A look at the way we pay: are payments becoming boring?

Think back to the last time you purchased something. Have you ever purchased an item simply because you want to process the transaction? No? Didn’t think so.

Making payments is a mundane process in everyone’s lives. Whether you hand over your credit card, contactless card, tablet or cash, the payments process has a very neutral impact on the consumer.

“I don’t think anyone has ever bought anything for the joy of just paying for it,” said David Cabreza, Director of International Distribution for Hilton Worldwide, at the Vendercom Conference on December 2.

Payments are attempting to get closer to the consumer, allowing easier methods of transactions, such as paying with a tablet that may already be in your hand, or with a contactless card, to show the ease of the payment that consumers can rely on.

Speaking at the Vendercom Conference, Jonathan Vaux, executive director for innovation and partnerships at Visa Payments, says that although “payments should empower the consumer,” and that brands and large tech companies are focusing on the payment, “the focus should be on the end to end consumer experience”.  

Selfie payments were recently introduced, allowing consumers to process payments with a single picture, and demonstrating how technology is becoming deeply embedded in everyday life. Payment methods infused with technological advances are becoming easier for the consumer, shifting over the dependency from the retailer. This requires little to no personal interaction in most cases.  Payments are now processed faster than ever, and consumers are beginning to rely on these advances and depend on platforms they are familiar with.

“Consumers will experience technology as the entry point with the brand or client,” Vaux added at the conference.

As the market shifts towards a technological platform which enables fuss-free and swift payments, consumers’ expectations are also growing. The more advances there are within payments, the more we get used to it and become less tolerant of the slower, or more inconvenient methods.

With more than 42 million smartphones in the UK today, where does that leave the payments industry in terms of growth? New payment terminals, digital platforms and banking apps are being created to keep up with the growing demand, and consumers will see  a greater shift in creating payments that are not only easy, but innovative and exciting.

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