and pay are the simple steps of a successful sale and most businesses will follow this motto. Therefore, the payment process with cryptocurrency needs to be as smooth as ‘paying with a bank card’. Luckily, software and hardware tools exist to fulfill this particular demand towards simplicity paying with cryptocurrencies or digital assets.
The key here is to provide app-based services integrating multiple cryptocurrencies and other tokenized assets in one interface. This multi-pronged approach allows consumers to pay using numerous cryptocurrencies stored in any smartphone wallet.
Bitcoin has the same value in all countries. So paying with digital currencies is a bonus in this regard. It does away with the need to exchange into local currencies or carry multiple physical bank cards. How it works?
The customer selects the desired cryptocurrency at the point of sale, the amount of the items to be purchased is entered in domestic fiat currency, like Euro or US Dollar. The payment terminal (or online checkout page, for that matter) then automatically retrieves and displays the best exchange rate with the respective selected cryptocurrency.
A QR code is generated and displayed to the customer. The customer scans the code with his/her wallet app and a confirmation receipt is given. The experience for both consumer and merchant is straightforward and hassle-free.
In parallel, the transaction is represented in the respective blockchain network and saved in the accounting system for compliant and transparent bookkeeping on the merchant’s side.
Consumers and merchants alike do not want to wait for lengthy transactions times, despite paying with something so new as digital assets. They both desire transaction speeds similar if not faster than traditional methods. Indeed, today consumers and merchants anticipate near-instant payment experiences wherever they go.
Holistic software solutions for digital assets will open the door to new and enriching use cases across various ecosystems. Crypto currencies are only the beginning of the story, to future-proof their business, business owners should prepare for a whole array of digital assets as payment methods.
With this in mind, it is crucial to choose a software solution that enables a single payment terminal to accept any digital assets, regardless of it being crypto currency, or loyalty points, or tokenized assets. This way, with just one single software upgrade, business owners are set up for the entire payment revolution at once.
In respective, their consumers can benefit across the entire buying journey – at speed. For instance, if a consumer wished to eat out at a restaurant, they could pay for their food and drinks using crypto or digital currency. Rewarded loyalty points for this transaction are tokenized and stored in the user’s wallet. Next time the user wishes to eat out, the loyalty points gained can be used as a digital currency to pay for their dinner!
Above all, payment security is the main priority for consumers when it comes to payments.
Digital payment solutions need to be transparent and compliant with regulations. As the cryptocurrency industry is growing, governments are taking note and implementing stricter regulations. Those regulations in turn demand higher degrees of compliance and possibly license requirements.
SMEs will want to avoid the inherent volatility risk of cryptocurrencies. With the right technology, this is also possible: the purchase amount paid is credited to the merchant in fiat currency as usual, even if the customer pays using cryptocurrency. Unless, of course, the merchant prefers to keep the purchase amount as cryptocurrency.
In some countries, such as Germany, regulators have introduced specific legislation to oversee cryptocurrency custodians.
As such, to date, the lack of regulated and supervised custody solutions has been a barrier to entry for SMEs accepting digital asset payments. Confusion on who to choose as the right partner has been common and a huge concern for regulatory-compliant institutions.
Therefore, it is more important than ever to now identify ‘plug and play’ technology providers and trust their expertise in bridging the gap between conventional, regulatory compliant payments and the blockchain.
The road ahead
As cashless digital payments become the norm for a growing number of consumers, the need for increasingly flexible payment methods increases. Cryptocurrencies, CBDCs and indeed any other digital assets will accelerate this shift over the coming years, and businesses need to future-proof themselves today to enable a secure, simple, and flexible payment experience.
Ultimately, these three ingredients come down to convenience. Whether it’s a big chain or SME, merchants want to implement new software without the hassle of changing other systems and minimal training efforts.
Regulations can also be a headache for organisations, especially with the current concerns around digital assets, so again, a system that can be conveniently integrated without any new rules and regulations is vital.
If this is done right, payments will be easier and safer for consumers, and they expect nothing else.