OPINION: Beyond payments – enhancing the customer experience

In the final article of his series, Matt Barr discusses how mobile payments technology is only the beginning

Emerging payments technology is transforming the consumer purchasing experience worldwide.

The next generation of payment products and services build on the current safe, simple and smart ways to pay while bringing greater security and new capabilities to every transaction. It's about creating a purchasing experience that encompasses the pre, during and post transaction phases supported by greater security and control.

Mobile payment technology is only the beginning when it comes to the digital wallet, and both business and consumers stand to reap the benefits of a trusted repository for value-add services in the form of a secure digital wallet wherever they choose to shop.

Part of enhancing the consumer experience is about creating more secure, easier to use, enhanced shopping experiences.

MasterCard research shows that the top three uses for mobile apps among young consumers while shopping are those for looking up products, checking stores and sharing with friends. The opportunity for retailers is to engage with their customers before they even set foot in their stores.

The payments business is rapidly evolving. Today's tech-savvy consumers are quickly adapting to their digital devices and turning them into a new generation of powerful payment vehicles. There is also great demand from banks, retailers and consumers for stronger safeguards to secure payment transactions.

At MasterCard, we’ve taken the consumer-centric view of the transition that is – and will continue – to take place with the rise of the digital lifestyle.

Consumers and retailers are demanding digital wallets to securely and conveniently hold their payment details.

But buying or selling is just the beginning. There’s a world of opportunities in unlocking the full benefits of digital payments.

Digital wallets help shoppers keep track of items they usually carry with them, but need to find a single spot for things such as offers, loyalty cards, tickets, receipts, boarding passes, gift cards and much more. Through the use of apps, smartphones have become the most common way of accessing these.

They also allow businesses to reach consumers directly through their digital wallet, administering coupons, loyalty programs, e-receipts and little things that will improve the customer experience. It will also remove the friction in the consumer purchase experience, so that purchases are more convenient and efficient, as well as allow for the creating new and exciting experiences, yet to be developed.

Historically, security and convenience are two goals that have been at odds with one another – making a payment more secure typically came at the expense of the user experience (and vice-versa). But we now have the power of devices to make payments more secure, while at the same time easier to use.

The future consumer experience will be safe, simple and smart – with value added across all channels. In the simplest terms, mobile payments are providing consumers with easy and seamless buying experiences that provide short cuts to the things in life that matter most.

Matthew Barr is head of market development, Australasia for MasterCard Worldwide. Based in Sydney, he is responsible for the development of emerging payment services, including both mobile and e-commerce payments, in the Australasian markets.

Read: OPINION: Wallets in the cloud.

Read: OPINION: Digital wallets and mobile payments.

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