The Future of Mobile Payments Will Be ‘Artificial Intelligence’

This is a section taken from a recent article I wrote on PayPal’s network.  

How we interact with computers—and to an extent the rest of the world—is changing. As you know, we no longer log on or are required to go to a computer to get online. We now carry computers with us all day, every day; we are always connected.

We do not have to reidentify ourselves and re-enter our credentials each time we go online. And with the inception of Siri, along with other crude artificial intelligence (AI) interfaces, it is now apparent that we will leverage new blends of AI and intelligent data systems integrated within our mobile devices to create very personal consumer experiences.

These technologies and more will drastically change our purchasing experiences. I see a future where the specific mobile device you carry doesn’t have any bearing on how you make a mobile payment. Take simple text, for example. It is fair to say that text messaging has taken over as the most common form of digital communication on the planet, with 6 billion capable devices and more than 8 trillion messages sent in 2011.

But what if SMS and messaging technologies were not only created for basic communications, but for commerce as well? Imagine being able to say things like “send a message to the coffee shop telling them I will be there in 10 minutes and I will have the usual,” and by the time you get there, your correct drink is sitting on the counter, already paid for.

This is not too far off. Actually, the technical requirements are manageable, and the right pieces just need to be put in the right places. The next few years will bring a fundamental shift in the economy as merchants and business adopt this popular method of communication and use it as a new form of commerce. It is already being accomplished through simple text, voice, and gestures, thanks to natural language processing within your mobile device.

Personalization will also become prevalent and is another key component in the future of payments. Today, most merchants still require voice calls to communicate with them; when it comes time to transact, the customer must actually be present with cash or credit card in hand. Think about how far brick-and-mortar retailers need to go to catch up with the e-commerce world. Even today, when I call a local merchant I’m asked to identify myself and to read my payment information (aloud) if I want to make a purchase.

How secure is that?

Interestingly, this lack of personalization does not change when I am present. As I walk in the door, the merchant has no idea who I am, how many times I have visited that location and what my purchase history there might look like. In a word, these retailers are ignorant. They lack the necessary and vital information to not only improve their operations but also make my customer experience much, much better. And why do I still need to stand in a line for them to swipe my card and write my signature before I leave?

A whole new world of possibilities opens up when personalized connections between customer and merchant are made available through mobile technologies and artificial intelligence.  Customers will be able to quickly find and interact with a merchant, requesting more information or making purchases when and where they feel most compelled. Since identification and payment credentials will have already been verified and stored securely in the cloud, transactions then become frictionless.  Merchants are not only afforded a more efficient method of communications and transactions, but also a unique perspective on each customer and a clearer picture of their entire customer base—in real time.

Visit to read the whole article.

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