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July 24, 2017

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Paying for goods and services becomes a fingertip transaction

CASH and cards in your pocket? They are no longer necessary as consumers venture into the realm of digital payments.

Just as cards took over for cash years before, digital wallets are now replacing the card. It’s a hot trend in China and elsewhere in the world.

Consumers can pay their bills, restaurant tabs, travel accommodation and merchandise purchases with their mobile phones, wearable devices or other connected terminals almost everywhere.

Payment service corporations are now transferring their core business into technology development that makes such a cashless society possible.

Digital payment services off an array of choices. The most popular in Chinese mainland is the QR code, which lets consumers just scan a bar code to pay for goods and services, or obtain information. In other areas of the Asia-Pacific region, contactless “near-field communication” (NFC) is another quite popular way of payment. For instance, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and other near-field communication systems have specific projects currently operating with success in Taiwan.

Biometrics is another creative payment, powered by recognition of information provided by fingerprint, voice or face features.

This technology can be used in payments both online and offline with connected devices and have the advantage of convenience and security. It does not need a stored template like a bank card, but with easily accessible and secure biometric authentication like one’s fingerprint, people can complete a payment process.

Artificial intelligence, the hot trend in the technology industry, also will exert great influence over future payment systems.

Ben Gilbey, vice president of the digital payment and creation laboratory at Mastercard Asia-Pacific, said artificial intelligence will bring huge changes to every aspect of social life. For payment service companies, artificial intelligence can be used to take the place of cashiers and clerks in stores, markets and banks.

Artificial intelligence is being developed to listen and understand what people are seeking to do, using algorithms to provide intelligent feedback and advice.

Payment service companies lay great emphasis on creating open developer platforms, where partners can provide goods and services through a series of application program interfaces and software development kits. That embeds payment capability into all their cross-industrial partners’ products.

Application programming interface, a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various software components, is a technology that plays an important role in creative payment development.

The interface can be provided to corporate partners to simplify the overall digital payment process, carrying data and unified safe payment standards.

The top two leading payment service companies, Visa and MasterCard, have both established their own open platforms, called Visa Developer Platform and Mastercard Developers Platform. Cooperation is built between payment service corporations and finance technology companies to develop innovations in fields such as intelligent stores, wearable devices and intelligent voice interaction.

“Visa views its mission as ensuring that every terminal connected to the network can be a secure payment terminal,” said Shirley Yu, president of Visa China. “There will be 21 billion connected devices throughout the world in three years. Preparation needs to set up global partner networks.”


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