Digital Wallet Trends in 2021: How Digital Wallets Are Changing The Payment Landscape

Talha Tamboli | September 30, 2021

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In the past couple of years, we have witnessed a new trend in the payment industry – digital wallets. The European Central Bank came up with a report saying that consumers prefer digital wallets over cash and they also see a future where cheques will become a thing of the past.  So, there is a clear shift from physical to virtual money that is going on in the payments industry, and business owners have to react faster to stay competitive in this era of digital transformation.

We are so familiar with seeing “Cash” as one of the payment methods, but the truth is, the world will be changing towards digital payments. And it isn’t that hard to understand why. Cash is inconvenient, subject to theft, not safe for all users, cannot be used by people who are blind, and becomes less efficient with growing traffic.

There are different ways to pay the bills online. With PayPal, credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay leading the way, it’s hard to understand what is happening with digital wallets. Below are some of the Digital Wallet trends that show how digital wallets are changing the way customers pay every day.

Biometric Authentication to rise:

The digital wallet is gradually becoming a more mainstream concept along with Biometric Authentication. Whether it’s lack of physical cash, or the need to access funds from different accounts, the average person now understands the importance of storing their debit cards, credit cards, and even private banking information in a secure app.

Digital wallets, which store card details and other personal information, are convenient, but safety is still a key. As a result, biometric security is making waves, as are new security features, such as fingerprint scanning, face recognition, heartbeat analysis, vein mapping, etc.

Biometric authentication is steadily gaining popularity with digital wallets, integrating it with the most famous two-step verification. Security experts have looked into the feasibility of using fingerprints, irises, and heartbeats as verification methods for a safe and successful transaction on customer’s wallets. In addition, several banks are testing facial recognition technology, while Visa and Mastercard are testing vein mapping.

The QR Code entangled in Digital Wallet:

QR codes are everywhere these days. They prove to be extremely useful in multiple industries, including the FinTech industry, retail, transportation, and entertainment. The digital wallet is transforming the way customers make and receive payments. QR codes turn the phone into a payment portal — just like a credit card or cash — and are already a common sight in stores, hotels, events and more. But QR codes aren't just about making payments easier. They are a powerful marketing tool for online stores, allowing them to insert enticing offers directly into their store windows.

Because QR codes are encoded in the barcode's image, they can be incorporated into any design, making them a highly effective marketing tool. QR codes are especially effective on short-term promotions, such as a newspaper ad with a code that links to a shoppable page on the store's website.

QR codes are simple to create and incur no extra expenses. Businesses can generate it quickly and start using it for various platforms, and they can be reused and recycled, making them a cost-effective alternative. QR codes are widely applicable to sellers of all sizes, from big e-commerce shops to tiny retail enterprises.

Due to its high usability and inexpensiveness, we can conclude that digital wallets will be incomplete without QR codes.

AI and ML to keep your wallet safe:

For many industries, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are already securing the way we do business, from healthcare to transportation. Now, they're taking the digital wallet world by storm.
AI and ML-based tools and systems are helping businesses detect and prevent fraud. They’re also helping banks manage risk more effectively by spotting anomalies and behaviour that could indicate fraud or money laundering. According to Deloitte, AI and ML-based tools will power 60% of financial fraud detection systems by 2025.

“We're seeing technology advance and be commoditized in a way that we've never really seen before with the advancements around artificial intelligence and cloud capability, or even the revolution that we're seeing within the core banking sphere is really changing what financial services actually means.” 

-David Brear, CEO and Co-founder at 11:FS


AI and ML-based fraud detection tools are already being used in a variety of ways. For example, you can use them to monitor customer transactions in the digital wallet and spot fraudulent or unusual activity. They can also monitor customer behavior patterns, such as unusual logins or patterns of spending across multiple digital wallet platforms.

AI and ML-based tools can also improve fraud prevention in digital wallets by making predictions based on information that’s already available, such as payment history and transaction patterns. For example, an AI-based tool might analyze a customer’s payment history, say, and predict when the customer is about to miss a payment.

NFC (Near Field Communication) in Digital Wallets:

Convenience has overtaken security as the key driver in contactless payments. We all like paying with contactless cards because you don't need a PIN. A contactless card is like a credit card without a magnetic stripe on the back.NFC (Near Field Communication) payments, like Apple Pay, work with NFC-enabled POS (point of sale) devices already installed in millions of stores.

