Soon a world in which you no longer have to use your credit card or your smartphone to pay?

[AVIS D’EXPERT] Like Amazon with its cashless stores, more and more companies are thinking about ways to let their customers pay “frictionless”. Decoding with our expert Guillaume Almeras, founder of the monitoring and advisory site Score Advisor.

Tomorrow we will live in a world of ‘postpay’, announces a thought-provoking recent study published by fintech Marqeta & consultancy Consult Hyperion, based on a survey of the UK and European public.

A world of “pay afterwards” does not mean that everything will be free, but that payment will no longer be necessary. There are already several examples, such as the Just Walk Out cashless technology deployed in Amazon Go stores. It uses cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence to exempt customers from paying for their purchases before they leave the store. Just log into your Amazon account and scan a QR code at the entrance. Then there is nothing left but shopping. Cameras and sensors identify the chosen items and the bill is automatically debited at the exit. Such a payment-free shopping experience is called “frictionless”.

According to the study by Marqeta Consult Hyperion, this “frictionless” approach will become widespread. We will always buy things, but in a way it will be done without us. And that requires two preparatory steps.

Generalize contactless payment first and since it is not the intention to use specific payment methods, it is best to use our bodies directly. These could be specialized chips tucked into our clothes, our watches or directly under the skin of our hands – according to the survey, 51% of respondents would be willing to consider it. But facial or speech recognition will also do the job very well.

Payment behavior is slowly changing

Then our payments are supported. Remember that our social existence tomorrow will be inextricably linked to one or more apps from which our lives are managed and our behavior is constantly guided. Driving is already an increasingly better example of this. Artificial intelligence is going to help us with that: given the circumstances and our financial situation, is it better to activate a credit card option instead of just using a debit card? Do you opt for a split payment? Since these questions are very exhausting and for a “frictionless” life, let our apps not only help us, but even decide what is best for us.

But of course do nothing! The study proves this. Our financial management apps will have to respect ethical rules. There are things we don’t want to fund. Tomorrow there are things that our apps won’t let us fund. And the survey shows that many, especially the youngest, accept and even demand such facilities.

Of course, these prospects are cause for concern. But the study’s authors seem pretty confident. Today, the great debates about individual freedom no longer have much impact. Through social networks and influencers, the adoption of new technologies is tribal. It spreads through the conversion of affiliate groups. That is why financial education, which banks have been working on for a few years now, is actually an empty word. As Brett King — a thought leader on banking innovation in the United States — puts it — the best way to enhance financial well-being is “not to teach, but simply to facilitate.”

All the slaves to relieve tomorrow? The merit of this study is to outline a clear outlook for 2030, arguing that payments are one of the areas where behavior is most conservative. Contactless payment bears witness to this: it took 15 years and the outbreak of a global pandemic to install it. It usually takes a generation for one payment method to largely replace the other. Previously, it was previously added to existing ones (and that is now the case with contactless payments). Here’s what can be objected to about the future payment landscape the study portrays. But that’s all.

By Guillaume Almeras, founder of the monitoring and advisory site Score Advisor

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