Filed Under: Payment systems, Retail

Payments are boring (not to me, obviously)

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The horrible truth is that payments are boring, so they are going to go away.

At Payments Innovation 2014, Forum friend Roy Vella just said that I am the only person in the world who wakes up looking forward to making a payment. Well, I guess I have to admit it. Not everyone in the world thinks that payments are fun. In fact, to a first approximation and rounding to one significant figure, no-one does. That’s why a mobile, digital, electronic or any other sort of wallet that is only about payments gets no traction.

I saw Jed speaking on this topic earlier in year (and I made a podcast with him too) and he said, when asked about QR codes and NFC and Bluetooth in a question-and-answer session following a terrific presentation, that it doesn’t really matter how the phone is associated with the retailer through the point-of-sale (or, as we would put it, the consumer is “recognised”) the experience is the same, what’s important is that it’s a great experience. The person who can optimise for a great experience in any particular retailer is the retailer themselves.

Earlier this week I wrote about how electronic receipts might be part of that great experience but there are, of course, all sorts of other elements to that experience. This makes me really interested to look at what retailers are doing with their wallets, since there may be opportunities for some of our clients to provide services to help them deliver something above and beyond.

We are developing a digital wallet, focusing on marketing and loyalty aspects, but payment may not enter the wallet. We have a payment system in place already and we don’t want to disrupt it if it doesn’t add any value

[From Tesco: NFC payments are too complex and offer too few benefits • NFC World]

A wallet that has no payments in it isn’t terribly useful. So, as must be obvious, it is important to develop payment systems and interfaces that fit into wallets. This is a paradigm shift: instead of designing a payment system for the consumer, we have to design one for an app. That means the selling points aren’t nice adverts and pictures on cards but APIs and reliability and scalability and developer programmes and test harnesses and all that other stuff.

[Tesco is] reported to be trialling a wallet that sits inside its current app. This will enable users to add any payment card and then scan items as they journey round the store – and pay at the end. The new feature will sit alongside other features of the app, like Click & Collect, in-store maps and Clubcard coupons.

[From Tesco to add digital wallet to its smartphone app | Mobile Money Revolution]

Once again we see how payments can contribute to a great experience by, essentially, going away.

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