The next few years are set to be some of the most dramatic that the payment industry has ever experienced. With trends and attitudes towards certain payment methods changed forever thanks to the pandemic, there is renewed interest and excitement from consumers in new payment methods. For retailers, however, capitalising and keeping pace with consumer payment expectations is a major challenge. Make the wrong choice and retailers can quickly find themselves playing an expensive game of catch up.
Delia Pedersoli, CEO of MultiPay Global Solutions describes how five payment trends have risen to the top. By focusing efforts on these areas, retailers can ensure they have the right systems and experiences in place to delight consumers. So, with that being the case, let’s dive in.
Alternative payment methods (APMs)
Let’s start with the biggest trend to be aware of – APMs. In a nutshell, APMs are a form of payment that doesn’t feature cash or a credit or debit card to complete a transaction. Relying on a mobile phone this type of payment increasingly turns to the power of QR codes. Once consumers have filled their baskets and are at a checkout (whether in-store or on-line), they simply open an app and scan a QR code to make payment. The advantages of this process are huge.
Firstly, by removing credit and debit cards from the transaction, processing fees are instantly reduced, creating significant savings for retailers. Secondly, by connecting up APM systems with data insights platforms, retailers can build a more complete picture of their customers. By consolidating customers payments from both in-store and on-line transactions, retailers can identify specific customer trends and habits that can then be used to provide targeted promotions.
The advantages don’t stop there either. By using a generic QR code, APMs allow consumers to select any form of payment they would like. This means that retailers can easily enable transactions to be completed via cryptocurrencies and improve their customer experience (CX).
Embedded payments and BNPL
Alongside APMs, embedded payments are also shaking things up. Integrated directly into an application used by a retailer, embedded payments are a payment processing functionality that allows transactions to be collected via a retailer’s own software. This removes the need for using third-party sites and systems to finalise transactions, helping reduce processing fees for retailers.
However, it is not just retailers who benefit. Embedded payments also make it possible to deliver instalment payment plans like buy now pay later (BNPL). BNPL is an in-demand payment method with consumers. Recent research has even predicted that the market for it could be worth over $3 trillion by 2030! Consequently, retailers who fail to offer BNPL as a payment option for big-ticket items, risk disappointing consumers and damaging their CX.
Real-time payments (RTPs)
Current payment trends are not just about increasing the ways consumers can pay either. As Tom Cruise so eloquently put it in the film Top Gun, “I feel the need. The need for speed”. Enter RTPs.
Make no mistake, faster payments have existed for a while, enabling transactions to be settled quickly. Nonetheless, the latest payment methods take this a step further, by facilitating instant settlements. The speed boost this provides benefits both retailers and consumers alike, as retailers enjoy improved cash flow, while consumers spend less time waiting for transactions to complete.
RTPs are seeing significant growth too. ACI recently found that over 70 million RTPs were processed globally in 2020, which is a 41% rise from 2019 levels. If you haven’t already thought about RTPs, then now is the time.
A key part of the payment process is security. Secure payment systems, reduce issues like fraud, keep consumers safe and build trust. At the forefront of this battle is biometrics. Biometrics have existed for a while as a way of authenticating payment methods – particularly with mobile devices. Now this convenience is expanding into more areas. As consumers become used to biometrics, there is much less resistance to their use in other areas.
The potential growth of till-less stores for instance, is dependent on technologies like biometrics. Entering a store, selecting an item, and leaving without queuing at a checkout has the potential to hugely improve CX, yet it will need biometric solutions to make it possible.
Working alongside biometrics in improving security, is the growing trend of improved fraud protection. The latest figures from UK Finance found that in 2020, fraud cost retailers over £425m.
While in-store fraud saw a significant reduction thanks to lockdowns caused by the pandemic, on-line fraud continued to surge, with 2020’s figure being more than double what it was in 2011.
To help retailers fight back, new systems are arriving that help combat fraud without impacting the customer experience. One example of this is Luxochain, a business that is using the power of blockchain technology to enable retailers to combat counterfeiting and fraud. Expect to see further innovations in fraud prevention in the years to come.
The next few years are shaping up to see some of the most exciting developments in payment history. From improved fraud protection to instant payments and APMs, how consumers buy and pay for products will soon be unrecognisable from what we have today. For retailers, the pace of development is both a blessing and a curse.
Those that get it right and act now by getting in the right payment partner will see increased sales, customer loyalty, and trust. Those that fail to act, will spend the next few years playing catch up on the latest payment trends.