The blockchain, mobile commerce, fraud, data breaches, and authentication were all hot payments topics in 2017. Expect that to continue into 2018 if the prognostications from several payments executives hold true.
Much of their outlook centers on identity and authentication, especially as data breaches, large and small, continue to wreak havoc in the payments industry. The blockchain, a technology that enables data to be shared securely via a distributed ledger, could have a central role.
“Through 2017, the blockchain has become more talked about in the field of identity,” says Sarah Clark, senior vice president of global product management at Mitek Systems Inc., a San Diego-based banking-services provider. “More people view it as a backbone for digital identity. Banks are at the center of the initiative to create a better federated digital-identity ecosystem.”
In one possible scenario, a customer may want to conduct a transaction at a financial-services company, and both participate in this shared digital-identity network. “You might authorize your bank to let an insurance company know your identity is valid,” Clark says.
Indeed, the notion of distributing some of the security aspects among many entities using blockchain technology will strengthen in 2018, says Peter Loop, associate vice president and senior principal technology architect at Infosys, an India-based business-services company. “With major breaches such as Equifax proving that you cannot safeguard current identity-data systems, the need for a more secure blockchain-based identity approach, where no one holds all the keys, will emerge,” Loop says in a statement.
Other 2018 trends include advances in easing the payment experience. Clark says e-commerce sites and marketplaces, which are struggling to prevent fake account profiles, bot accounts, and fraudsters from inundating their platforms, will make identity verification a priority.
She predicts that 60% of these sites, including online auctioneers, dating sites, and social-media platforms, will adopt technologies and techniques to verify new users’ identities through digital channels. “There is a need to have a more reliable outcome in terms of being confident that the person on the other end of the digital transactions is who they say they are,” Clark tells Digital Transactions News.
Anticipated changes in payments extend beyond authentication and to the payment experience itself. Indeed, the traditional checkout line may begin to dissolve, says Joe Mach, president of VeriFone North America, a unit of San Jose, Calif.-based VeriFone Systems Inc. The use of mobile point-of-sale devices within the shopping aisle will accelerate, he says.
“As retailers develop online, mobile, and physical retail platforms, they can leverage all their channels into savings and increased customer satisfaction such as ordering out-of-stock merchandise for a customer from another location or online store,” Mach says in a statement.