Payment evolution 2024: What consumers are demanding

by Mark Mwongela: Sales Development Director at PayPal, for Africa
The notion of cash approaching redundancy and the prospect of people effortlessly tapping their phones and watches for payments would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. Payment technology, once a topic that enjoyed little attention, has transformed into a hub of innovation, embodying speed and futuristic characteristics. Payment methods are no longer just names; they have become verbs, symbols of how technologically-advanced consumers are and how well service providers understand the needs and desires of their shoppers. Unchanged, however, is the consumer need for affordability, security, and, more crucially than ever, payment convenience.

While similar themes have emerged in trend reports in recent years, 2024 is poised to mark an evolution in the way we make payments. Those who fail to adapt to these changes will simply be left behind.

Here's a glimpse of what consumers and merchants can anticipate in 2024:

Biometrics for enhanced security

We could be waving goodbye to passwords as biometric authentication becomes more widespread. Voice recognition will be incorporated alongside fingerprint scanning and facial recognition. This not only ensures heightened payment safety but also streamlines the payment process, placing convenience at the forefront. Companies like PayPal have been on the forefront by aligning to a new secure login standard created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium. A passkey allows you securely log in to PayPal without entering a password. Instead, you can login into your account using the same biometrics or device password you use to unlock your device.

AI-powered consumer satisfaction

Consumers continue to crave personalisation, not just in product recommendations but also in online support. Behind the scenes, AI can leverage the wealth of merchant and payment service providers’ data to enhance the consumer experience with personalised products and services offerings. It also provides instant support for queries or issue resolution, eliminating the need for time-consuming calls and wait times. Finally, through specialised fraud detectors that identity unusual transactions and issue instant alerts, AI can increase safety on payment platforms, building trust between shoppers and merchants and giving them peace of mind.

Swift and easy account-to-account (A2A) payments

There is a reason why A2A payments have long been the hero of real-time transactions – nothing says ease-of-use quite better. A popular business-to-business (B2B) and person-to-person (P2P) payment method, it is expected that A2A’s benefits for person-to-business (P2B) payments will be discovered in 2024. A surge in instant cross-border transactions can also be expected, benefitting both consumers and businesses.

Embedded payments for customer engagement

Losing a customer is as easy as one checkout step too many. Merchants can keep customers engaged and foster loyalty by incorporating embedded payments within their product apps. Simplifying the purchase process and ideally offering one-click payments can further increase conversions.

Cryptocurrencies and CBDCs

While crypto fever persists, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) will eventually introduce more payment alternatives and more disruptions. While crypto irons out regulation challenges, established trends like A2A and contactless payments, will however grow in adoption.

As we look to 2024, successful payment strategies will belong to service providers and merchants whose innovation remains steadfastly focused on customer needs, whether addressing existing ones or shaping new ones. The future of payments is not just about transactions; it's about crafting seamless, secure, and delightful experiences for every user, every click of the way.

Useful resources:
PayPal has quickly become a global leader in online payment solutions with more than 325 million accounts worldwide.
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