People and businesses are embracing new ways to pay for goods and services. Never before has there been a time when their need for flexibility and speed of service coalesces so neatly with rapid innovation in payments technologies. Chris Davies, managing director, Global Payments, and EPI editorial advisory board member, writes
For example an increase in contactless cards usage has also led to additional growth in both credit and debit card volumes. Consequently, average card transaction values fell by £1.40 ($2) in a year as consumers have used cards more frequently for lower value payments. Contactless spending increased significantly from £287m per month in January 2015 to £567m in June 2015, according to data from The UK Cards Association. And with the contactless spending limit having increased from £20 to £30 in September 2015, additional growth in this area is expected in 2016.
Card terminals accept contactless payments via Near-Field-Communication (NFC) technology. The same technology is used to accept mobile payments, a method which has become increasingly popular since the introduction of Apple Pay in the middle of 2015. As more and more individuals upgrade their iPhones this method is likely to gain traction. Other smartphone providers, such as Samsung and Sony, are currently developing and launching their own payment apps which will further increase the number of customers wanting to pay with their smartphones.
The adoption of new payment technologies is quickly gaining widespread acceptance as customer and merchant’s awareness develops further – a trend that is likely to accelerate in 2016. This is especially the case for young people as more than a third (34%) of those aged between 18 and 34 are interested in using mobile payments, compared with 20% of 55-75 year-olds, according to Deloitte.
With globalisation driving growth among international visitors spending more time and money in the UK, this opens up enormous opportunities to market products to a much bigger international customer base. A key development in this area is the technological innovation enabling merchants to accept international cards.
International visitors can now also pay in their domestic currency. Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) allows customers to see on the payment terminal how much they will be charged in their home currency – instead of having to spend time thinking about conversion rates. Tax free shopping also allows them to identify tax amounts for rebate directly at the terminal. This is likely to positively impact retailers in 2016.
Due to advancements in technology, merchants will in future be able to use terminals for more than just the processing of payments. For example, Global Payments has started offering truRating, a rating system that gives customers a chance to have a say when they pay.
Customers like to have their say and are willing to share their views. However, many end up not doing so, as traditional methods such as customer surveys, polls or internet reviews are time consuming or cannot be completed anonymously.
When using truRating every customer paying by card is asked one question which is rotated from a fixed set of customised questions, to rate the service, experience or product on a scale from 0 to 9 (terrible to great). The rating is anonymous and given by the customer. This feedback can be accessed by the retailer the next day and can then be acted upon to make sure the outlet provides the best possible service and experience.
The payments industry is experiencing a period of fundamental upheaval as factors such as changing customer habits; technological innovation and regulation combine to create new challenges and opportunities. With a global economic recovery providing further impetus to this, merchants and payments companies positioned to make the most out of these powerful forces are the ones most likely to prosper in 2016.