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Payment Trends That Could Reshape Your Business in 2019 – An infographic by the team at Total Merchant Services
Not so long ago, business owners were grappling with the decision of whether to accept debit and credit cards in their physical stores. Although just a few years have gone by, that concern seems virtually archaic now. That’s because technology is racing forward at such a mind-bending pace that entrepreneurs have no choice but to adapt and evolve if they want to succeed. Devices such as the mobile phone, as well as other customizable innovations, are turning shopping into a very personal and individually tailored experience for both shoppers and the companies from whom they buy.
Most likely, you are familiar with the “smart speakers” that are becoming commonplace in so many American homes; perhaps you have one or two yourself. They allow users to play games, access weather and sports scores, set a timer, ask any number of questions, and make phone calls, just to name a few functions. As more and more in-home devices such as thermostats and security systems come on board, consumers will be able to also operate them via this technology. It won’t be long before you can also add shopping to the list of “smart speaker” bells and whistles. Amazon’s Alexa already enables users to attach their accounts and make simple purchases.
In the upcoming months, this capability is sure to expand and become more refined. One way this will happen, as unsettling as it may first sound, will occur when your speaker registers your desire to purchase a particular item and transmits the information to an automated chatbot to complete the transaction. It might sound straight out of science fiction, but automated ecommerce is right on the horizon.
People are never separated from their phones these days, and that can definitely work to your advantage as an entrepreneur, thanks to mobile payment technology. The digital wallet is slowly but surely being accepted by consumers as a convenient and secure way to make payments. All that’s required is that they input their credit card information into the app that’s built into their Apple or Android phone. When the time comes to make a purchase, the consumer simply holds their device near the stores near field communication (NFC) reader and provides their pass code, fingerprint, or facial ID. Within seconds, the payment goes through securely without the need for the merchant to have access to the customer’s data.
In addition to the upside of added security, a point-of-sale system capable of mobile payments can also be used to entice customers to buy products and services from you more frequently. That’s because modern POS solutions are equipped with software that enables you to set up a customer database. Once that’s in place, it’s a breeze to start an email newsletter that contains appealing discounts, and to reward your most loyal customers as well. Everyone likes to feel special, and programs like these let your buyers know that their business is one of your highest priorities.
These days, all of the major mobile phone providers are embracing digital wallets. That includes:
- Android Pay
As carrying cash becomes increasingly rare, these wallets are in an excellent position to become customers’ payment method of choice.
Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies
In spite of the fact that it has been on the financial scene for several years now, Bitcoin and its cryptocurrency competitors still possess a certain air of mystique. Although they are perfectly legal, they continue to make many customers a little queasy. There are good reasons for their wariness. The value of Bitcoin, the most recognized currency in this category, has fluctuated wildly even from one day to the next. That leads many people to prefer to entrust their wealth to cash, stocks, and bonds.
In addition, people who buy things with cryptocurrencies often do not have a seamless purchasing process. Whereas a standard debit or credit card buy can be completed in a matter of seconds, security and financial considerations have tended to make cryptocurrency acquisitions time-consuming and sometimes unreliable.
Once again, technology has come to the rescue with a device called Flip. Through the use of its FitPay Payment Platform, the Flip device allows people who hold Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to exchange them for U.S. dollars. The funds can be stored on the Flip contactless payment device. When a customer wants to make a purchase, they can simply use their e-wallet, as they always do wherever contactless payments are accepted, by bringing their Flip device in close proximity to the retailer’s NFC reader.
When biometric authentication is used, a person is identified via an automated method that recognizes them on the basis of behavioral or physiological characteristics. These may include fingerprint, face, hand or palm geometry, iris, retina, signature, or voice. Since these features are highly unique to each of us, the security of transactions can be maximized through the use of this form of authentication. Even now, biometrics are being used by a wide array of entities: local, state and federal governments, the military, and private corporations and companies. Applications that utilize the technology include electronic banking, federal IDs, law enforcement, and social services.
This powerful technology can also be used to make other systems more secure, including credit cards, digital signatures, and encryption keys. Of all the main types of security checks that require customers to show something to verify their identity, biometrics are by far the most convenient and secure. Your biometric signature cannot be stolen or borrowed, and it is virtually impossible to forge one. That goes a long way toward explaining why biometrics are expected to be used in more than 18 billion transactions in just three short years.
As you can see, technology is taking today’s businesses on a rocky but exciting ride. Just when you think you have a handle on the innovations that are making marketing and displaying your products appealing to a new generation of consumers, along comes a bevy of alternative payment strategies. Given the speed at which everything is moving, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. After all, change is scary, and most of us are uncomfortable with it.
Nevertheless, it’s vital that you remain flexible and open to what’s newer and better. If you become intractable, you may find yourself kicked to the curb by your more open-minded competitors. With that in mind, it’s time to take the bull by the horns, keep your ear to the ground and continue to remain abreast of the constantly evolving developments both in your field and in the payment processing arena. That’s the only way you can stay ahead of the curve.