The speed of innovation is increasing, which is driving an appetite for being able to access, interact with, and consume everything in an instant.
This is according to Gabriël Swanepoel, Vice President of Product Development and Innovation at Mastercard South Africa, who was speaking at the Mastercard Digital Indaba 2017 – an annual conference that brings together South Africa’s brightest minds from across the payments industry to share insights, promote the exchange of ideas, and engage in discussions about payments innovation in our increasingly digital world.
“Technology is presenting each of us with challenges in how we connect with our customers. I believe that every challenge can create opportunities. Our challenge is how to understand, anticipate, and activate those opportunities at speed,” said Swanepoel.
Swanepoel said new technology changes the way we interact, and transact, and places businesses and consumers in an always-on and instantly-connected world.
“The convergence of the physical and digital worlds is happening today. We are not facing a choice or an either-or situation. The new reality means both the physical shopping experience and the digital, online, or in-app shopping experience will co-exist and continue to grow and evolve,” said Swanepoel.
Driving this rapid change is the proliferation of connected devices, in combination with the Internet of Things. According to Gartner, the number of connected devices is expected to grow to an estimated 20.4 billion by 2020.
“The more that your phone talks to your watch and talks to your wallet, the more opportunities each of us have to place bets on new ways to connect new and exciting solutions for our customers,” said Swanepoel.
This is particularly true in the payments space, where security, speed of transactions, and the consumer experience are paramount – and will be key to ensuring the continued adoption of digital payment solutions.
Swanepoel said platforms must offer a consumer experience which avoids requiring the user to perform complex actions. “Do you want something complex? Do you want to click on a button four or five times to get to the thing you want? Do you want to have to memorise a password? No,” said Swanepoel.
A customer will go with a solution that meets their needs in a quick and seamless way, and ease-of-use and speed will be two of the main factors which influence a consumer’s decision to use a digital payment solution.
“We are insanely committed to making payments simpler for our customers. That is why we developed Masterpass, the global digital payment service from Mastercard. It takes the pain out of shopping by storing all of your payment and shipping information in one convenient, central location,” said Swanepoel.
Security is as an equally important aspect of digital payments, particularly when a consumer has multiple connected devices which share credentials or payment data.
“With each of these touchpoints comes more data that’s being created about you as an individual – it makes a laser-focus on security a must,” said Swanepoel.
Mastercard took these requirements into account when it developed its token standards to protect card numbers when they’re used online or on a device. Security is also why it continues to invest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and biometrics.
Future of commerce
The drive by Mastercard to ensure consumers can access fast, secure, and easy digital payment solutions like Masterpass is helping to shape the future of global commerce.
Dave Fleming, Head of R&D at Mastercard Labs, said Mastercard is constantly examining new channels and methods of interacting with customers and payment industry players – including partnerships with existing players and the establishment of new initiatives.
This will bring a range of improvements to consumers, with features like hyper-personalisation using AI, in-car commerce experiences, and the use of augmented reality to create more points of interaction.
This will ultimately provide consumers with an array of payments options across multiple devices, while ensuring persistent security and safe interactions with their banks, he said.
This article was published in partnership with Vicky Sidler.