Long reads

Top 5 payments updates this month

Sehrish Alikhan

Sehrish Alikhan

Reporter, Finextra

The payments field is a fast-paced and dynamic sector, with an increasing amount of products and services being launched on the daily. To keep updated with the latest innovations, here are the top stories in cards and digital payments in February 2024.

Check out my colleague Niamh Curran’s payments update to see what you missed in January 2024.

BNPL card installments

American Express launched a new offering in the UK for credit card bills to be paid in instalments, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) style. These ‘Plan It’ payments allow credit card holders to pay off portions of their credit card purchases over 3, 6, or 12 months for a monthly fee.

Similarly, BNPL firm Zilch released a ‘Pay over 3 months’ credit service to consumers to pay for expensive services such as electronics, home repairs, and more. The offering  will spread the price of the purchase in three installments for purchases over £75.

These moves to ensure consumers have more diverse options to make installment payments for big purchases signifies the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. People are unable to make one-off payments with the same ease as inflation rises, and BNPL is the easiest solution for those looking to spread out their spending on big-ticket items.

Biometric cards

Garanti BBVA in Turkey has launched a biometric card that allows users to make digital payments by scanning their fingerprint on contactless terminals. Passwords can be added as additional requirements. This innovation in biometrics makes the payment more seamless and does not require the consumer to remember PINs.

Moves in mobile wallets

Google Pay has been sacrificed in the name of Google Wallet in the US, in order to simplify the platform. Google Pay and Google Wallet were both available in the US previously, but the company has decided to dial down to just one app as Google Wallet is used nearly five times more often than its counterpart.

Digital wallets and contactless payments are commonalities nowadays, however the usage of contactless payments from the older generations is increasing rapidly. A Barclays’ report found that the fastest growth over touch and pay transactions is coming from over 65s, with 85-95 year olds also increasing their usage of mobile wallets in the UK in 2023.

Visa allied with Conferma Pay to use tokenisation technology in making digital corporate cards available for employees in their mobile wallets. The use of tokenisation is intended to make the transactions more secure and frictionless, enabling users to have easy access to their corporate cards alongside Apple Pay and Google Pay transactions.

EU payments step up

Instant payments has also seen adoption in the EU, with the Council and European Parliament agreeing to new regulation that will make instant payments in the euro available for consumers and merchants in the EU and EEA nations. The move marks a new secure form of instant payments, and the increase in demand for immediate transactions for all users.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has also taken the lead in the UK’s Faster Payments service, moving ahead of Mastercard’s Vocalink. The Faster Payments infrastructure is an emerging form of instant payment transactions that is still being established, but will further the payments capabilities in the UK. My colleague Niamh Curran recently explained Faster Payments in more detail in another article.

Amazon launches Just Walk Out technology

Amazon has debuted its checkout-free purchasing service with the Canberra Institute of Technology Association at a campus store, allowing students to pick up and (you guessed it!) Just Walk Out with their items during the busy period.

The first of potentially many of Amazon’s cashierless stores uses AI technology to detect items and having a card terminal at the exit to immediately charge customers. Many high-street shops now use self-checkout systems, with clothing stores like Uniqlo requiring customers to only drop items into a basket and using self-scanning technology to detect what purchases are being made. Amazon’s stores take it a step further, using AI to quicken the shopping process by avoiding queues and creating a seamless experience.

Comments: (0)