The advancement in digital technology has welcomed many new trends over the last couple of years, leading increasingly to a cashless society, and I believe this will continue in 2015, with a further decline in conventional retail banking. Digital services such as e-money accounts with linked debit and prepaid cards are quickly emerging as popular alternatives to traditional banking, not just in the UK, but around Europe and the rest of the world.
This will result in a major shift in 2015 from current favoured online payment methods like debit / credit cards and PayPal, to a broader set of online and mobile payment options. These will not only accommodate changes in the UK banking market, but also accommodate payment preferences from consumers beyond UK shores.
E-money / Prepaid cards
Consumers will gradually turn to e-money accounts, which offer increased privacy, reduced charges, faster responses and improved consumer interfaces.
E-money accounts with linked prepaid cards have evolved and I predict prepaid cards will become an important asset to the average consumer, proving to be a useful alternative to traditional credit / debit cards. For some, they can ensure their money is budgeted more wisely and can offer businesses a secure alternative for making wage transfers and for allocating employees with company cards.
With consumers increasingly moving to online funds management, the need for personal interaction has been removed thus inciting the decline in bank branches. Conventional banking methods will become redundant, with e-money accounts and prepaid cards shaping the payment market place of the future.
Mobile payments are also set to develop in 2015, with the introduction of Apple Pay set to position Apple as the most powerful force in mobile payments. 2015 will see these payment options enter into the UK market, and this will encourage the whole industry to adapt at a faster rate. UK retailers should anticipate that consumer uptake will be fast so they will need to be ready to accommodate the widest possible customer base.
Though biometric adoption has been slow, this gradual evolution will continue further than just authentication for payments. A WorldPay survey indicated that 49 per cent of European consumers would most like to see biometric payments emerge as a payment technology alternative . In a new effort to move away from the use of passwords, Barclays is to introduce voice recognition for select users of its telephone banking service as well as finger vein biometric scanners. With fraud losses on UK cards totalling £450.4 million in 2013 , the addition of biometric data as part of an identity verification process would no doubt be welcomed by banks and improve user experience.
Payment trends are constantly evolving in line with developments in technology, with those mentioned above as well as payments via social media and bitcoin. Businesses need to ensure they can offer the widest range of options and keep up with the market trends to ensure they’re meeting consumers’ needs, which will have a positive impact on their business.
Fraud the Facts 2014: The definitive overview of payment industry fraud and measures to prevent it – Financial Fraud Action UK 2014.