In an era of always-on internet connectivity, consumers are determined to work with those businesses which can provide them with the most convenient digital experience – and that includes when they pay. Whether it’s for a one-off payment or signing up for a recurring subscription, digital payment processing is one of the most rapidly evolving industries in the still-young internet age. We’ve come a long way since the mid-90s, but what does the future hold for online payment processing?
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
If we had to use one word to describe where online payment processing is headed, it would be mobile. In fact, this distinction is so important, you might want to say “mobile” more than once.
With the advent of smartphones and tablets, more and more people are looking to mobile payment processing solutions – whether they’re a consumer or a business owner. It’s more convenient for everyone involved:
- Formerly “cash-only” businesses (such as farmer’s markets) now have a solution to process credit or debit cards
- Incentive programs are far easier to implement with mobile payment processors – many providers include them out-of-the-box
- Tracking customer purchase habits and trends is significantly easier
- Increased competition between processors means lower user fees
These days, it’s not uncommon to see small businesses and local shop owners to eschew traditional POS (Point of Sale) systems all together and simply accept credit or debit payments with a tablet. This offers the business owner access to a full range of payment processing services, which we’ll explore next.
Tougher Competition Than Ever Before
Online payment processing companies are springing up left and right. Some are likely here to stay, and others will be drowned out by better, cheaper competition (or sheer noise). Online payment processing companies like Stripe, LevelUp, and Square are – predictably – all moving in the direction of making mobile payments as fast and affordable as possible.
Generally speaking, increased competition is usually a good thing for consumers, and the future of online payment processing will likely see better-designed apps, increased user-customization capabilities, additional features (such as fully integrated loyalty or incentive programs), and lower processing fees.
A Focus on Enhanced Security
The past decade has seen a surge in consumer concern regarding online security of all types, but especially in the arena of online payment processing. Data breaches can sink an otherwise successful company, and payment processors are scrambling to hire the best and the brightest in the world of computer security to ensure that their services are tightly controlled, monitored, and hacker-proof.
It’s likely that over the next five to ten years these focuses by payment processing companies will continue to be honed. User demand for international processing will probably increase, and one can likely expect to see more “niche” payment processors ( providers targeting specific business industries for laser-targeted services). This is a good time to be a business owner diving into the latest and greatest technological developments – and the future is looking even brighter.