By Michael Gavin
Now 2016 is here, and we have another exciting year ahead in payments. As the industry changes and new payment methods evolve, great opportunities are presented for independent sales agents. Now is the perfect time to capitalize on these opportunities and keep your merchants ahead of the curve. Here's a look at five top payment trends to watch this year.
According to a recent study by eMarketer, (www.emarketer.com/Article/Mobile-Payments-Will-Triple-US-2016/1013147) mobile payments are predicted to triple in the United States in 2016. With Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay now available as standard features on newer smartphones, we'll see a rise in the number of consumers using their phones to make payments. Plus, in 2016, more merchants will have payment terminals and POS systems that can accept mobile payments.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments will be a trend to keep an eye on in 2016. Several free services are available that consumers use to pay each other. For example, instead of having to split a bill with exact cash, friends can use a P2P payment service to pay one another. Venmo, Facebook and Snapcash are among the most popular services, but recent industry news indicates that Apple is working on plans to integrate a P2P payment system into Apple Pay. It'll be interesting to see what this year holds for Apple.
2015 was the year of Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) because the liability shift went into effect on Oct. 1. Although we've passed the deadline, many merchants haven't upgraded their terminals, so we still have a long way to go. As of November 2015, only 41 percent of merchants had EMV-enabled equipment, according to a survey conducted by Newtek Business Services (http://bankingjournal.aba.com/2015/11/survey-only-41-percent-of-merchants-emv-ready/).
Of the merchants surveyed, over half said they don't have plans to upgrade. Also, many merchants with EMV-enabled equipment installed don't have EMV activated yet. Even some consumers haven't received chip cards. This means 2016 will be another busy year focused on EMV, and it will be interesting to see the progress the United States makes with EMV readiness and reducing fraud.
In today's digital world, omnichannel is essential for providing a seamless, consistent customer experience across all customer touch points. Many large retailers, such as Macy's and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., are investing in omnichannel strategies to provide better customer experiences. But omnichannel isn't only for large retailers.
Small businesses are also implementing omnichannel strategies to engage with their customers – whether via email, social media or mobile devices – to continue the conversation even when customers aren't in their stores. Providing a seamless customer experience both in-store and offline is key to your merchants' success.
Mobile POS (mPOS) systems have been around for some time, but more businesses are realizing the benefits of them, and the technology is more affordable than ever before. mPOS systems provide businesses better inventory management while freeing up floor and counter space. Businesses are also gravitating toward mPOS systems for the convenience that allows them to easily manage their businesses using an all-in-one solution and provide better customer experiences with quick checkouts located wherever customers may be in the store.
There's a lot ahead for the payments industry in 2016. It's important to keep pace with the latest trends and make sure your customers have the right technology and tools to stay ahead of the competition.
As Cayan's Senior Vice President, Sales, Michael Gavin is responsible for day-to-day management of the company's direct sales efforts including organizational structure, sales forecasts and overall strategies. He also oversees all sales activities within the company's agent channel, a growing network of more than 400 independent representatives throughout the United States. Michael has served as a key leader within the organization since joining the company in late 2000. An individual who has made numerous key contributions, Michael was the architect behind the design and development of the agent channel. Michael is a graduate of Merrimack College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Contact him at email@example.com.
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