We’ve come a long way from the days of trading cattle for grain, haven’t we? Moving on from the barter system, we graduated to exchanging notes and coins, and now, to biometrics for digital payments. Payment verification technologies are expected to make quantum leaps in technology every decade. So, the day of the sci-fi sounding human wallet dawning upon us doesn’t seem very far.
Consider this scenario of a weekly shop at Morrisons. You whizz past the till without presenting a credit card, mobile or any electronic payment device whatsoever. Instead, a virtual sales assistant greets you by name as you depart from the till saying, “Good evening Mr Smith! Thank you for shopping at Morrisons.” Well! How did you pay? You used your body as a human wallet. Since our bodies are unique in several ways, payment technologies in the future will easily identify us, so that we don’t have to remember our passwords or carry our wallets around. In the future, we will employ different parts of the human body for payment verification – including finger vein and palm vein scans, to iris, retinal and heart beat scans, to face recognition and genomic sequence.
Existing Payment Technology Risks
The advent of 3D printing has made local digital manufacturing (LDM) widely available. In the future, LDM will allow anyone to print almost anything – such as replication of a card reader, chip and pin credit card or mobile phone from the confines of one’s home. 3D printing in metal, plastic, ceramics and composites have now become a reality. In fact, a revolution in the manufacturing industry is expected, as research is currently underway to 3D print electronic devices. However, this could pose a new risk to the payments industry by promoting fraudulent activity such as replication of card readers using 3D printing. Which is why, it makes sense to move to a payment method that’s more secure than the chip and pin.
Enhanced User Experience
The user experience with the chip and pin payment mode is quite poor, as it involves carrying several different payment and reward cards on one’s person. As such, the human wallet will help overcome this practical problem by providing an enjoyable shopping experience.
Lower Cost of Ownership
As payment technologies advance, their reliability also improves. This in turn brings down the overall cost of technology and associated services, making it more widely available for mass usage. The advancement in technology would also lower the false acceptance rate (FAR) and improve accuracy. Facial recognition systems currently achieve an accuracy rate of 98.75 per cent. In about 10 to 20 years we are more likely to rely on digital footprints rather than carry physical payment tokens.
At Mastek, we are excited about the opportunities that future payment technologies offer.
In fact, over the years, we have been closely involved in promoting futuristic technologies, as the technology partner for several UK banks and lending agencies. We were part of the pioneering team that introduced mobile payments for the London Congestion Charging scheme. We also delivered the largest enterprise level employee identity and access management system in Europe supporting 1.5m users for the NHS.