The consumer benefits of contactless payments are clear. Merchants embrace NFC technology because it enables shoppers to quickly pay for items by tapping their phones on special readers. NFC technology also reduces the time spent at checkout, and it's secure, as only authorized users can use their smartphones. In addition, contactless payments reduce fraud, save time and improve the checkout experience.  As a result, the adoption of contactless payments in digital wallets is on the rise.

MasterCard estimates contactless payments will represent 10% of all digital transactions in 2021, rising to 36% in 2027. The convenience of contactless payments has surpassed security concerns, eventually forcing merchants to upgrade their POS devices.

Merchants with older POS devices can't accept contactless payments. So, they have to upgrade their hardware to NFC-enabled devices. With more advanced POS devices, retailers can protect their customers' card data by using point-to-point encryption (P2PE), which encrypts card data before it's sent to the POS device.

Cloud technology to the rescue

Cloud technology is becoming pervasive, and it's changing the way companies do business. Cloud computing allows businesses to run several applications on a single server, and it's increasingly being used to increase operational efficiency.

Cloud usage isn't limited to large enterprises. Small and medium-sized businesses are also jumping on the bandwagon, and there's one area in particular accounts for a big part of the cloud market: payments.

Today, companies are using cloud computing to make digital payments. As customers become more accustomed to the idea of making payments through digital payment methods, many vendors are creating digital wallets that can be accessed and payments can be made through a number of channels. This is increasing convenience for customers and suppliers.

Digital payments, however, aren't without their drawbacks. Late payment, for example, is one of the biggest problems that businesses face. With traditional payment processing, payments take several days to clear, and customers often find themselves unable to pay their bills on time.

But thanks to cloud technology, digital wallets can be configured to clear payments almost immediately. This eliminates the risk of late payments, allowing businesses to provide a better customer experience.

The Takeaway

The digital payments market has been dominated by centralized payment service providers (PSPs) and fintech. Still, recent developments have made it clear that the market will broaden to embrace new forms of payment. In 2020, we saw a boom in digital wallets, with companies like Apple, Google, Samsung, Alibaba, PayPal, WeChat, Alipay, and Stripe providing payment solutions.

However, the pandemic has shown that customers need applications, and apps require merchants and payment providers. Therefore, we anticipate digital wallets to grow much more in the coming years.

FAQs

What is the future of digital wallets?

Digital wallets offer retailers a more diverse and efficient way to manage payments. They will likely see particular use in the food and beverage industry, where customers often buy expensive items. 37% of retailers currently support mobile payments at the point of sale, according to a recent survey by Javelin Strategy & Research, and 20% of consumers currently use their smartphone for payments which is increasing as days pass.

What are the benefits of digital wallets?

Mobile payments have come a long way in recent years, so it's easy to whip out your phone and buy a coffee, beer or hot dog using just your phone. But that's only the beginning. Digital wallets give users more control over their spending, security and convenience. For instance, people can set up automatic payments from their wallets. This feature helps users save money and enables them to pay off their debts on time.

Will digital wallets be mandatory in the future?

If digital wallets can provide convenience to the customers and the retailers, it's more about adopting and not forcing anyone to adopt this technology. With more convenience for the customers to pay through digital wallets, and easy transaction handling for the retailers, digital wallets will be more of a handy technology rather than making it mandatory for transactions. It will be mandatory for a successful business.

Are digital wallets more secure or not?

Most digital wallets use a secure tokenization system. Instead of storing your actual credit card number, a token is created that's used instead. Then, when you make a purchase, the token is verified on the merchant's end, who then sends the token to your bank or credit card company. Digital wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and PayPal Pay let you pay using your iPhone, Android, smartphone or tablet.

Spotlight

Lighter Capital

Lighter Capital is a fintech company that has created a new fundraising path for early-stage tech companies. We understand that an entrepreneur’s two greatest constraints are time and money, and we’ve developed a funding instrument that solves for both. We provide founders up to $3 million of non-dilutive growth capital in a fraction of the time it takes to raise from traditional sources. Based in Seattle, we've invested over $100 million in more than 275 companies across the US.

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