The Autonomous Payments industry is now fron and centre | Blog
14 / 06 / 2022
Are robots and artificial intelligence (AI) really about to take our jobs? While it’s not quite so simple as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, it is certainly the case that the current development of automation should be seen, first and foremost, as an advantage. Automation is applied and used across many industries and now encompasses a wide array of technologies and systems that no longer require human intervention, particularly for simple and/or repetitive tasks. This can help improve the user experience.
In contrast to other sectors, the payments world is already highly automated, as technologies and devices such as payment terminals, cash machines, smartphones and contactless cards are already well established and much used. And although these payment methods are triggered and authorised by humans, in the coming years, machines will increasingly carry the trigger.
There are four levels of automation, each with specific important differentiation, ranging from Level 0 to Level 3.
Level 0 (Informational) is where a device can access a bank account to obtain information or data, but there is no transaction process. For example, this includes configuring your smart speaker at home to access your bank account through a voice recognition service, which is useful if you wish to request a balance or know an amount being paid into your account.
At Level 1 (Permissioned) a device must request and receive consent from the user, and authentication must be ensured before payment is triggered. You may, for instance, arrive at a fuel station, and forecourt cameras identify your vehicle registration, send a phone or watch a request to authorise a payment.
Level 2 (Conditional) involves a payment being made automatically without asking for the user's consent, using pre-defined rules set out by the user to trigger the payment. One example may include a smart printer which, once it’s run out of ink, will automatically place an order for a replacement cartridge, arrange for delivery and trigger an online payment for the purchase.
Finally, Level 3 (Fully Autonomous) enacts a payment automatically through a combination of pre-defined rules seen within Level 2 and sophisticated AI algorithms. One example is a connected fridge, which detects when supplies of a certain item are running low.
The differentiating factor between Level 2 and Level 3 is that the latter can be done on a different budget, potentially taking into account the various preferences or needs of each family member and/or their dietary requirements. Upon ordering the items, the fridge can tap into the family’s digital calendar to book a convenient delivery time.
The shift toward autonomous payments has been driven by the widescale acceptance of cards and mobile wallet payments and consumer expectations for frictionless user journeys and advanced digital payments solutions. This, in turn, has enabled retailers to streamline their business operations from payments to delivery. Now, thanks to the pandemic tailwind driving consumers and retailers to seek autonomous experiences in every retail setting, the line between unattended and traditional retail is beginning to blur.
As the world moves from person-to-person engagement towards a more unattended experience, we are seeing greater flexibility around purchasing, as societal needs drive expectations for a new retailer/purchaser experience that focuses on greater efficiency and faster transaction speeds. This flexibility and autonomy leads to increased new business, repeat custom and long-term brand loyalty.
And at the centre of this new experience is the mobile device and wearable technology, which will continue further to drive consumer power in the future.
About the authors
Leila Van-Herbert - Senior Key Account Manager Global Accounts, Worldline
Leila is a passionate payments expert and leader with over ten years of experience in the payments industry having worked across multiple verticals and payments geographies. Working with a customer centric approach, Leila is able to distil complex payments requirements and drive specific customer led outcomes to simplify the payments journey and enhance the customer experience through a consultative sales approach.
By delivering dedicated and structured account and relationship management, Leila is able to build strong client engagement, drive innovative solutions and leverage data-based decision making to deliver clear revenue outcomes both at an individual and team level.
Frederic Frizzarin - Head of Pre-Sales, Worldline
Frederic is Head of Pre-Sales Northern Europe, at Worldline. He has over 20 years’ experience in the IT and Telecoms industry and prior to Worldline’s acquisition, spent over 10 years working in payments at Ingenico. Frederic originally started as a Solutions Manager, before moving into a Pre-Sales Manager role, and more recently Head of Pre-Sales.
He is adept at leading and managing complex solution sales within Tier 1 & Tier 2 UK Retail markets and is responsible for identifying needs, developing appropriate solutions, defining value strategies, preparing proposals, and managing bid responses.