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Etymologically, the verb "to pay" comes from

pacare

, which means "to pacify" in Latin

.

The one who pays, he pacifies the one who collects when he pays him the amount he owes, but he also pacifies himself.

Or as popular knowledge summarizes it:

He who pays, rests, and he who charges more

.


The truth is that paying hurts, especially if your resources are limited.

That is why banks and companies specializing in means of payment spare no resources to reduce what is known in the world of financial marketing as

payment friction.


The objective is that checkout does not scratch, and

the solution that technology offers for that is that you stop paying for your purchases

.

It will pay for your car, it will pay for your fridge, it will pay for your virtual assistant or the shopping cart, but not you.

And the few times you do, you'll do it almost without realizing it: no cards, no pins, no passwords... but also risk-free.

Of course, do not flatter yourself: no matter how the payment is made, the money will continue to come out of your account.


WHAT ARE INVISIBLE PAYMENTS

"

We have to go more and more towards what has been called invisible payments

so that the user has no friction at the time of purchase and that it is as fast, comfortable and known as possible", explains Susana Rubio, director of Digital Payments and Innovation from MasterCard.

All this, not in a distant science fiction future.

Since now.

In reality,

almost all the technologies that will make this revolution possible have been quite well known for a few years

: meat of

early adopters

in some cases or have even been tested during the pandemic.

What is yet to come is its massive implementation and the progressive disappearance of cash or even cards.

In fact, according to Rubio, 80% of payments at the point of sale are already made using the

contactless system.

And according to the

II Study of Mobile Payment Trends in Spain

, prepared by Visa, 40% of Spaniards already pay with their mobile phone.

The changes are going to multiply exponentially and the disruption at an accelerated pace is going to continue

Ignacio Navarte, Deputy CEO of PagoNxt Merchant Solutions


So dizzying has been the change from the savings book to the card and from the card to

online

banking

, the

smartphone and

wearables (smartwatches, rings, bracelets...)

that we have the feeling that we have reached the future in what which refers to the means of payment.

And yet, the future is still being written.

"The changes are going to multiply exponentially and the disruption at an accelerated pace is going to continue, without a doubt," warns Ignacio Navarte, Deputy CEO of PagoNxt Merchant Solutions, Banco Santander's

fintech

specialized in digital payments.


But what can we expect from that future?

"Basically, the future of payments is going to be similar to the present, since the basis is always going to be an exchange of value between two parties that triggers a monetary transaction in which a financial institution transfers money from the account A to account B", argues Benito Méndez, Director of Technology and Product at the

fintech

Hey Trade.

"From that base,

what you add is a layer of technology

that defines how that transaction occurs and verifies that you have decided to make that payment freely and without being coerced.

And that is where a revolution is

taking place , "he adds.


PAY WITH YOUR FOOTPRINT, FACE, VOICE OR PULSE

It is already common to pay with your fingerprint on many

smartphones

, but little by little

facial recognition, hand vein recognition or even your own voice will gain ground

.

In some cases, using the cameras and sensors of your mobile phone to confirm that it is you who is carrying out the operation, but also without the need to carry any device with you: you go to the checkout line, your face is scanned and your Count what you bought.

That is exactly what Mastercard launched in five supermarkets in São Paulo in May.


"We have been creating a path that has been dematerializing the physical card," Rubio summarizes another of the future trends in means of payment.

A dematerialization that will probably

make credit and debit cards, coins and bills disappear

, despite the fact that they still represent an important part of the transactions carried out in the physical world.


"We have been creating a path that has been dematerializing the physical card"

Susana Rubio, Director of Digital Payments and Innovation

But that will only be the beginning.

Thus, of the three procedures established by the European directive on digital payments PSD2, we

will increasingly use something that we are (fingerprint, voice, face...) to verify our identity

, compared to something that we have (a card or a mobile) or something we know (a password or a pin).


"The risk of each extra security layer that you introduce is that it can

worsen the user experience,

which is why certain technology is being promoted that allows you to identify patterns during the purchase to know when it is you who is doing the operation and when it is not. , without the need for you to intervene," underlines Méndez.

Secure and invisible means of payment are sought

, and in this field biometric technology is unrivaled.

