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A brief overview of the digital payment landscape

Have you heard of Amazon Go? It’s a new kind of store with no checkout required. Simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout. Shortly after leaving your Amazon account is charged and a receipt is sent to you.

This is one possible future for food retail.

In Japan, NTT Docomo has pushed the envelope in other ways to make payment as painless as possible. Direct carrier billing is an obvious option for secure payments once you think about it. Some providers restrict the service to digital only products and services such as a music streaming service. NTT Docomo however allows purchasing of a wide range of physical goods. Consumers can use direct billing for clothing and shoes, kitchenware, cosmetics, electronics, exercise equipment, food, home goods and toys.

Another great example of making it easy for mobile customers to buy things.Given the rapid adoption of secure, encrypted messaging platforms in recent years, you would be right to ask what is happening in that space.

This time the innovation started in China. Both WeChat Pay and AliPay have led the way. It is amazing how many daily chores can be completed within WeChat. Users can pay any public utility bills, book and pay for medical treatment, pay for any transportation costs, donate to charity or split bills. Social payments are used by businesses of all sizes in China, from major retailers to the guy selling street food. For many Chinese consumers, mobile payment apps have replaced retail bank accounts.

In this instance, payment is not a separate app, it is woven into the way WeChat functions.

Facebook can claim bragging rights as well on its own platform Messenger. The 2016 release of chatbots on the platform saw a rapid uptake in this form of self service. This year’s versions have matured. For instance, TransferWise Bot allows peer-to-peer (P2P) international money transfer service that bypasses banks to keep costs down.

For those who prefer to stay off social platforms, Circle provides a similar service. They use blockchain technology to enable secure exchanges on a peer to peer basis. The inspiration behind was to make money transfer as easy as sending an email.

Each of these examples reflects profound changes in how we buy and pay for things. Even traditional credit/debit cards which removed us from a cash based economy has reinvented their core experience with the introduction of contactless payment.

Consumers are on a digital journey. For many it is now a mobile first world. It is natural and easy for them to receive an invoice and then pay for it on that device. Or simply choose their preferred payment option and pay instantly. This is why certain mobile payment services have done so well within national payment infrastructures such as Vipps, a mobile payment application adopted by 40% of Norwegians. Or Swish used by 52% of the Swedish population.

Others have warmed to the convenience of mobile wallets from globally trusted brands such as Apple, Google and Samsung.

How we buy and pay is all part of the changing digital landscape. Some still prefer familiar channels such as contact centres and IVR to do business through.

Organisations have to balance both choice and simplicity. From the customer’s point of view this means offering me options that are relevant to the way I choose to transact. For organisations, it means bringing all payment options together into a secure manageable solution that is easy to integrate and simple to administer.

If this is a current challenge for you then you might want to have a chat with us. We do payments just as well as we do contact centre solutions.

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