3 Ways to Prepare for the Future of Payments

The payments industry may once have moved at a slow pace, but those days are gone. A quick glimpse at the conversation-starting topics of recent years—NFC, omnichannel, mobile payments, EMV—and it’s clear the payments world is going through a lot of changes. While keeping up with the latest payment methods may feel overwhelming—especially for businesses used to doing things the old way—preparing for the future isn’t as time-consuming as it seems. Ultimately, we’re moving toward a safer, more efficient world of buying and selling that’s improving the customer experience.
 
Read on for our breakdown of three ways retailers can prepare for the future of payments:
 

Get a POS Device That Can Handle What’s Next

October’s EMV liability shift provided a stark reminder for many businesses that not all payment processing systems are created equal. Those that didn’t upgrade their terminals by the first of the month put themselves in the position of being liable if a fraudulent transaction was made with a chip-enabled card—until they made the switch. With the US responsible for just under half of global fraud, EMV preparedness is a crucial step toward shifting the numbers, both before and after October 1.
 
However, chip-card readiness should only be one part of your future-proof plan. Many businesses that upgraded (or are planning to upgrade soon) received the added benefit of a terminal that also accepts NFC payments. If the US follows the UK’s suit, contactless EMV payments will arrive at registers stateside in the near future, and to process those transactions, NFC-ready terminals are crucial.
 
Add to that shoppers tapping their phones for transactions with NFC-supported platforms like Apple Pay and Android Pay, and you’ve got yourself a store that can handle the multitude of ways customers will pay, both today and years down the road.
 

New Payment Technology is Only Good if Shoppers Use It

That global fraud statistic above may start to improve with EMV, but this new safeguard only works if customers know it’s available and are encouraged to use it. The same applies to other types of technology.
 
Take NFC payments for example. Many have another layer of security built in that traditional magnetic stripe credit card payments don’t offer. NFC-supported platforms often have several ways to authenticate purchases, from a fingerprint scan or password entry to a specific, one-time code that’s used in place of a bank account or card information to complete the transaction.
 
With EMV, that traditional magnetic stripe on credit cards, which can be skimmed by hackers, isn’t part of the equation anymore. Instead, an embedded chip talks to the payment terminal to authenticate the purchase. Just like NFC payments, a one-time code is used to ensure the purchase is authentic and trace any fraudulent purchases back to the source.
 
When it comes to encouraging shoppers to use the latest payment types, it’s also worth noting that sales associates are incredibly influential. They’re the ones who can encourage shoppers to dip their chip cards instead of swipe them and answer security questions at the point of sale, easing concerns about new technology and correcting misunderstandings.
 

Never Lose Sight of Creating the Best Possible Customer Experience

It’s becoming clearer and clearer that, the more the payments industry evolves, the more personal it will get for the customer. A key way to capitalize on this is by offering a loyalty program that works with the way your customers want to shop. For many, this means on their phones, and without the hassle of opening multiple apps to retrieve rewards.
 
By integrating the ability for in-app payments with Android Pay’s open API and in-store loyalty offerings with Apple Pay on iOS 9 (and soon Android Pay, too), you can put your loyalty program right at shoppers’ fingertips—at all times, and all in one place. The future has no place for paper punch cards.
 
Looking away from our phones for a moment, another way to future-proof your approach to payments is by making sure your checkout solution itself integrates with gift card and loyalty programs. This not only provides the opportunity to get new shoppers into your store, but the data that comes with such a program means far more insights into customer behavior, which can help you plan future retail campaigns and make other key business decisions.
 
It’s an exciting time in the payments industry. With so many ways for shoppers to pay, earn loyalty points, and keep their sensitive information more secure while they’re at it, preparing for the future of payments benefits everyone involved.
 
How has your business taken steps to prepare for whatever the payments industry has in store? Leave us a comment below and let us know!
 
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