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Navigating Digital Payments

A comprehensive analysis of key payment trends, viewed thorough the perspective of how they will shape customer experiences in the future.

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Staying ahead of the curve: navigating digital payments.

In this report, we share our vision of how payments will look in 2030. We explain the ongoing duality between the increasing complexity of the payment landscape and the ever-growing expectations of consumer expectations for simple and seamless payment experiences.

To bridge this gap, businesses will need to showcase great skill, ingenuity, innovation, and technical know-how. These trends will bring a changed world. Orders will be placed and paid for autonomously. New business models, digital currencies and traceability solutions will enable greener solutions. And the fight against fraud and counterfeit goods will enter new realms. These changes will be powered by AI-based hyperautomation and data-sharing, which will be enabled through privacy-preserving technologies to ensure security and trust.

This report explores the key topics where significant changes are expected in the medium term and where Worldline believes businesses need to start their preparations now. As the European leader in the field, understanding the complex payment landscape is Worldline’s day- to-day business and we are constantly discovering innovative ways to assit our clients in delivering the best possible experience to their customers.

We hope that you will enjoy reading this edition of Navigating Digital Payments.

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Reshaping customer experience by simplifying complexity

We believe that successfully delivering a great Pay-Xperience will increasingly depend on simplifying complexity: managing diversification, digitalisation and regulation, to provide trusted, seamless and unified payment experiences.

To help understand this interaction between simplicity and complexity in payments, we have identified three axes of duality.

We do not see these as a battle between good and bad. Diversification, accelerated digitalisation and regulation may add complexity, but they are all stimulating innovation, providing consumers and merchants with greater choice, and enabling new solutions and business models. The goal should not be to avoid or eliminate them, but rather to leverage them as springboards for driving simplicity in payment experiences.

Along each axes of duality, we have identified key topics where there will be changes and challenges.

We hope these insights will help you anticipate about how your business and market may evolve in the coming years, empower you to successfully deliver a great experience to your customers with a perfectly complementary built-in payment experience.

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A glimpse into the future

Will orders be placed and paid for autonomously? Will digital currencies become more widely accepted than cash? How will we travel, shop and socialise? By looking at how the trends identified in this report will interact and converge, we can imagine how payments will impact our world over the next decade.

Learn more about our vision for payments in 2030

Pay-Xperience is critical to customer experience

All businesses need to collect payment for the goods or services that they sell. Therefore, the experience they provide for accepting payments forms a key part of the overall customer experience they offer. We call this the Pay-Xperience (or PX). A slow, difficult or jarring PX will negatively impact the overall customer experience and can lead to a customer abandoning their purchase altogether. A fast, easy and frictionless PX will positively support the overall customer experience, leading to higher conversion rates, increased repeat business and improved customer perception. However, providing a natural PX is not straightforward. The challenges of a complex payment landscape have to be managed to provide simplicity at the point of use.

Learn more about the future of customer experience

Unification Taming Diversification

Never before have there been so many possibilities for how people can pay. The long-standing options of cash and cheque have been joined over the years by debit and credit cards, pre-paid cards, online bank transfers, direct debit and, more recently, digital currencies (with already over 100 digital currencies having a market capitalisation of over $1 billion ). The options for how these payment means can be triggered has also expanded. Physical cards, e-wallets, pay-by-link and QR-codes are just some of the different ways that users initiate payments today.

The number of companies offering payment related services has also grown. Once the preserve of a handful of highly regulated institutions, the financial sector now has many disruptive players, with the number of FinTechs worldwide continuing to grow and reaching over 25,000 this year. Many are applying new technologies to old problems and testing disruptive business models.

The scale of diversification is immense; the challenge is how to unify it.

Collaboration between the different members of the payments ecosystem will be key, and this will depend on interoperability.

Seamless Interactions Amidst Accelerated Digitalisation

The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated digitalisation (Worldline | The Payments World after COVID-19). In retail, we have seen shops with little or no online presence implement online commerce, including options like click-and-deliver, click-and-collect and live-stream-shopping. Banks have had to move entire call-centres into a home-based mode of operation.

Alongside this, technology has continued to advance. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used to automate tasks that previously would have required human intelligence, and it is now being applied at scale and to a wider range of use-cases (Worldline | Harnessing AI to achieve hyperautomation in payments). The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing to surge, enabling a vast array of new solutions.

The technological landscape is increasingly convoluted; the challenge is how to make the experience seamless for end-users.

With this trend towards seamless interactions, users will be able to switch channels so easily that they will no longer even notice it. An interaction via a chat-bot could switch seamlessly to a call with a live operator. A shopping cart could be started in a browser, added to via a mobile app, and completed in-store. A return and refund could be completed at the same time (and same place) as a new purchase.

Implicit Trust From Regulations

The changing regulatory landscape provides an insight into what governments are prioritising for the future as they seek to represent their citizens. We see that sustainability, protection, sovereignty and innovation are currently the key drivers for governments around the world.

Payments is a highly regulated industry. Of course, compliance with regulations is mandatory, but businesses that focus only on maintaining this compliance may be missing out on the opportunities that many regulatory changes create.

Understanding the details of the multiplicity of payment regulations is essential; the challenge is how users can implicitly trust every transaction. 

Trust underpins all transactions. It is conditional on all parties involved in the transaction having confidence that the outcome will match their expectations (or they will have some recourse to resolve any issues that do occur).

Consumers must be able to trust that when they purchase goods they will receive them; if half of the orders  they place are never delivered, they will most likely stop purchasing from that vendor, even if refunds are provided.

Merchants must trust that they will receive the money that consumers pay them; if too many transactions do not arrive or are for the wrong amounts and require manual intervention to resolve, then they will look for alternative ways to collect their income. Merchants also need to be able to trust that, for example, someone is above the legal age limit for buying certain goods (e.g. alcohol).

With accelerated digitalisation, more and more data is being collected about individuals and companies. Every transaction generates a huge number of data points. With this state of affairs, there is a need for trust  that the data will be stored securely and not misused.

People also want to know that claims about the provenance or sustainability of products and services they are offered are factually correct.

Would you like to explore with Worldline how innovations could transform your business?

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