Even the tests carried out in many Nordic countries to

implant RFID chips (those that make

contactless

payment possible ) sound like an unpleasant and outdated dystopia

compared to facial or fingerprint recognition.


BEHAVIORAL BIOMETRY

What is known as

behavioral biometrics

is especially striking .

Thanks to this technology, companies that ensure payment security are able to

identify your mobile usage patterns

: whether you hold it with your left or right hand, at what angle you hold it, at what speed you press the keys, what your heart rate usually is, where you are...

Image of Mastercard's pilot experience in payments with facial recognition, launched in May in five supermarkets in Sao Paulo.


"They ask you to access your phone's camera, microphone, accelerometer and compass, because that allows them to ensure the security of operations in a non-intrusive way and detect, for example, that two operations are being carried out at thousands of kilometers away with a difference of a couple of hours", explains Méndez.

"If you give them access to the information from your

health

app ,

they will be able to detect if you are making that coerced payment because they have put a knife to your neck

," adds the director of Technology and Product of Hey Trade.

It is one more example of how payments will become invisible, but the list is long.

It also includes the model of the Amazon Go stores, which

will open their first location in Spain in 2024

.

Upon entering them, a camera identifies you and follows your figure at all times as you walk between the shelves.

When you pick up an item, cameras and sensors installed throughout the store recognize it and add it to your virtual shopping cart and then collect it without going through a checkout line.

And vice versa when you put the product back on the shelf.


METAVERSE AND INTERNET OF THINGS

"Another example that we see nearby is

payment by voice through virtual assistants or even connected cars

," says Rubio.

"It is very practical to think of making a purchase through these devices using the voice to authenticate that purchase," he suggests, introducing another of the phenomena that will cause a profound transformation in the world of payments: the Internet of Things (IoT, for its acronym in English).

Let your car, your house, your fridge, your Alexa... pay for your gasoline, electricity, milk, a burned-out light bulb...

"Any connected device will be used to make payments and if the size is small enough we can wear them attached to our clothes or even on our body," explains Navarte.

"

A large part of the future of payments goes through the IoT, digital payments in real time and web 3.0

, which also opens up new possibilities for us, such as the metaverse", enumerates the Deputy CEO of PagoNxt Merchant Solutions.

Indeed,

that of immediate digital payments is another of the revolutions that we have experienced in recent years

almost without realizing it.

Does anyone remember how the paddle tennis courts were paid or the bill for a dinner was distributed before the Bizum existed?

They will be able to detect if you are making that coerced payment because they have put a knife to your neck

Benito Méndez, Director of Technology and Product at Hey Trade

As for the

metaverse

, Méndez believes that "one of the keys to its construction will be the processes by which money is moved from your real-world account to the virtual world."

Much to do yet.

The same headaches that conversions between digital currencies and conventional money are already generating.

"What we have done is that you can pay with your cryptocurrencies, but that the entire transaction is carried out in fiat currency [the one we usually use]," explains Susana Rubio from the Mastercard experience.

"At the time of purchase, a double verification of the user is made, it is checked if you have enough cryptocurrency balance and

the bitcoins you need to pay are sold at the time

."

HOW WILL I CONTROL WHAT I PAY?

It is clear that the user gains in comfort with all these invisible and immediate systems, but they also raise many

concerns and ethical dilemmas

.

What are the risks of giving all kinds of companies access to your pulse, your morphology or your mobile usage patterns?

Will data protection legislation be enough to prevent the misuse of that information?

How will the user control his expenses if a good part of his payments will take place without him being aware of them?

"The concern about invisible payments has come up many times (...) but the surveys we have carried out tell us that users accept them calmly and with confidence:

83% of those surveyed consider that biometrics is more secure than password

, and 92% of people consider it more convenient", adds Rubio, who does not rule out the need to add "an additional layer to the system to help the user be aware that a transaction has been completed".

At Mastercard, for example, they launched their Sonic Brand a little over a year ago, a characteristic sound of the brand that the user will hear every time a payment is made so that it is not completely invisible.

A first way (but more will come) to ensure that payments do not generate anxiety for the user.

Because paying, as we have already said, should always be synonymous with staying in peace.


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Know more

  • Santander Bank

  • Bizum

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