Pushing boundaries towards the future of mobile payments

 

By Joydeep Bhattacharya and Olof Schybergson

 

Over the last fifty years, we’ve seen financial transactions evolve and become more flexible with the introduction of electronic money and swipe systems. Today, we are entering into the new transaction chapter of mobile payments, where emerging technologies are enabling a more diverse, personalised and tailored delivery for individual consumer lifestyles. Completely new ways of buying and selling products are being developed, with customised mobile payment systems that offer the ability to instantly circulate money to friends, different accounts or financial products. Businesses are also investigating technologies that offer more diverse payment options through scanning fingerprints, faces and physical gestures.

Central to this period of experimentation and change is an acknowledgment among financial service providers that an intuitive customer experience is key to widespread adoption of mobile payments. This is also driving service developments such as enhanced security, removal of queues to speed up the payment process, and the ability for consumers to better understand their spending patterns, as well as encouraging partnerships and ecosystems that expand outside of financial services to include retailers and mobile network operators, amongst others, for an enhanced seamless experience for end-users.

Merchants are also responding to the consumer-driven agenda by adopting infrastructure that offers flexible mobile payment options to small and large businesses, and the opportunity to analyse consumer data to gain insights and enhance customer services by offering a more personalised experience.

We’re still at the beginning of this mobile payment transition, but the age of seamless payments is in view. It’s being brought into sight by new mobile payment technologies which are breaking new ground and have the potential to transform our day-to-day lives.

One example is from Turkey’s second largest bank, Garanti, which launched iGaranti, offering financial management services via smartphones. Users are able to see and monitor their finances via iGaranti which acts as a gateway to 23 different apps. These apps are for a diverse range of services: from a mobile wallet to an app that translates personal financial data into highly visual dashboards in which users can see their spending pattern.

iGaranti’s pioneering approach also offers live account updates for customers, real-time location-based offers related to financial and retail services, and integration with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Another example is PayPal, which is now a universally used online and mobile payments company. Its brand strength is evidenced by the reach it has established among both large retailers and small online boutiques alike.

PayPal’s new product, Beacon, is pushing the company further into retail stores. Beacon provides retailers with Bluetooth technology via an add-on hardware device which offers a better customer experience, including the option of paying completely hands-free. The scale that PayPal has reached already will ensure that it has a powerful influence as mobile payment technologies continue to evolve.

These are just two examples from an ever-evolving industry. In future years we’re likely to see growing maturity of the marketplace with mobile payments likely becoming a very big battleground. The success of mobile payments will be influenced not only by how much financial service companies and technology providers collaborate, but the rate at which brands can adapt to the consumer’s demands for digital simplicity, security and fast service. We are entering very exciting times so watch this space!

About the authors

Joydeep Bhattacharya is managing director of Accenture Interactive, and Olof Schybergson is the founder and CEO of Fjord, now part of Accenture Interactive.

Joy is part of the European leadership team for Accenture Interactive and the Financial Services business service line for Accenture. Joy’s areas of expertise are in digital strategy and transformations, customer experience platforms and emerging operating models.

Olof is the founder and CEO of service design consultancy, Fjord. He is passionate about elegant simplicity and its power to solve challenges, big or small.

About Accenture Interactive

Accenture Interactive helps the world’s leading brands delight their customers and drive superior marketing performance across the full multichannel customer experience. As part of Accenture Digital, Accenture Interactive works with over 23,000 Accenture professionals dedicated to serving marketing and digital clients to offer integrated, industrialized and industry-driven digital transformation and marketing services. Follow @AccentureSocial or visit accenture.com/interactive.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 289,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

About Fjord

Fjord is a service design consultancy, acquired by Accenture Interactive in 2013. We create useful, effective, and desirable digital services that people love. We help the world’s leading businesses make complex systems simple and elegant with the power of design. Founded in 2001, Fjord employs a diverse group of over 200 design experts in nine global creative hubs: Berlin, Helsinki, Istanbul, London, Madrid, New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Stockholm. Find out more at www.fjordnet.com.

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