Two big trends shaking up retail payments

In the hyper competitive payments market, advances in voice technology and a rapid rise in contactless (tap-to-pay) cards represent profitable options for banking providers looking to differentiate and grow.

Anyone who’s ever struggled to lay their hands on cash or a card while sitting behind the wheel of a car at a McDonald’s drive-up window will appreciate this: In Brazil, drive-up customers can simply say: “I’m paying with Sem Parar,” when they finish ordering. “Sem Parar” (it means “nonstop” in Portuguese) is the Brazilian electronic toll-pass system. McDonalds partnered with payment systems vendor Fleetcor to use the toll-pass system as the means for consumers to pay by voice.

Voice pay is just one of two transformative developments rolling through the payments world. The other trend that’s opening big potential opportunities for retail banking providers is the suddenly awakened U.S. contactless card market. The contactless trend is happening now, while voice pay is a little further down the road. But both are important for the development of the retail payments business.

Voice Pay: Can You Hear Me Now?

If you had any doubts as to whether smart speakers such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are a passing fad, new data from NPR and Edison Research should sweep them away. The organizations revealed that the number of smart speakers in U.S. households grew by 78% to 118.5 million devices in one year — from December 2017 to December 2018. Of the 14 million U.S. consumers who bought one during the 2018 holiday season, just over half were adding the device to one or more existing smart speakers.

 

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