Payments in Focus Insight that keeps you ahead of change

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Sound on: the payments evolution and integration of sound

by: Nick Corrigan
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The payments landscape is fast evolving. From bartering with goods and services, to the acceptance of coins and notes, and the rise of the bank card in the 20th century, it’s fair to say that the pace of innovation shows no sign of slowing. Recently, we’ve seen mobile payments become the norm. Research released at the end of 2018 showed that the uptake of mobile payments in the UK (like Apple, Google and Android Pay), has quadrupled in the last two years.

We’re now also seeing voice develop in the payments process. In the past couple of years, Santander, Barclays, First Direct and others, have all launched voice activated payments for customers. According to a Business Insider report, the growth we’re seeing in voice payments is driven by three things: “The explosion of voice-enabled devices, generational gains in artificial intelligence and a strong consumer value proposition for voice payments”.

Consumer demand for this kind of multi-sensory interaction is definitely growing stronger which is a direct result of new types of payments methods. For example, with mobile wallets, you see less of the logo but want the assuredness of the brand, which is something that sound can deliver.

Here at Global Payments, we believe that the payment is an incredibly crucial step in the commerce journey, whether online or in store. As sales expert and motivational speaker, Patricia Fripp, says: “You don’t close a sale; you open a relationship”. In our view, this is because of the data and information that can be taken from the payment and what you can then give back to the customer in the future, providing them with tailored experiences.

Using this data, merchants can find out more about customers’ spending behaviours, whether that’s the average value of the shopping basket, or the time of the transactions, whether they are new or returning customers, to postal code heat maps and competitive benchmarking. This then creates new opportunities they may not have previously seen, such as chances to upsell or engage with customers in a different way that may be better suited to them.

Because this payment step is so important, it needs to develop in line with what customer expectations, which is clearly heading towards sound.

At this year’s annual golf tournament, The Open, at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland, we were incredibly proud to have showcased Mastercard’s Sonic brand. This comes as part of our partnership with Mastercard and, the global leader in the innovation of consumer payment devices, Ingenico. Together, we are enabling the Mastercard Sonic brand to be played when a successful Mastercard credit, debit or Maestro transaction is made.

The Mastercard Sonic melody is a distinct and memorable sound that can be played when a transaction takes place. It is described as a “digital brand for a digital consumer”, with audio allowing people to “feel things” and connect brands with consumers in a new way.

We have a long history of supporting Mastercard to showcase its latest technologies and its Sonic brand is no exception. As payments continue to evolve, an audio identity is a clear example of embracing the importance of sound in the payments process and, ultimately, helping merchants to foster strong customer relationships.