Could payments innovation revolutionize how we travel?

The speed, convenience and security with which people are able to pay for things is playing an increasingly important part in their lives.

Payments technology is evolving, and consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to making secure, seamless transactions in real time. Financial institutions need to meet these expectations in order to stay competitive.

One particular area of life that could be transformed by ongoing innovation in the payments space is travel.

Reducing stress and raising convenience

As anyone who has ever embarked on a particularly long journey or been stuck in traffic when in a rush to get somewhere will know, travelling can be one of the most stressful and irritating of life’s common experiences.

According to a poll of 2,000 UK consumers by Nurofen Express, reported by the Independent, 12 of the 50 most annoying things in modern life are related to travel and transport. Being stuck in traffic, train fares and not having enough change for the car park all featured on the list.

Is it possible that the development of new payment options could help to alleviate these irritations?

Visa certainly believes so, having recently launched the Transportation Center of Excellence, the aim of which is to offer consumers “a better experience for any mode of travel, whether by air, rail or car”. The company plans to engage directly with airlines, transit operators, car manufacturers, parking operators, fuel providers and other organizations to support the integration of new payment technologies into all kinds of journeys.

Specific examples of new transaction methods that can boost convenience and save time for travelers include in-car computer systems that facilitate payments for fuel, food and even ‘insurance by the mile’. This could tap into the trend of growth in connected cars.

Visa is also looking into innovations to reduce the inconvenience of finding and paying for parking, as well as new approaches to journey planning, ticketing and in-flight experiences in air travel.

Bill Gajda, senior vice-president of innovation and strategic partnerships at the company, pointed out that today’s consumers “simply want to get to their next destination quickly and easily”, regardless of how or where they are travelling.

“Unfortunately, purchasing tickets, paying for parking or filling up the car is often inconvenient, involving long lines, complicated ticketing machines and outdated transit systems,” he continued.

“The Transportation Center of Excellence examines how new technologies can transform the consumer experience by using digital credentials to make it easier for travel and transportation providers to seamlessly integrate payments into the customer journey.”

The contactless success story

The explosion of contactless payments in certain key markets is a prime example of how consumers are willing to embrace new transaction technologies that provide clear and practical benefits in day-to-day life.

Transport for London announced in July 2017 that the number of journeys made by contactless payment on the UK capital’s transport network had passed the one billion mark. Looking beyond travel, recent figures from Worldpay showed that the use of mobile contactless payments for in-store purchases had “passed a tipping point” in the UK.

While the UK is one of the strongest examples of the success of contactless payments – and how readily consumers will adopt new transaction technologies that maximize convenience – there are many other markets where innovation in the payments space is having a huge impact.

In China, for example, mobile payments increased to a record high in the ten months to October last year.

As the payments industry continues to evolve and customers place greater expectations on their service providers, travel and transportation will be one of the most exciting spaces to track cutting-edge trends and monitor how change is having a positive impact on the lives of consumers.

 

Image: AsianDream via iStock

Written by Nav Kullar

Nav Kullar

Nav is a marketing manager for Payments at NCR and is based in the UK. She is responsible for the marketing of NCR Payment solutions, with a specific focus on the transaction processing platform Authentic. Nav has over 15 years’ experience in the payments business with previous marketing roles at Visa and Elavon.

Read more articles from Nav Kullar