The payments ecosystem continues to evolve at a rapid pace. ISVs that integrate payments with their applications or who develop software for the payments space need to keep a close eye on emerging trends so you can invest your time and resources wisely. Here are seven predictions about the direction payments will take in 2019:
1. Contactless overtakes EMV chip card payments
Consumers place a high value on their time, so when they have the ability to speed up a payment transaction and make the checkout process go faster, they’ll take it. And just waving a card over a terminal to pay is pretty fast. EMV chip cards can communicate with contactless card readers, and most of the EMV payment terminals that merchants are using can accept contactless payments — but they just haven’t enabled the technology yet. As U.S. consumers realize how easy it is to just wave or tap their card on the terminal, they’ll follow what consumers in UK, Brazil, Australia, and Canada have already done, and they’re going to demand this convenience.
2. Customers get comfortable with paying with their smartphones
Mobile wallet use was slow at first, but it’s building speed. And more proprietary apps, like the popular Starbucks app, are allowing consumers to pay directly from them. Consumers looking for quick and easy ways to pay — and who always have their smartphones in their hands — will love the convenience of a quick scan from an app to pay.
3. Your partnerships will expand or change
The payments industry has seen a record number of mergers and acquisitions in 2018. Driven by consumer preferences for contactless payment and e-commerce, payments companies are positioning themselves for a digital, less-paper-currency world. Deloitte reports that 2019 will bring continued collaboration between incumbent payment companies, banks, and FinTech firms. The changing landscape could impact your partnerships, introduce new players into the payments ecosystem, or necessitate finding new partners to provide your clients with the payment features they need.
4. Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment applications grow in popularity.
More consumers will discover the convenience of P2P apps for transactions that previously weren’t digital — like splitting the check at a restaurant with friends, paying rent, or sending money to a college student. PayPal is still the leader in this space, offering the P2P app Venmo, but other apps like Square’s Cash App and Zelle are growing in popularity.
5. Gen Z consumers begin to make their mark.
Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. and a formidable consumer force. For some time, merchants have been focused on providing the types of customer experiences these consumers want. In 2019, however, your focus must shift to up-and-coming Gen Z. Born between about 1995 and 2010, members of Gen Z are the first, true digital natives and the oldest are graduating from college, going to work, and building spending power. Accenture reports that by 2020, they’ll make up 40 percent of all U.S. consumers. They’ve lived their entire lives on mobile devices and the internet, and they will demand fast, seamless, convenient payment experiences.
6. Okay, voice-enabled payment app, pay my bill.
In 2019, more people will pay for purchases by talking to a voice assistant. Artificial intelligence (AI)-driven voice assistants are popular among younger consumers, with 75% of people 18-34 using them. Research shows that more than one-third of Gen Z and nearly 405 of millennials are interested in using voice assistants to make payments.
Your customers may be ready to invest in technology that integrates voice direction with payment capabilities to be ready to respond to this growing trend.
7. Consumers finally make peace with credit cards.
Credit cards have had to overcome a bum rap for being the cause of uncontrolled spending and massive debt. But consumers, even those who shied away from credit cards in the past, are finding they’re a convenient way to make everyday purchases, they’re a fast, secure way to make purchases online (without putting a bank account in jeopardy), and using them and paying them off help build a good credit score — and, often, rewards points. In 2019, we’ll move a little closer to a cashless society.
If you’ve concluded that the payments landscape is changing faster than ever before, you’re right. Technology advancements and disruption are happening at a faster pace, consumers are embracing faster, easier, more convenient ways of doing things, and businesses in the payments ecosystem are merging or expanding their offerings to stay competitive.
This is one area you want to keep a close watch on as you develop solutions for this space, integrate payments with your applications, and enter into new partnerships with payments companies. Uninformed decisions could put your business at a disadvantage — but positioning yourself on the cutting edge can mean great success. Be ready for what’s in store in 2019.