The days of clunky credit card processing may soon be over, thanks to innovation in payments tech that’s eliminated much of the friction from the end-user experience.
History tell us that fingerprints may have been used thousands of years ago to mark an identity — with evidence pointing to Babylonian business transactions being made using fingerprints on clay tablets. Perhaps the concept of biometrics and mobile payments are simply an extension of a longstanding trend?
Still, technical advancements in the past decade alone has drastically transformed the world of payments, defined the concept of a digital identity and revolutionized the way people and businesses think about the use cases for a simple fingerprint. Biometrics, of course, in the world of credit card processing, does not stop at fingerprints. Another leading trend that’s starting to gain traction is using a person’s iris and facial recognition tech to verify an identity.
Sure, that may seem a bit futuristic to some, but with rapidly-growing threats infiltrating the payments ecosystem, biometrics, mobile payments, chips, sensors and enhanced software are methods to break down the barriers of credit card processing. Instead of relying on a payments system that’s been heavily run by physical card-based payments, the best way to make credit cards safe again is to think about how you can secure those credentials through a digital identity.
The World of Biometrics, Digital Identities and Credit Card Processing
Credit cards aren’t going away anytime soon, therefore every business needs to think smart about the types of technologies they are using to power their credit card processing. What was a futuristic concept in the past has come to fruition with more opportunities than ever in this marketplace to disrupt how business is conducted between companies and customers.
With payments being integrated into virtually everything in people’s lives — wearables, refrigerators, personal assistance devices, virtual kiosks at stores, and more — it’s clear that the future of payments and credit card processing is all about the invisible payment experience. Although at the heart of that payment still involves credit card processing, the nuance of swiping, dipping or tapping a card may soon be a thing of the past.
It wasn’t long ago that the idea of a self-service checkout was a novel concept. Today, companies like Amazon are taking that a step further and allowing the in-store checkout process to be done with smart sensors — eliminating the need for human interaction, or needing to think about payments at all. Of course, there’s still a need for credit card payment processing, since that transaction is still pulling from a customer’s account, but on the end-user side of the equation, the payment thought process has been eliminated.
The concept of the invisible payment experience has also been leveraged by companies like Uber and Lyft that make paying for a ride done via a fingerprint or one-click verification process. Although there is a credit card processing aspect to that interaction, by eliminating the friction of the payment process, it encourages a customer to engage quicker with a service – likely making them want to repeat that process again and again.
Or, take the concept of mobile order ahead features that places like Starbucks and Dunkin’ have integrated into their apps. Again, this experience is powered by a credit card processing service, but done in a way that creates a friction-free payments experience all within an app — and verified with a fingerprint. Based on the success of these types of services, these kind of interactions are going to quickly become the status quo.
In all of these cases the common thread that’s made them grow in popularity is the focus on the customer relationship to deliver a better product/service. By creating an experience around the engagement, instead of the transaction itself, companies are finding new, innovative ways to power credit card processing without any unnecessary friction.
Consumers are increasingly turning toward digital experiences, which is how they expect businesses to interact with them. Empowering your customers with a better credit card processing experience means eliminating the thought process for the end-user. That’s why businesses today need to think more about selling experiences, and less about how to sell products and services. From there, the customer relationship will fall into place.
Anna Lothson is a content contributor for Payline Data. She previously wrote for PYMNTS.com, as a Sr. Content Producer, where she focused on financial services and payments innovation, fraud and security, emerging payments, and FinTech news, research and thought-leadership content across the payments industry.