The COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged the development of all digital technologies, with so many of our daily activities having moved online. Consequently, payment technologies and systems have also seen a lot of innovation. This period has given shape to many new payment options and fresh concepts. At the same time, it has made pre- existing technologies popular, and seen their usage become more widespread in a short period of time.
Here are the top 6 payment technology trends we’ve seen in 2021.
1. Payment through Embedded Fintech
Today, many companies are trying to incorporate as many payment options as possible into their online shopping platforms. This is more convenient for the customer, and helps business to achieve more sales and service providers to make revenue. Different payment methods such as credit cards, reward cards, and many other options can be added to a online shopping platform.
This lets the customer use the channel to buy something and instantly make their payment, without having to go somewhere else to pay. For instance, Amazon has added customers’ reward-based payment cards to the site, so that customers can use the ‘pay with points’ option directly without any extra effort.
2. Contactless Card Payment
The COVID-19 pandemic has also seen more people than ever using tap-to-pay credit cards. This is not a new idea – these cards have been in existence for some time, but the demand for contactless payments has increased greatly in 2021.
A contactless credit card reader senses the contactless card with its proximity using radio wave technology, so there is no need to swipe the card through the machine. There is a chip incorporated into the credit card which gives off radio waves. This is detected by the contactless card reader, thanks to its RFID detection capability.
3. Omnichannel Payments
Omnichannel is a new word that became popular during 2021. The concept gives customers the choice to pay using one of many channels. They can pay using their mobile, laptop, or any other device, from any location and at any time. Businesses have made things easier for customers and opened all possible payment methods to improve customer service and encourage sales. Omnichannel is not only for payments – customers can also view products and choose whatever they want on the same platform.
4. Virtual Credit/Debit Cards
Another trending payment method in 2021 is the virtual debit/credit card. This is just like a physical card, except that it is fully digital and is stored in a digital wallet on your smartphone. These are typically issued by virtual banks that allow you to do all transactions and business online.
This means that you don’t have a physical card, but with the help of your smartphone you can use your virtual one to pay at contactless payment points, card readers, online purchases, and even withdraw money from the ATM. A virtual card is also safe,as you can lock it on your mobile phone when you’re not using it to keep it secure and safe from hackers. You can also link your virtual card to payment wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay.
5. Ultrasound-Based Authentication
This year saw another breakthrough in the contactless payments sector – LISNR. This is a tech startup backed by Visa that makes use of ultrasonic authentication of payments. This is much betterthan the usual QR code scanning or NFC methods, in that it gives you the freedom to authenticate payments from a longer distance, while QR code scanning requires your scanning device to be within a few inches of the code. The ultrasonic method is simple, cost-effective, and uses regular speakers and microphones.
6. Crypto Payments
Another payment trend during the year that is fast gaining ground, is using cryptocurrencies to pay for products and services. Many hotels, resorts, tech companies, and online shopping platforms allow you to use cryptocurrency to pay for your purchases. Microsoft is one of the famous brands that now accepts cryptocurrency payments. Big names like Amazon and Starbucks also accept cryptocurrency, albeit indirectly. You can purchase Amazon vouchers using your crypto at Bitrefill, a crypto-based company. You can then use them to shop at Amazon and Starbucks has a similar system.
Some of the concepts discussed above are new, such as ultrasonic authentication, and some others have been in existence for some time but have recently become more popular due to the COVID pandemic. The pandemic has provided a boost to all technologies that are contactless or digital counterparts of physical facilities.
Some technologies still have a lot of potential for growth, such as cryptocurrency payments, but their adoption by popular brands have been slow so far due to regulatory issues. However, crypto has made P2P transactions and global payments cheaper and faster. The developments in the digital payments sector aretaking place at a fast pace, and we are sure to see yet more innovations and improvements on existing concepts and technologies.