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The Green Sheet Online Edition

March 27, 2023 • Issue 23:03:02

The very point of sale: Give laggards another chance

By Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Considering all we do by smartphone—checking in and checking out; scanning QR codes; streaming movies, music and podcasts; and engaging on social media—making calls is practically an afterthought. Technology has made us generalists by providing an array of apps and capabilities that no one but a total geek could totally master.

There's no doubt paytech has become simpler, but its expanding array of choices can make life complicated for consumers, merchants and service providers. Following are examples.

  • Consumer choices: At checkout, consumers can apply loyalty points at the POS; obtain instant credit; open a store account; tap phones, wearables or contactless cards; pay by cash, crypto, foreign currency, credit or debit; and choose to receive print, email or text receipts.
  • Merchant choices: Merchants can process payments across channels via fixed POS devices, mobile applications, websites, and digital and livestream media to meet customers wherever they shop. They can also manage their businesses from anywhere with all-in-one systems that do more than process credit card payments.
  • Service provider choices: Merchant acquirers, processors, payment gateways and software developers can embed payments directly into service offerings to provide instant customer onboarding and a consistent, uninterrupted customer experience. Numerous businesses leverage payment facilitation to create seamless commerce, using traditional payfacs, payfac-as-a-service and other customized integration models.

Life outside the margins

Jodie Kelley, CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association, cited speed, security and reliability as payments industry hallmarks that consumers and businesses rely on when receiving, spending, sending and holding money, stating, "ETA encourages policymakers to create a positive policy environment to support continued innovation and the use of technology to improve financial outcomes for all members of society."

Commenting on a February 2023 ETA study, Advancing Economic Inclusion: Empowering Underserved Communities with Fintech, Kelley noted digital services can help small businesses in underserved communities. "New digital payment options, for example, mean that people no longer have to wait weeks for a physical check," ETA researchers wrote. "Online purchases now account for billions of dollars in monthly purchasing volume and ETA member companies strive to continually improve the electronic payments and financial ecosystem to ensure its security, efficiency, and availability to as many consumers as possible."

Expanding access to financial services empowers all consumers, researchers added, by helping them take charge of their financial health to create a resilient, inclusive economy. The report is available at https://electran.org/wp-content/uploads/2023-ETA-Advancing-Economic-Inclusion-Whitepaper.pdf.

Tough choices

As consumers and businesspeople, we frequently make difficult decisions about which payment methods to use or accept and which technology platforms best serve our needs. If our lives were as straightforward as our technologies, these choices would not be overwhelming. Consider, however, the cumulative impact of all our decisions on our families, communities, companies and professional networks. It may be true that tech allows us to do more with less, but it has also given us less time to react, think and strategize.

When we dismiss people for not being technically savvy, financially literate or professionally successful, we miss opportunities to connect, engage and learn from each other. The more interesting question is why these people are focusing on areas outside of our mainstream culture. When a merchant is using ancient POS equipment, look beyond the legacy tech for something remarkable and innovative. When a person is using a feature phone, look for a game-changing product, service or project, and remember Michelangelo worked for long stretches of time on a scaffold far from modern conveniences and maddening interruptions.

When a chatbot makes you want to scream, "representative," at the top of your lungs, remember your service provider is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to ensure every consumer is seen and heard, and the AI is doing its best to fill that gap. Save your vocal cords for more important matters like sporting events and choir practice. Let's give technology laggards the benefit of the doubt and follow this popular T-shirt's advice: "Everyone around you is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always." end of article

Dale S. Laszig, senior staff writer at The Green Sheet and managing director at DSL Direct LLC, is a payments industry journalist and content strategist. Connect via email dale@dsldirectllc.com, LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/dalelaszig/ and Twitter @DSLdirect.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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