The Future Of Payments: Making Payments Invisible

The customer journey has changed. As digital technology becomes ubiquitous in our everyday lives the way we discover, browse, select, and pay for goods and services continues to evolve.

Multi-channel and omni-channel solutions are allowing customer to initiate the customer journey in one channel and complete it in another. This is causing new retail sales models to emerge, such as showrooming, where consumers look at a product in store and then order it online, or click-and-collect, where a product ordered online is collected in store. As the consumer becomes more digitally savvy the retailer must learn to embrace these new models and ensure that the customer has an effortless sales experience no matter the channel.

Across all retail channels the payment process continues to be a pain point for customers and retailers alike. While most customers will be familiar with using cash or card at a traditional point of sale, new channels such as online and mobile are not as easily navigated. If the payment process takes too long, is too difficult or confusing, or does not feel safe and secure the customer is much more likely to bail out of the transaction, resulting in lost sales and a negative consumer experience. Retailers and payments service providers therefore need to consider how to make payments easy and seamless across all channels.

Visa for example has launched mVisa, a mobile based payments service which is designed to make mobile payments as easy, if not easier than using a card. Geraldine Mitchley, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation for Visa in Sub Saharan Africa, spoke recently at the eCommerce Money Africa Confex, discussed how payments technology needs to evolve to keep up with an increasingly digital world.

The mVisa app enables consumers to link any Visa account to their mobile device and essentially use the phone in place of a card across a number of payment channels. Once activated, mVisa enables consumers to pay for purchases in stores and online by initiating a transfer of funds from their account to the merchant’s account.

Beyond this Visa is collaborating with other stakeholders to enable new ways of making payments. For example their tokenisation services enables emerging solutions such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, while their open API allows developers to build the solutions that they need.

According to Mitchley, the end goal should be to make digital payment not only seamless, but invisible. Consider an app like Uber. The user puts in their payment details once and then then can use the app indefinitely without ever having to think about the payment process. The pain point has been removed by eliminating the process entirely.