January 2019

What Are Some of the Top 2019 Payment Trends SMEs Should Know About?

2 minute read

It's never been more apparent that technology is rapidly changing our everyday lives. This includes how we make and receive payments. Instead of a simple choice between cash, cheque, or credit, today's buyers and sellers enjoy a wider assortment of payment options than ever before.

Learn about the insights and innovations driving some of the top payment trends for small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) businesses in 2019 and consider what these mean for your own business.

1. Mobile and Contactless

More than half of Canadians now use a mobile banking app. A recent J.D. Power 2018 Canada Credit Card Satisfaction Study reports that in the previous three months more than 51 percent of card holders have used a mobile app to manage their accounts or redeem rewards.

In addition, the 2018 Payments Pulse Survey: Consumer Edition cites that 70 percent of those who have downloaded an e-wallet onto their smartphones have used the contactless feature since it became available in Canada. Approximately 43 percent of Canadians are interested in payments becoming more invisible.

2. Earnings Rewards on Payments

Rewards on card products continue to be an important trend in payments. The J.D. Power report also found that 87 percent of credit card holders are enrolled in a rewards program. Of those respondents, 64 percent said they completely understand how to redeem rewards. In this competitive market, ensuring customers can use their favourite form of payment can give your business a distinct advantage.

3. Superior Customer Service, User Experience, and Security

As customers are provided with more payment choices than ever before, superior customer service, user experience, and security have never been more important. Simple, easy-to-navigate instructions, fast processing, and secure transaction tools allow customers to make payments smoothly and efficiently.

As a small business owner, a focus on improving and enhancing these areas will be key. According to the latest American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, nearly six out of 10 (59 percent) Canadians are willing to pay a premium for extra service, while at the same time, many Canadians remain disappointed in the levels of customer service they receive from businesses, with those experiences rarely exceeding their expectations.

Likewise, at a time when organizations are focused on the importance of security in all aspects of their business, payment processing is no different. Payment solutions like American Express vPayment®, which assigns a specific-use virtual account number to each transaction, can help businesses increase controls while reducing errors and the risk of fraud.

4. AI and Analytics

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and analytics are being leveraged across a wide range of business applications, including payments. Analytics can be used to identify patterns and uncover opportunities in massive amounts of data. As a customer, you may see offers or other perks served up to you based on your payment patterns. As a business organization accepting payments, you may soon have opportunities to extend targeted offers to your own customers based on their payments.

5. Pay Everywhere, with Anything

The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) era means consumers are becoming more comfortable with making purchases from somewhere other than at a store counter or even their laptop or smartphone. As more "things" like appliances and accessories are manufactured to allow internet connectivity, users can make payments in many ways.

For example, more shoppers now buy items through voice-activated personal assistants on smartphones, like Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri, with payments made from the default payment product on file with Amazon or Apple. Users of direct wireless speakers, like Amazon Echo can even pay some of their bills directly. It's also possible to make payments through appliances or accessories, such as a smartwatch and even clothing.

Although there's little Canadian-specific information, the recent Capgemini Conversational Commerce study on the rise of virtual voice assistants found that 28 percent of respondents have made payments or purchases through their voice assistant.

As the rapid advance of technology continues to shape the payments industry, it's likely that additional options for making and receiving payments will emerge over the next 12 months. By staying up to date on what's new, what's now, and what's to come in the world of payments, business owners can better equip themselves to grow—and flourish—in 2019 and beyond.