As technology continues to involve, so too does the payment processing industry. While swiping a card at a credit card machine is still the most common way to pay for an in-person purchase, there are now seemingly endless ways to make purchases with smartphones and other forms of technology, paving the way toward a cash-free society in the future. Here’s a look at some of the newest and most interesting ways to pay for purchases today.
Digital Wallet Payment Apps
An eWallet or digital wallet is a service or device that allows you to complete transactions. Digital wallets can be used to securely store information for multiple bank accounts and credit cards to make purchases online and even in-store using a smartphone. These payment systems are popular for convenience, security, and low fees as users aren’t charged extra credit card processing fees. Merchants who accept mobile wallet payments only pay their current fees through their processor. There are more than a dozen eWallets in use now. Some of the most popular include:
- Google Pay. Google Pay combines Android Pay and Google Wallet with a digital platform and online payment system that can be used to make purchases with your phone, tablet, or smartwatch. The app will also eventually offer peer-to-peer transactions. Many U.S. banks have even started installing cardless ATMs that allow you to make withdrawals using an NFC-enabled phone. Purchases through Google Pay do not come with credit card processing fees for users.
- Apple Pay. Apple Pay is the most widely accepted mobile payment system in the U.S. Launched in 2014, the payment system began to gain traction when merchants began upgrading their credit card machines with NFC technology that enables Apple Pay.
- PayPal. While not as popular as it once was, PayPal is accepted by more than one-third of retailers in the United States.
- Venmo. This popular wallet allows you to send money to friends or even the landlord. Venmo can be used to send money from the app to a Facebook account, email address, or mobile number without fees.
Social Media Payments
Several social media platforms have started to explore payment systems of their own. These payments can be divided into two categories: peer-to-peer transfers and purchases. A popular social peer-to-peer payment option is SnapCash by SnapChat which lets users exchange money between accounts instantly with the money transferred directly between bank accounts without being stored in an app or wallet. Pinterest has added an option to let users make purchases directly through Pinterest. Facebook has also introduced social payments with a friend-to-friend payment feature through Facebook Messenger and the ability to purchase products directly from Pages.
Of course, no discussion of new payment technology is complete without mentioning digital currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Digital currencies have grown in popularity among younger consumers who enjoy the freedom and convenience of a virtual currency. With a Bitcoin wallet, for example, consumers can make peer-to-peer payments and online purchases. A number of major retailers even accept Bitcoin, including Dish Network, Expedia, Overstock, and many Shopify stores.
Other New Ways to Pay
There are even more unique ways to pay for everything from tips to fashion accessories. Here are a handful of other new payment apps and solutions.
- Slyce, which allows app users to take a picture of a fashion item like a dress to see and buy products that match closely.
- Bionym, a unique method of identify verification based on your heartbeat. The Nymi bracelet authenticates the user by their unique ECG with sensors that constantly verify that the authenticated person is wearing the bracelet. Mastercard and the Royal Bank of Canada have started testing wrist-based purchases already.
- Sign2Pay, which brings technology back to the old-fashioned signature. Sign2Pay analyzes how a signature is written based on keystrokes, pressure, and when and where the finger leaves the screen to pay by phone without an additional authentication device. After registering, users can pay for transactions online.