Money and the world of payments have gone through many changes since the stone age. From barter systems to contactless payments, society has evolved into a very mature stage, where Payment Technology have overtaken conventional mode of payments.

Many people recall times when they ran cashless for a week or maybe longer. The digital payment infrastructure is ready to shine, and customers across the world are increasingly adopting the new modes of payment.

Although digital payments have been here for a long time. Paypal, one of the largest digital payments companies today, started all the way back in 2004. Now Paypal is the limelight for business to business payments. But the implementation of payment technology into customer to business services and peer to peer payments services have only been possible with the advent of technologies like 4G, 5G, Blockchain, AI & ML, and RegTech.

In the span of five to six years, digital payment technologies have seen massive developments in terms of financial inclusion, and we’re expecting to see more innovation in the coming years.

Banks and Non-Banks need to switch to Digital Transformation

As per a report by EY, 50% of consumers are already using FinTech applications for money transfers and payments, whereas 65% are optimistic that they will be doing so in the future.

The significant disruptors of the payment landscape are the non-banking financial institutions that operate via unconventional means. The distinguishing line between payment networks and banks will continue to blur. 

To keep up with the increasing trend of cashless payments, banks and non-banks will have to act quick. Offering tech-agnostic value-added financial products and services will be the way forward to achieve digital transformation.

It is interesting to understand where the payment technology trend is heading towards and what 2021 has in store for us in such exciting times. This article will take you through all that you should know about payment technology in 2021.

What Is A Payment Technology?

Payment technology is the driving force behind the digitization of payments. There are several payment technologies such as Blockchain, QR codes, NFC, Biometric and many others that are currently disrupting the conventional payment ecosystem. 

However, not every available payment technology is worth investing in. There are several parameters that affect the feasibility of payment technology implementation and the ROI (Return on Investment) that it can bring. For example, the QR code technology has made contactless payments a feasible solution over NFC or RFID.

Latest Payment Technologies in 2021

#1 Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication has been in the limelight for the past couple of years. Security has become a prime concern for banking institutions due to strict compliances by regulatory bodies. It has made multi-factor authentication a necessity for mobile wallet and payment service providers. The availability of a fingerprint sensor or iris recognition in almost all the smartphones and tablets, have made biometric a feasible option for multi-factor authentication. 

Biometric authentication is a verification method involving structural or biological characteristics of an individual. The verification methods range between facial recognition, fingerprint scanners, heartbeat analysis, iris recognition, and vein mapping.

This payment technology helps FinTech service providers prevent chances of identity theft and fraud. Biometric authentication is a unique and crucial step in the online payment process, as it ensures efficiency, security, and improves customer satisfaction. The ease of authentication and high-security help financial institutions build customer trust and loyalty.

#2 mPOS

Mobile-Point-of-Sale, aka mPOS, is an innovative payment technology that is focused on freeing merchants from their store location and going mobile. It liberates merchants to seamlessly accept payments at various places like trade shows, concerts, food trucks, and many other places.

Not only this, but the mPOS payment technology also streamlines the checkout process at the stores by replacing central checkout areas with staff equipped, with instead mobile-point-of-sale devices.

Indeed, mPOS technology will be a popular trend in 2021, and the statistics show the same. Global Market Insights reports that by 2026, the mPOS market will be valued at $80 billion globally. It is expected to grow with a CAGR of 19% between 2019 to 2026.

 payment technology

Source: Global Market Insights

#3 Voice

With the rise of smart speakers and home assistants, voice commands have become mainstream in the tech space. The banking and finance industry isn’t untouched from voice tech, and in the near future, we’ll see more and more people handling their finances via smart assistants.

Many financial giants are heavily investing in voice tech for payments, as statistics reveal that there is an increase in the number of people that are buying products via smart speakers. Statista found 35% of users purchase products like groceries, home care, and clothing using smart speakers.

Surprisingly, around 28% of the respondents have admitted using smart speakers to send money and make direct payments. Though this doesn’t look like a considerable portion, it will continue to grow over the years as the payment process will become more precise and safe.

Security is the prime concern for users, as 74% of the users feel unsafe while making payments via voice assistants. The additional negative news is that the users also cite that they’ll stop using voice assistants for payments due to this concern.

However, other statistics point out a bright future for payments via voice assistants. Business Insider has estimated that smart speaker usages will rapidly increase from 18.4 million users (in 2017) to a massive 77.9 million (by 2022). This trend seems promising, as big players like Google, Amazon, and Apple are heavily investing in building a new range of smart voice assistants.

#4 Security powered by AI and Machine Learning

When it comes to money and payments, security is the most crucial element. People will undoubtedly prefer using payments methods that are convenient and ensure high security. Therefore, it is necessary for FinTech developers to utilize financial technologies to develop robust security for online payment transactions.

