Consumers to shape the future of payments
29 January 2018
The payments industry will change more in 2018 than perhaps any single year so far – not just in Europe, but around the world.
An expanding choice at checkout means instant feedback on what consumers really want, based on how they elect to pay. This will become very revealing for payment services providers who have been making (informed) assumptions for many years. The difference now is that we will experience a real push-pull effect when it comes to consumer demand. Brands and their technology partners need to be ready to act.
Co-innovation across the alternative and traditional payments space must meet the needs of all stakeholders, including consumers, regulators and merchants. The success of a merchant will become even more dependent on the success of its technology partners.
A changing landscape
We now live in an era of instant gratification and expect an immediate pay-off for our time and attention. Nowhere is this truer than in the world of retail – consumers want to be immersed in online and offline shopping experiences and to enjoy their purchases without disruption or delay at the checkout.
To meet this consumer expectation, the world of payments and payment authentication has boomed with investment and innovation. In the UK, for example, card and cashless payments have overtaken cash*, fuelled by the country’s thriving e-commerce scene and a growing consumer desire for convenience. In China, consumers have leapfrogged cards entirely, with millions making use of eWallets to pay both in shops and on retail websites.**
The advent of open banking – the result of the implementation of the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in Europe in January 2018 – will help usher in a new wave of innovation in the retail market, particularly when it comes to alternative payments – those that don’t depend on cash or card.
Alternative payments – from direct bank transfers to eWallets – have an even greater chance to transform the retail landscape. The point of payment is the critical moment of any transaction, and the most important way in which a paying customer interacts with a brand, organisation or service.
What are traditionally referred to as “alternative” payment options are becoming mainstream as they establish a new norm of greater convenience, security and choice.
This wider selection means consumers will become more influential as they “vote with their feet” and pick their payments preference at checkout. Innovation across the payments market has to enable brands to suit the customer above and beyond all else, while enhancing the user experience in ways that traditional cash and card payments cannot.
Looking to the future
More choice provides a wealth of opportunities for merchants that are happy to be different and try something new, built from the ground up to suit their genuine needs and customer preferences.
Some will stick with traditional cash or card, while others will opt for innovative new payments. Consumers will spend how they want and when they want and, eventually, they won’t have to pay for the privilege through transaction fees.
This choice means that if consumers don’t like a payment method – if it isn’t flexible, or easy to use, or doesn’t feel secure, or simply takes too long to process – they won’t use it. They will turn away and abandon transactions if the payment setup isn’t what they want to use, negatively affecting growth potential.
A new dawn for the payments industry
The era of “one-size-fits-no-one” payments is at an end.
The key to successful, dependable, innovative value-added payments is having people in place that know what they’re doing, are unafraid to listen, and that foster close relationships within the industry to deliver payments that help businesses grow.
This is something that Intrapay is committed to providing for all of our merchant customers. In doing so, we will help merchants meet consumer demand with secure payments processes that are seamless and easy to use, and offer genuine choice and innovation in how they pay for their goods and services – designed not for the sake of being new, but for the requirement of delivering the best value-added experience.
By Koen Vanpraet, Chief Executive Officer, Intrapay