By Jake Wamser, Director of Business Development
Money20/20 is always one of my favorite weeks of the year, and 2017 was no different. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with our peers, learn from each other and explore what’s new in the world of fintech, payments and incentives.
So how are these industry innovators shaping the future of payments? Here are my top three takeaways from the event. Bonus: These topics dovetail perfectly with our own research study coming soon on the Future of Rewards. Stay tuned for an e-book with our complete findings and insights.
1. Security is top of mind for consumers and the industry
Do you shop, redeem incentives, make payments all online? I do, and so does everybody else. In fact, 96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase in their life, 80% in the past month alone. And so modern customers are also becoming increasingly aware of the need for security.
This year, organizations showcased their new security protocols and safeguards to ensure that your money — and systems that handle it — are protected. In fact, more than a few organizations in the payment arena unveiled new biometric and facial recognition software to keep your money secure. As customers engage with more and more companies digitally, they not only need to feel comfortable that their data is secure, they demand it.
That’s why Virtual Incentives has pioneered, and will continue to innovate, security protocols for the incentives space. In 2018, companies cannot afford to treat security as afterthought; and if they do, they’ll be left behind.
2. Consumers want it now
Consumers don’t want to wait. They don’t want to wait for packages (Hello, Amazon Prime), and they don’t want to wait for money or incentives, especially if it’s already earned. So it only makes sense, then, that payments and incentives providers would follow suit and find ways to deliver instantaneously – from rebates to survey incentives and everything in between.
It was refreshing to see that immediacy was on everyone’s mind at Money20/20. But instant and digital are two things Virtual Incentives has been perfecting since our inception.
In fact, Vi was selected for the second year in a row to provide Visa Virtual Rewards to the winners of Visa’s Hackathon at Money20/20. Which means rewards were instantly received by the winning team members and were immediately available to spend.
Bottom line: consumers view technologies that can’t deliver immediately as irrelevant. It’s up to us – organizations in the payments industry – to find ways to answer their demands.
3. Technology needs to keep pace with consumer demands
Unsurprising, with every other shift in the fintech industry, the technology behind digital payments must also evolve. The need for mobile forms of payments is growing exponentially every year. In 2018 and beyond, companies must be able to support mobile wallet integrations as well as most other forms of digital currency.
What is clear is that new technologies in the payments sector will drive growth. Technologies that offer engagement beyond the normal transactions will be necessary. Not only will they need to provide rewards in the blink of an eye, each transaction creates another touchpoint between the brand and the consumer, driving engagement, loyalty and even brand advocates.
Virtual Incentives is committed to pushing ourselves and our industry forward, and developing the technologies and products that keep pace with the demands of real life. 2018 is already shaping up to be a very exciting year. The future is bright, indeed.