The rise of invisible payments
Ordering coffee, catching a ride, buying tunes — increasingly, we meet our needs in a few taps without ever seeing a payment transaction. Apple, Uber, and Starbucks are embedding commerce into lifestyle activities to create seamless experiences, and it’s just the beginning.
But, how will this trend influence customer behaviors and expectations?
Embedded payments will continue to expand, driving a considerable shift in consumer expectations. According to Beyond the Arc’s Nina Katz:
77% of smartphone shoppers are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps allow them to make purchases quickly.1
Apps and voice commands that make it effortless to pay for parking, prescriptions, and a wide range of products. That means more and more consumers will see a purchase as just an invisible thing that happens while they get things done.
Amazon introduced a novel approach at Amazon Go stores. Soon we’ll see more embedded payments at supermarkets, gas stations, and local stores.
This trend may be a wake-up call for many businesses to evolve their mobile app experience. To stay competitive, companies will need to offer digital capabilities that reflect today’s busy lifestyles, giving customers simpler, faster ways to meet their needs.
In our work with fintech clients, we’re seeing a prime example of this trend. Facebook, Google, and Amazon are emerging as dominant players in payments. What started with a few innovators is becoming part of a ‘digital playbook’ for business. Gavin James sees this on the horizon:
As consumers are getting used to handling payments through their tech favorites, they’re growing more comfortable with the idea of turning to them for other financial needs. As a result, these tech giants are positioned to win new customers away from banks. Studies show 65% of Amazon Prime customers would open an Amazon bank account, and 74% of adults 18-24 expect to get financial services from a tech firm in the next five years.2
Banks and credit unions will need to really up their game to offer simpler, more compelling mobile experiences. That means designing for how people really want to control their money, with easy access to relevant tools and support, all in one place.
Of course, there’s always a flipside to progress. Embedded commerce simplifies transactions, but it may worry consumers as well, notes Bruce Johnson.
59% of consumers are worried about their personal information when using mobile payments.3
Digital payments are the new normal. But they’re also causing wariness, especially among older customers, the ones who often have the most disposable income. Companies may need to make special efforts to convince people that their money and their data are safe.
Educational outreach isn’t just for consumers. Businesses worry about protecting their customer data. For a top 5 bank’s merchant services division, we created engaging videos and infographics to help companies understand top fraud threats and how to protect their business and customer payment data.
These communications have a practical impact, and also help strengthen relationships by showing the bank is watching out for their customers’ best interests.
Where else can we expect to see these types of effortless, integrated experiences? Christine Matteo envisions opportunities in healthcare:
With numerous apps to track your vitals (heart rate, etc.), people may expect more proactive, personalized health tips from their doctor or care provider. For example, ‘We noticed your stress level may be high; here are some ways to reduce it’ or ‘We see you haven’t been sleeping well the last week; here are some sleep tips’.
Whether it’s invisible payments or personalized support – the future of mobile experiences is about deepening engagement and being there for customers in real time. And in brick and mortar business, deploying new payment technologies will translate into more friction-free retail experiences.