This Month in Payment News: March

It’s time to round up the biggest stories in the payments industry—the top scoops and developing trends that stand to change this space and herald innovation. In this edition, we’re covering March 2015. Follow along!

Industry Groups Push for Better Payment Security

From EMV adoption to data breach legislation, payment security has been getting a lot of time in the spotlight lately. This is what people were talking about in March:

  •  NRF + National Data Breach Legislation: Last month, the NRF’s SVP of government relations, David French, outlined a list of approaches that would create a safer environment for shoppers and businesses. On the list? End-to-end encryption, harsher punishments for cybercriminals and a national law about notifying customers in the event of a breach. He presented it to the House Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Information Technology. The NRF is working with key players on an ongoing basis, including law enforcement groups and government officials, to take measures that  improve the security of the retail industry.
  •  EMVCo Announces Yearly User Meeting: With the United States EMV adoption deadline approaching in October 2015, this is bound to be an important meeting of the minds. The meeting, to be held on June 30 and July 1 in Seattle, Washington, will seek to grow payment industry awareness of EMV specifications, answer technical questions about EMV and shed greater light on what the global EMVCo organization is working on. Attendees will include card issuers, terminal vendors, merchants and processors.
  •  Advice for Retailers: Amping up Security: Cayan’s Chief Revenue Officer, Ken Paull, breaks down four ways retailers can take proactive steps to minimize their risk of a data breach. On the list: avoid processing payments in-house and learn your way around encryption and tokenization.

Facebook and Others Join the Alternative Payments Game

Long gone are the days when our only payment methods were cash or card. These are the newest names and latest ways to pay:

  •  Facebook: The social network’s Messenger app isn’t just about catching up with friends anymore. Now, users will be able to link a MasterCard or Visa and click on a dollar sign button on the chat screen to send money to friends, putting them in competition with peer-to-peer payment services like Square Cash and Venmo.
  •  Google: We already have Google Wallet, but now Google is rolling out Android Pay, an NFC-enabled API that other companies in the mobile payments game can also use to support their services.
  •  Chase: After a successful run with Apple Pay, Chase is now rolling out Chase Pay, a mobile wallet offering that’s currently in the pilot program stage.

Lancôme and Sephora Get Omni-channel Makeovers

Omni-channel is already on its way to becoming one of the most talked about retail concepts of the year. Here are the latest companies making moves toward a more integrated shopping experience:

  •  Lancôme: Recently, the beauty brand teamed up with the personalization pros at RichRelevance to collect information about customer interactions and use it to build a more complete shopper profile. The cloud-based system gathers details about everything from customers’ product interests to their skin types to location-specific trends and uses this information to enhance the buying experience. For example, when shopping online, users can see the items they choose appear on a model, alongside additional personalized recommendations from the brand.
  •  Sephora: You know a company is serious about omni-channel when they roll out a San Francisco-based “Innovation Lab.” When Sephora’s latest round of advancements are complete, customers will be treated to a beacon-enabled in-store experience, an augmented reality mobile shopping experience and a loyalty program that rewards the store’s biggest spenders with free two-day shipping.
  •  Salesforce: With the launch of its “Service Cloud Intelligence Engine,” Salesforce is on a mission to turn the ideal customer experience into a science by connecting all the ways retailers interact with shoppers—and with one another. The engine is set up so companies using it can match employees with the customers they’re best suited to serve, connect customer service requests across all channels and manage employee workloads more efficiently.

Loyalty Gets More Flexible and Customizable

It’s no secret that taking the right approach to loyalty programs pays off, and we heard a lot in March about companies adding or tweaking their customer rewards offerings. Here are the latest moves you need to know about:

  •  American Express: The credit card company has its sights set on cross-brand loyalty with a soon-to-launch service called Plenti. The program will allow shoppers to earn and use points across a roster of brands, which currently includes Macy’s, Exxon Mobil, Rite Aid and Hulu.
  •  Dealyze: Starbucks has become the poster child for loyalty programs lately. Now, a company called Dealyze is making sure other businesses have access to a comprehensive loyalty program that meets their customers’ needs as well as the coffee company’s well-known payments and loyalty program app. Inspired by Starbucks’ model, Dealyze’s customizable platform allows businesses to brand their own version of the app and create an experience tailored to their customer base. While Dealyze is still in its early stages, it’s already being used at hotels, salons, bars and restaurants across the U.S.