NCR is currently hosting its 2017 Payments User Group, where delegates on the first day heard from industry futurist Andrew Vorster on his view of trends in the market. The NCR team also discussed plans for the development of the Authentic transaction processing engine and Fractals fraud detection product. The second day is dedicated to customers providing feedback and helping to influence the direction of the products.
Meeting consumer needs
Of most interest to readers of this blog are industry developments that will cause changes to the world of payments. A key trend highlighted in the presentations is that payments are coming into the consumer’s world. We have discussed this before in these blogs, where the payment is not a standalone element, but integrated into the process of servicing the customer. Burger King have taken that a stage further, with the ability for PlayStation gamers to address hunger pangs by ordering home delivery of food and drink from fellow gamers who are actually Burger King staff, during the game. Perhaps an extreme example of taking the purchase process to the customer!
Internet of Things (IoT) of course came up as a topic. The need to service large numbers of devices that could be driving transactions, including payments, is a theme we have written about before. We heard about the Jaguar link with Shell and PayPal that allows users to pay for fuel directly from the in-car systems at Shell petrol stations. But Bentley in the US have taken that one stage further, with the car predicting when a fuel top-up is needed and ordering fuel. The fuel is delivered by Filld, an app-based delivery service, wherever the car is located. Again, using the IoT enables Filld to work out where the car is located, unlock the petrol cap and collect payment.
The value of contextualization
Where things can become really helpful to customers is contextual payments. This requires understanding the customer context and knowing what the consumer or business customer regularly purchases to make that easier for them. That links through to authorization and fraud detection and using the context to ensure the customer has an easy process in making the regular purchase.
Some companies are taking that a stage further and changing buying behavior using context information. One shoe shop in Guatemala used tracking in their mobile app to trigger discounts when a consumer entered a competitor store near one of their locations, but the discount reduced the longer they took to respond – triggering an interesting response with customers running to their store to keep a high discount. Financial institutions have large amounts of data about customers that should be utilized to enable better customer service.
However, making use of that information requires collaboration across an ecosystem with fintechs and retailers. Which is where APIs become so important in enabling information to be shared and used. While banks hold the data, it is probably the fintechs who will have the ideas on how to make use of the learnings from that data. AI technologies can quickly find information from data and trigger apps to provide information, offers or services to consumers relevant to their current location and activity.
The future of the branch and ATM?
Perhaps the most interesting discussion was around the future of the branch. Andrew Vorster challenged banks in the room by pointing out they are overlooking their real bank in a box – the ATM. With the rich capabilities of self-service on these devices, they can replace the physical branch and provide a physical presence with a much lower cost and footprint than a full branch. And with the ability to integrate a video teller service into the device it can still provide human interaction when needed. Of course that leads to the need to integrate the siloed services that exist in many bank IT environments as you are crossing over between the teller and ATM services. Which leads to the need for omni-channel processing that we have written about before.
The payments world is fascinating at the moment, with so many opportunities to improve service and grow the business. Are you ready to take advantage of them?