5 Things We Should Know About Mobile Payment

 Originally published on Control. Feb 18, 2015

Consumer habits have changed significantly in the past few years. The market must recognize the driving force of mobile and web payment. Paying customers are demanding ease and seamlessness more than ever, and lengthy processes will ultimately lead to your company’s demise.

The Paperless Trend

Crumpled piece of paper

The shift from paper to digital is happening in many forms, but one clear instance is in payment. According to Aite Group, in 2013 digital payments accounted for almost half of all bills paid in the United States. The reason is clear: Why bother with the hassle of writing a cheque and mailing it when you can get those nasty bills off your shoulders quickly.

Millennials prefer online payment. Even though they own chequebooks, they rarely use them.

The Consumer Mindset

Lego customers making purchases

The payment processing industry is currently the fifth fastest growing sector in the United States and there is a lot of room for growth. However, marketers must remember that consumers aren’t making payments for the sake of making payments. They want to buy a new shirt, reserve tickets to a concert, or book a flight for vacation. Accessing their funds is just something that occurs in the back of their mind and companies should not interfere with that.

Consumers are looking for the next easy-to-use platform. Be it Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, or even SnapChat, those making purchases favor companies capable of integrating payment unobtrusively.

The Brave New World

Don’t hesitate to make a change if the end goal is to make the product better and easier to use. The shift from credit cards to mobile payment wasn’t the swiftest transition in history, but it happened. Take a look at Starbucks cards and their payment app. If you are an avid coffee drinker there’s little reason not to buy into it. Tech-savvy users aren’t afraid to make payments in different ways. Nevertheless, the processes only work if the company has something of value to reel the consumers in with.

There is no fear, there just needs to be a reason.

The Learning Curve

Man with iPhone

Customer education is one common criticism for companies integrating new technology into a campaign or overall structure. Not every customer will be a tech-savvy and technical person, so support is often appreciated. Look at the mobile banking industry for example. For years, mobile banking had been available, however, only 10% [according to ath Power Consulting] of users were advised to access their finances through their devices rather than visiting a brick-and-mortar bank.

A little helping hand at the start can ease your consumers into the mobile payment process. Studies have shown that the little extra steps early on payoff in customer loyalty.

The Universal Mobile Payment Method

Are we overloading consumers with payment options? Perhaps. But keep in mind, most services are exclusive to certain devices or individual accounts. Apple Pay users can only use Apple products to make transactions. PayPal merchants can only accept payments from PayPal users with the app.

If we are going to pick a universal mobile payment method we have to highlight CurrentC, developed by The Merchant Customer Exchange. Over 110,000 retailersincluding Best Buy and Walmart are already equipped with the POS hardware and connected to the network. In addition, the app will use tokenized data to complete transactions, instead of the traditional card data, albeit the service so far has been considered “clunky”. Mutually beneficial partnerships, and not coercion, will be the key to developing a successful universal mobile payment method.

We are a long ways away from crowning any payment method as the universal choice. At the moment it’s coming down to the customer’s priority and lifestyle, and that is how it should remain.

Cash and burn

Image via Thinkstock

Welcoming a world without cold hard cash

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. March 23, 2015

With the ubiquity of credit cards and mobile payment, fewer and fewer people are carrying cash with them on a daily basis. I barely ever carry cash around, just a couple of bills in case of an emergency—like if a hot dog stand doesn’t accept debit. Aside from that, I rely mostly on my cards and mobile device to pay for my purchases. If suddenly cash ceased to exist, I don’t believe it would affect me much.

In a way, I believe cash will inevitably become obsolete, the same way gold coins at a market can only get you odd looks. Cash, after all, costs money to make, which is a paradox worth some time pondering. In a 2014 poll conducted by Leger Marketing, 56 per cent of Canadians reported that they would be happy to never touch money again and only use digital wallets. If you are currently relying predominantly on cash, it’s a probably a good time to start implementing a more modern way of payment. After all, the new way is more organized, it’s more accessible, and it’s even cleaner.

Relying on another form of payment aside from cash is a reliable way of keeping track of funds. Payment and banking innovations have changed the way people handle money. Instead of having a roll of fat cash in your pocket or a stack of bills in your wallet, you’ll just have a number. No more miscounting or miscalculations. There will come a day when we will never have to fumble with change to tip our server or board the bus. It’ll simply be taken off your credit, tab, or account.

Security is a still a prime concern for those engaging in digital payment. In a cashless world, frauds, privacy infringements, and identity theft will be ever-present crimes. There is no reason to be afraid of such an incident as long as we are responsible. Muggings and robbery have been happening for ages, in every form of currency from coins to chickens. Crime is a natural part of the system, and the security infrastructure currently in place is as dependable as any infrastructure to protect a person’s valuables.

We are approaching the world without cash. Maybe it won’t happen this decade, but if trends are to continue we will be relying on the dollar bills less and less. We will be buying stuff with cards, tokens, codes, and whatever else our smartphone utilizes. Our money will always be in our control, but how we interact with it is changing. Social media is a now a payment transaction vehicle. I’m ready for it. It’s going to make spending easier, and for those who hate shopping, like me, I’m eager to get what I want without thumbing through my hard-earned money.