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Openness: The Future of Payments

We have a pretty good idea of what the future of payments will look like. Mobile and contactless payments are already replacing cash and chip and pin cards, shopping online will soon be more common than shopping in-store (in some countries it already is), and the growth of alternative payments is outpacing traditional methods like credit cards.

On a deeper level, the future of payments isn’t really about payments – it’s about optimizing technologies to provide a better user experience, earn more consumer trust, and achieve a higher conversion rate. Looking ahead, developing new technologies will become less important than fostering a sense of openness within existing technologies.

What is Openness in Payments?

Openness is not a new idea in technology. “Open-source” was originally coined in reference to software with a publicly available source code that could be studied, improved upon, and distributed by anyone. The meaning of open-source has broadened to refer to anything made open and available, often with the goal of developing a technology in a collaborative public manner for the greater benefit of the whole.

In short, open payments should be Inclusive, Frictionless, and Transparent. Let’s break these down.

Principles of Openness in E-commerce

More than two out of every three shopping carts are abandoned. These abandonments are mainly due to three factors:

  1. Consumers find your website does not accept their preferred payment method (not inclusive);
  2. The payment process is too demanding and unwieldy (not frictionless);
  3. They don’t trust the security of your site enough to provide their payment details (not transparent).

Bring that cart abandonment number down by embracing the three tenets of openness.

Inclusive

Payments are still largely siloed into different infrastructures, channels, and geographic areas. Most of today’s payment technologies are built on top of infrastructures developed by traditional banks. These legacy networks are ill-equipped to handle a digital economy that strives to be global, omni-channel, and frictionless. This disjunction in payment infrastructure means that many payment technologies are inaccessible to large portions of the population.

Openness values inclusiveness. The purpose of open payments is to provide everyone, regardless of location, financial standing or intent, with the ability to access and utilize the payment technologies they need. Greater access to technologies will give consumers the solutions to payment card restrictions and geographical boundaries that would otherwise segregate them from each other. Payza, and other global payment providers, have been working hard to offer everybody the freedom to interact with e-commerce and the digital economy whatever way they most prefer.

Frictionless

Payments are becoming increasingly hidden from the consumer. Uber and iTunes purchases, for example, are transacted behind the scenes on the user’s behalf. As e-wallets like Payza become more popular, these payments will become more invisible to the consumer; as consumers become comfortable allowing online payments to take place behind the scenes, this method will spread to other platforms and marketplaces.

Instead of forcing consumers to meet specific requirements, the goal of open payments is to integrate technologies so that the consumer’s path to purchase is as simple as possible. Openness means flexibility, versatility, it means being omni-channel rather than platform specific – open payments are designed to be as universal as possible, both for the consumer and for the merchant.

Transparent

Following the “open source” philosophy of making the inner workings of your software publicly available, a major component of openness in payments is transparency. It may seem contradictory, but the only way to truly have invisible payments is to make them as visible as possible. Consumers don’t trust something that’s kept hidden, but once their trust has been earned they will put it out of sight and out of mind.

Transparency in payments means being open and honest. Proponents of open payments, like Payza, make their data widely available, build communities with open dialogue, ensure that technologies are visible and understandable, and communicate terms and conditions clearly and honestly. Transparency builds consumer confidence and trust, without it, you can’t truly have frictionless or inclusive payments.

The modern digital economy is driven by rapid innovation. Cloud computing and on-demand scalability at a low cost let new market entrants to compete on a global scale, but what makes a business or platform stand out in a crowded marketplace is simple – being open. Openness is a philosophy that applies to, and can benefit, all businesses and consumers in the digital economy.