I recently went out to eat at a local beachside restaurant, and at the end of the meal, the bill was delivered with a QR code on it. By scanning that QR code, I was able to pay, tip and leave any notes I wanted. A small beachside establishment offering this type of seamless payment process is no longer a surprise. Countless small businesses have adapted to provide digital options, altering their processes to increase convenience and safety for both the business and the consumer. Never before have there been so many ways to get to, and make, a payment; we have the pandemic to thank for that. I believe that the idea and spirit embodied by the “many ways to make a payment” ecosystem will carry on.
Through any combination of QR code, mobile app, in-person, contactless, curbside, phone call, web browser and more, consumers grew accustomed to payment options that afforded flexibility for their personal tastes and safety concerns when it came to activities such as food delivery, take-out, online grocery shopping, etc. Many consumers report that they plan to continue these digital shopping habits post-pandemic, making the desire for increased payment options and processes a permanent shift.
The implications for payment providers are two-fold. First, payment companies must work to make sure they are included in these ecosystems — through forging partnerships, embedding in digital wallets or other investing in other technologies. Partnerships will take on increasing importance where payments can be part of the solution in delivering strong value propositions to consumers. Looking back to the personal example above, I paid my restaurant bill with my Elan credit card via Apple Pay. I choose this payment method often because of the convenience, and the fact that the process to provision my credit card is seamless. This was made possible due to partnerships between payment providers. Though perhaps not obvious to the everyday consumer, as payments professionals, we are aware of how important these partnerships are to the customer experience.
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