Completely seamless payments are no longer just a dream, as the emergence of the Internet of Things makes it possible to integrate a payment function into everyday objects.
Take the latest service from Samsung, the Korean electronics giant, that is unleashing its rival to Apple Pay for its smartphone handsets. But Samsung Pay won’t just be for handheld devices – a version will also be available on its range of smart TVs.
Samsung Pay for TV works in much the same way. The user needs to associate a debit or credit card with their account and it’s up and running, or they can even use an existing PayPal account. With the system, when viewers see an app, game or anything else they want on screen, it’s a simple three-step process to buy.
“The beauty of it is that in most cases, users can complete a payment in just three steps after the initial registration setup,” explains the firm. “First, choose the item you want to purchase. Then simply press the ‘Pay Now’ button, and enter the PIN (Personal Identification Number). That’s it!”
While we’ve not yet reached the stage of being able to make direct purchases from a TV commercial, Samsung Pay for TV brings us one step closer. Surely it won’t be long before impulse purchases can be made during the ad break?
Although seemingly fanciful, this is exactly the kind of seamless payment infrastructure we could see in the coming years thanks to the Internet of Things. With each connected device able to link straight to a payment processing function, it’s possible to turn even everyday objects into a checkout.
Fridges hold the most potential perhaps. Milk running low? A sensor could detect when the bottle’s nearly empty and automatically place an order for a replacement.
Cars could also become payment devices. Visa recently launched a ‘connected car’ that is capable of making mobile and online purchases on the go. An embedded chip and Bluetooth mean it can complete transactions for you at a petrol station or drive-thru.
“By 2020 it is estimated that more than 250 million vehicles worldwide will include some form of embedded connectivity,” says Bill Gajda, senior vice president of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at Visa.
Nest Labs has created smart smoke alarms and thermostats that can be controlled remotely by phones. Gas, water and electricity meters could easily be loaded with chips containing card data to enable automatic utility bill payments.
The doubts about any new technology like this rest on whether consumers would be on board. If people don’t go for it, it doesn’t matter how clever the technology is.
Appetite for mobile payments is growing as consumers get more used to leaving cash and cards at home. A PayPal survey last year suggested people are going further and some at least can see a future in Internet of Things payments.
A third of the respondents said they would use an internet-enabled car to pay for petrol, while one in five wants a connected fridge that could shop and pay for items directly online. “We’ll see a huge change over the next few years in the way we shop and pay for things,” said Cameron Schmidt, general manager for PayPal Canada.
Certainly as things like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay for TV take root these numbers could be expected to rise. Familiarity with the Internet of Things is still pretty low among most consumers, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it could take a while to take off.