By Jessica Duncan
Despite the tumultuous year of 2020, one particular area within the payments industry that is exceeding expectations is mobile payments. There were many predictable factors this year that contributed to the rise in adoption of mobile and digital forms of payment; an increase in online transactions, a concern for added security from fraud, and the safety of a contactless checkout experience while shopping in store.
Increased appetite to explore mobile payments brought along new innovative competition from those at the forefront of this space, thus raising the bar and likely changed the roadmap ahead for what consumers will look for when it comes to their preferred mobile payment option.
Google recently jumped ahead of the pack with their relaunch of Google Pay. They have transformed their mobile payments platform to become a comprehensive money management app, including payment options, customized deals, and financial insights, all within a streamlined user interface. Their strategy is relying on the all-in-one experience to motivate consumer adoption.
Also notable is the launch of a new feature announced by American Express. Their Send & Split peer-to-peer payment option was highlighted in their December edition of “The Essentials”. While not on the same scale as Google’s redesign, this new feature shows American Express is following the same premise of creating more streamlined payment services to retain customer’s loyalty and mobile app preference.
The digital payments landscape without a doubt broadened in 2020 and now more than ever is influenced from other outside competition such as retail contenders with strong mobile wallets like those from Walmart and Target or cross-over products like that of the Venmo Credit Card that seamlessly syncs to the Venmo app. The traditional competitive lines continue to fade away and the variety of innovative payment options will only further evolve in the coming year, take for example Apple’s latest service, the Apple Cash Family account.
With all this talk of payments, one can’t exclude acknowledging the new entrants of Buy Now Pay Later installment plans, adding to an already growing pool of payment options presented at many online checkouts. While the alternative options may prove to be intimidating to some consumers or a trend that might fizzle, the reality is that it has become a greater challenge for financial institutions to keep their accounts tethered to their customer’s preferred form of online payment.
Despite all the angles of possible disruption, what should be remembered is the root of consumer interest for any payment-based product is the desire for something convenient, valuable, and trustworthy. These are the fundamentals that financial institutions should focus on to shape their 2021 payment enhancements and marketing initiatives.
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