There’s no mistaking it — cash is on its way out. Some people don’t even carry cards and rely on Bluetooth-enabled payment programs such as using a smartwatch for the transaction. Whatever your preferred method may be, you’re probably no longer using cash for most transactions, especially large purchases.  

While transaction security continues to improve, safety is still a concern for many. Consumers want a fast, easy, and secure method to make purchases and pay for services. In order to do so, organizations are continually looking to implement the best technologies and security practices to keep up and enhance customer service, reduce fees, and offer efficient transactions. 

In a fast-paced world driven by digital solutions, an organization needs to offer the right suite of payment methods to meet customer demands and needs. This includes implementing mobile wallet payments, automatic checkouts, accepting cryptocurrencies, NFC, and more. Your customers’ time is valuable — making their shopping experiences with your business leave a long-lasting impression can help you secure a customer for life. 

How Automatic Checkout Empowers Customers

Long lines can be a turnoff to consumers, which is why many retailers began implementing mobile solutions in their stores. These solutions include mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging. Not only that, but kiosks or handheld mobile systems that allow customers to checkout helps keep lines short and most importantly, people happy. While this is becoming more common, other organizations have already moved on to even more elaborate payment technology. 

Giant Eagle is just one example of a retailer enabling automatic checkout with their mobile app, Scan Pay & Go. It enables in-store shoppers to scan the barcode of a product, put their items in the cart, keep track of how much they’re spending, pay within the app, and walk out. No need to wait and stand in line. Amazon Go is another example of this technology. Amazon’s use of geofencing, deep learning algorithms, computer vision, and sensor fusion automate many of the processes associated with the retail transactions are being processed in stores. 

Not only is technology changing the way we shop and pay for items, but also how we receive them. Amazon allows you to reroute your package to places other than your home, including pickup locker locations such as the grocery stores you may already be shopping in. This is just another way to empower the consumer and give them full autonomy of their shopping experience. 

The Use of RFID, BLE, and NFC Payments

Breaking down the variances in technologies that are enabling automation for checkouts and advanced payment solutions, we turn to RFID, BLE, and NFC payments. Radio-frequency identification (RFID), Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and Near Field Communication (NFC) all use radio frequencies to monitor objects, read, and collect data. Their greatest variances fall on the read-distances between them. NFC is used for “tap and pay” technology — such as what you may use when checking out at a cash register. RFID reads at a further distance, and BLE — the more energy-efficient version of RFID — even further.

You will find RFID, NFC, and BLE beacons being used for payments in several ways. RFID wristbands can be worn at events such as festivals, on cruise, theme parks, or used to pay for items using preloaded cash amounts. NFC and BLE beacons enable easy, contactless payments for items from a mobile device. 

The Rise of Mobile Wallets

The rise of mobile wallets enables us to store credit and debit information to be used to pay for goods and services. These apps, that are stored on mobile devices, include wallets such as Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay. Banks and individual merchants may also have mobile wallets to enhance customer experiences. 

These types of technologies are increasing in popularity because they provide not only convenience but also security. If the information is encrypted and involves multi-level security, including fingerprint or passcode identification. The convenience in wanting access to your credit and debit cards without having to worry about physically losing them is another reason we may see this next wave of technology take over.

Introducing Biometric Payments

Biometric authentication is another form of identification and access control. This technology has been implemented in not only smartphones but also finger-scanning devices that are used in-store at POS. Apple kicked off the consumer biometrics  trend when they introduced Touch ID. Face ID has been the latest use of this technology with other patents currently registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office — such as a wrist sensor for the band or body of the Apple Watch that would immediately identify the wearer without another form of authentication.

As consumers are looking for more secure methods of payments, biometrics are filling the gaps with the use of the above technologies. In addition to these payment methods being appealing to consumers, banks are beginning to explore the option of using fingerprint authentication over the pin in the future. 

Embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and Voice-Driven Purchases

You can order food and drinks from your table at a restaurant with an app or tablet, and also, pay bills in the unlikeliest of places — like the dashboard of your car. The possibilities are endless and are only gaining momentum.

If the last thing you thought your voice assistant could help you with was bill payment, it’s here. Whether you are looking to pay back a friend for dinner, pay your electric bill, or order pizza, it is all possible through voice-driven payment. Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are already owning this space with Samsung jumping in. 

How River Capital Finance Can Help Get You There

With payment technology changing at a rapid pace, you may feel overwhelmed trying to keep up. When you work with River Capital, our team can help you get started with Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) so you can always stay up to date on the latest technology. To learn more about HaaS and if it’s the right fit for your organization, fill out the form below. We’ll be happy to talk with you about what the best solutions are for your needs.