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EDITORIAL Digital revolution brings payment tech home

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Rapid changes in digital habits among consumers have, in a matter of mere months, reshaped how people use their phones. What they consume, where they consumer it and how they want to pay for it has all changed – presenting huge opportunities for value-added service providers and billing and payments companies.

Recent research by mobile data company App Annie has found that across 2020, mobile ad placement has gone up 70%, consumers are installing 85% more video streaming apps, TikTok is poised to become a big player in social and all of this is taking place around the home – where more education, entertainment and business services than ever are being consumed.

At the same time, research by Juniper Research finds that smart home devices – such as Alexa, Google Home and even Apple’s HomePod – are going to see some $22 billion in transactions in 2020 alone, driven by locked-down users trying new ways to do ecommerce and other interactions.

Together, these two reports show just how much the world has changed – and point out just what huge opportunities there are for value-added service providers and payment companies as brands and businesses look to increasingly monetise these transactions.

The services that are being consumed on mobile and, increasingly, on smart home devices are all the kind of things that can all be readily monetised by carrier billing and other alt.payment services – snacking on entertainment, education and business services. The potentially ‘long-term temporary’ nature of the pandemic means that many people will look to dip into these services or to subscribe to them, all along believing that one day they will go back to ‘normal’.

This offers a huge opportunity to the telemedia space to create the services, the content and the billing to tap into this market.

No wonder then that Global Market Insights is predicting that the world’s payment processing market is set to hit $60 billion this year and grow to more than $140 billion by 2026.

At present, mobile payment acceptance is helping in satisfy the coming generation of customers with simple and seamless payment experiences, says Global Market Insights. Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are changing the way business is done. This is going to grow exponentially as more and more people turn to mobile payments to pay for pretty much everything.

Messaging, too, plays its part, with mGage showing that effective and interactive messaging is the key to initially engaging those customers in the first place – ably demonstrated by IMIMobile’s most recent integration with Google Business Messaging to turn searches into engagement.

However, a note of caution needs to be sounded: using new-fangled payment technologies and tools comes with risk. Ticketmaster UK, for instance, has been fined £1.25 million for breaching GDPR rules thanks to a payment chatbot. According to the Information Comissioners Office (ICO) in the UK, the chatbot putting 9.4 million customers’ card data at risk and was implicated in 60,000 card holders being defrauded.

The problem was one of compliance – both with GDPR and PCI DSS – and was more a technical oversight than any sort of bad business, but it does show that you have to implement these technologies with great care – and with the help of all the experts that make up the telemedia industry.

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