In payments, massive change is the new normal – and huge opportunity

In payments
Image credit | Sergey Nivens

When it comes to payments, we knew that the change towards contactless and mobile payments was accelerating hugely. Now this is official, according to a large-scale survey by Visa which shows the change is most significant among small businesses (as well as consumers).

According to the global survey, conducted across eight regions, including Singapore and Hong Kong, nearly 80% of respondents say they have changed their expectations of how they pay and now expect the least possible contact.

Businesses are also changing and finding ways to make their businesses safe (which basically means minimal contact) and that is where they are innovating and transforming their business models.

Moving to digital payments is now not a ‘nice to have’ but a priority.

‘In each market Visa surveyed contactless payments are a driving differentiator. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of consumers would switch to a new business that installed contactless payment options. For close to half of global consumers (46%), using contactless payment methods is among the most important safety measures for stores to follow. Nearly half (48%) would not shop at a store that only offers payment methods that require contact with a cashier or a shared device.’

Payments always was a major battleground. It is at the centre of everything that business is about – obviously – and therefore an arena that is a target for banks, other financial institutions, telcos and device manufacturers alike.

We have said before that payments is a major opportunity for telcos, because in payments trust is a major differentiator. And in a world where security, as well as safety, is a major differentiator, telcos control the gateway.

Privacy is also a major factor in business now. Again, telcos are in a great position to take advantage of their ability to control what happens to data. As Glenn Lurie, CEO of Synchronoss says in an interview with Mobile World Live “smartphones have increasingly become the hub of people’s lives, most of the data contained on them has been entrusted to operators.”

Payments, in some respects a microcosm of how our world is changing at the moment, is showing just how far and how fast that change will be. And this means that in it lie huge opportunities.

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