This article is also available on Medium.
We are living in a digital world. From ovens to car keys, refrigerators to vending machines, each and every device is now running software. Every day we are getting more and more dependent on digital devices. (read it as software)
Excluding the computer and mobile phone, an average person in the Western World interacts with a device running some sort of software more than 30 times a day. Opening a door with an access card, taking an elevator, riding a car, buying snacks from a vending machine, etc are examples of these interactions. Smart phone is of course a huge exception to this; average interaction with a smart phone is between 50-200 times a day, depending on the addiction status of the person. These stats dramatically change when it comes to teens. Humans are now having more interaction with software than with actual humans -or any other life form for that matter.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against this. This is not something you can go against anyway, this is an irreversible patern.
Digitalisation vastly improved our lives. We are now in continuous communication with our friends, work place, family, people from around the world with similar interests with us. What digitalisation brought to our lives is easier communications with our peers. But more importantly, most repetitive tasks have been replaced with an automated device or software.
Social media has become the single source of information for many people. We can say in confidence that; now there is media and social media. People now have the option to refine their news sources based on their own interests and timing. Traditional communication channels are now transforming into digital versions, the ones that do not digitalise are slowly turning into legacy items in history.
Of course, payments are no exception. Almost any where in the world, people are paying with EMV chip cards which run an operating system and a payment application software on the chip of the plastic card. If you are not making a face to face payment, then you are on a computer or a smartphone making another digital payment. Card accepting device is now either a physical POS terminal or a virtual POS processing transactions from many different channels over the internet.
Payment systems were pretty quick to embrace the digitalisation era. Cards were one of the first products turning into user name and passwords in order to enable payments via web browsers. Then mobile devices came into the picture. In the mobile world, authentication is simpler than web, everything became faster and more convenient for the user on a mobile device. Paying via a non-cash mean is basically a credential based authentication and mobile phones are great with authentication.
When everything started to happen so fast, things that are not so fast (like payments) started to feel the pressure. Typing in the card number was one of them. People can register many online resources via few clicks with their Facebook/Google/Twitter accounts, why not for payments? That’s when digital wallets came in handy. PayPal had already started the revolution long before consumer digitalisation started based on different business cases. Entering the card information once could enable many more benefits to the end user.
Digital wallets may seem in a not-so-fast growth path, but this is inevitable. Any product that is not transforming into digitalisation will end up in a parallelised state.
This is a good time to think about your favorite digital wallet product if you are benefiting enough of it. If you are not using one, you should consider choosing one. Digital wallets will not just streamline your payment experience, but will provide an extra layer of security.