Banks and non-banking financial institutions deal with a considerable number of customer’s personal and payment information. If done manually, It is nearly impossible to detect possible threats before it’s too late. Therefore the banking and finance industry is making use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI & ML) technologies for such causes.

ML is the first step towards achieving the full potential of artificial intelligence. Both banks and non-banks can feed their ML-powered digital infrastructure with financial transactions, and the algorithms will learn to detect fraudulent transactions in real-time. The software algorithms keep getting better, as they receive more and more varieties of financial transactions. 

The most common example of ML in payments is when you receive an email or text from your bank asking whether the transaction was made by you or was it fraudulent. These cautionary alerts are triggered by ML software, which enables financial institutions to prevent mishaps. 

#5 NFC for Contactless Payments

In the year 2021, cashless transactions will increasingly happen via contactless payment methods. As the term suggests, contactless payments only require the customer to wave their card or smartphone across the POS reader. However, payments via smartphones are faster and convenient when compared to cards. Thus, more and more customers and merchants are willing to adopt contactless payment technology via smartphones. 

Compared to the PIN and QR code technology, contactless payments are quicker and more secure, as it instantly transfers encrypted data to the POS device.

Big brands like Apple, Samsung, and Google already have incorporated contactless payment technology into their smartphones and payment systems. Using their apps (Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay), the customer can simply wave their smartphones across any card reading POS device. The users would enter their card details into the app to enable the contactless feature.

The technology behind contactless payments is Near-Field Communication, aka NFC. 

In many countries, the NFC (Near Field Communication) technology is used for several use cases. For instance, in China, it is used as a payment option for public transportation. London uses NFC for similar use – to ease out payments for bus and tube stations. In Japan, this payment technology is utilized to access information about an individual’s identity.

UK Finance has estimated that by 2027, around 36% of cashless payments will be done through NFC payments technology.

#6 Blockchain

Fraudulent activities and identity theft cost billions of US dollars to the banking and finance industry. In addition to AI and ML implementations, blockchain technology can also rescue banking and financial institutions from such issues.

According to a study by Marketwatch, blockchain technology investment will grow to $5,600 million by 2023. 

If you’re not familiar with blockchain technology, it is a computer program that decentralizes information while ensuring optimal security. In current times, the banking and finance industry is utilizing blockchain technology for digital/mobile payments, smart contracts, identity management, and international trade.

The payment industry utilizes blockchain technology to store customer and financial transaction data, which enhances database safety. From payment history to information sharing to a secure network in an open banking environment, blockchain technology is ready to help banking and financial institutions create a safer and more secure environment for a cashless society. 

Till date, blockchain technology has inspired the advancement and development of many Peer to Peer financial solutions. These financial institutions facilitate monetary transactions between users in a decentralized manner. 

Markets and Markets predict that the blockchain in the financial space will grow to 6,228.2 million by 2023. Interestingly, the CAGR is expected to be 75.9%, which is enormous.

What makes blockchain a trending payment technology for 2021, is that it potentially can help banking and financial institutions strengthen their security. When a blockchain is in place, once a transaction is recorded in the system, it can never be changed, eliminating data alteration concerns. The information is also encrypted before being shared and stored in a secure environment, ensuring no data breaches. This is the reason why blockchain is increasingly implemented for cross-border transactions.

When talking about payments and blockchain, we cannot neglect ‘Cryptocurrency’. Enabled by blockchain technology, cryptocurrency is a form of virtual currency that can be transferred online. The crypto companies encrypt the financial information to control the creation and transfer of the virtual currency. Needless to say that Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency. 

The dominance of Mobile Wallets

A report by RetailDive revealed that around 2.1 billion individuals worldwide were using mobile wallets in 2019, and in 2020, the number has significantly increased. Mobile wallets are computer programs that mimic an actual physical wallet. 

Using an e-wallet, the users can store money, send it to others, receive payments, and access financial services such as prepaid recharge, movie ticket booking, and many others.

Seeing the increasing demand for mobile payments via e-wallets, big companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google have also introduced mobile wallets to encash the opportunity. 

Conclusion

The trend towards digital payments will continue to grow in 2021. We’ll witness more and more people transitioning from physical cash to mobile wallets. But, before the transition concludes, many technologies will come into play and disappear. These technologies will play a crucial role in our shift towards a world where there will hardly be any transactions in physical currency.

If you’re looking for a software development partner to help you develop solutions based on the technologies mentioned above, feel free to reach us at contact@nimbleappgenie.com 

We, at Nimble AppGenie, are one of the main pioneers in developing e-wallets and other FinTech Solutions. It’s been six years since our first FinTech technology deployment, and we’ve been working in this industry since then. You can check out our work by clicking here – Nimble AppGenie Portfolio.

Indeed, the future holds a cashless society. The real question is what technologies will pave the way for a cashless world post 2021? The six technologies we’ve discussed in the article will be in trend during 2021, but what about the future payment tech for 2022 and further on?

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