The payments landscape has shifted dramatically this past year. These changes were especially quickened by the pandemic as both merchants and consumers continued to look for alternative ways to safely complete transactions.
As Forrester analyst Lily Varon told Payments Dive, “The pandemic accelerated a lot of trends that were catching traction the year prior. Evolution from both the merchant and customer side picked up pace to evolve with changing market conditions.”
With fall and the holiday season just around the corner, here is a roundup of the top three payments industry trends affecting merchants in 2021, so far.
Growing Popularity of QR Code Payments
Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a growing demand for contactless transactions. We also saw a significant decrease in cash payments, and an increase in digital payments, namely QR code-based payments. And both consumers and merchants are signing on to this trend for the long haul. In fact, according to PayPal, three casual sellers are enrolling to offer PayPal’s QR codes every minute. Even The New York Times recently declared, “QR codes are here to stay.”
In some cases, QR codes have enabled businesses to accept payments without a POS. They’ve also allowed merchants to engage and drive loyalty with digital shoppers. But to implement this payment method successfully, merchants need to understand the different approaches of QR code acceptance and how to integrate QR codes into their current ecosystems.
Surge in Mobile POS Systems
The use of mobile POS (mPOS) systems have been on the rise recently, with Juniper Research finding that mPOS transaction values are predicted to exceed $1.9 trillion by 2024, up from $850 billion in 2019. These handheld devices, whether a tablet or a phone, allow businesses to easily check out any customer wherever they are in the store.
I recently shared with Payments Dive about why the need for mPOS devices is growing. In the article, I explain that low cost, minimal hardware integration and mobility are all key factors that will attract many SMBs to turn to this POS method for processing payments. With this mPOS, merchants don’t have to think about new hardware or certifications. As long as they have a phone, they can be open for business.
The Rise of Cryptocurrency Payments
Nearly 60% of consumers have expressed that they want to make purchases with cryptocurrency. Besides Elon Musk’s much-hyped announcement that Tesla would accept bitcoin, other major merchants like Burger King, PayPal and Xbox are beginning to accept digital currency as an official payment option. There’s even rumors that Amazon will likely make a massive move into crypto.
With that in mind, implementing new digital currency payments at both physical and digital checkout is critical to serving today’s consumers. What’s more, it also serves as a growth opportunity for merchants while providing more flexibility to meet shoppers’ demands. That’s why our parent company InComm has partnered with Flexa to offer its global brand partners a seamless way to instantly accept dozens of digital currencies like bitcoin, ether and dozens of other digital currencies. Stay tuned for more details about how OLS Payments helps enable this partnership in an upcoming blog!
Increased Need for Tokenization
As a result of these trends, the adoption of tokenization has gained traction as it provides a much more secure way for merchants to accept payments of any type. This is especially true for omnichannel retailers who needed to make the payments process secure and seamless across multiple channels.
No matter the merchant type, tokens are a must to provide a secure method of storing valuable customer data by switching out sensitive payment information with randomized data that has no intrinsic value. As compliance and security continues to grow, tokens are the only way that these payment methods will continue to be accepted.
Make Payments Count this Year
It’s not too late for merchants to evaluate their payments strategies and invest in technologies that enable these innovative trends before the end of 2021. These payment methods are here to stay and we expect the demand from consumers to escalate over the next year and beyond. Furthermore, ongoing disruption from COVID-19 and a growing need for these capabilities will only continue to spark continued innovations that facilitate quick and seamless payments.
To quickly and cost effectively deploy the technology you need to implement these capabilities, get in touch with us today so you can say hello to the future of payments.