The Future of Payments

11 January 2016: Head of Payments, Paul Horlock, looks at how our payment habits have rapidly evolved over the last year and new developments to come, including biometrics.

  • Nationwide now offers more ways to pay than ever before, adding ApplePay, Paym and wearable banking in 2015.
  • The speed of adoption is ever increasing and mobile payments will reach a mass-market level faster than any other payment method before them.
  • The use of biometrics to provide a safe, secure and convenient way to authenticate payments will become a reality.

Over one million mobile payments are made each month by Nationwide customers and this figure has grown by almost 60 per cent over the last year. This growth is perhaps unsurprising in a year where the Society introduced a number of new ways to pay, including Apple Pay and Paym, alongside a roll-out of wearable banking to Apple Watch; meaning that we now offer more payment methods than ever before. This growth in transactions can also be partly attributed to the increase in ‘micro payments’ with more and more people making small transactions e.g.  buying music or extra lives for their favourite iPhone game.  My expectation is that digital and mobile payments will only increase – there are simply more things available to buy, and we are becoming more comfortable using new payment methods.

I think 2016 is going to be a really exciting period as we move towards mass adoption of digital payments and more traditional ways of paying, such as the cheque, receive a 21st century makeover e.g. the introduction of cheque imaging. The speed of adoption is ever increasing and mobile payments will reach a mass-market level faster than any other payment method before them. One example of the speed of technology adoption springs to mind; in July 2014, just 20 months after launch, we serviced more transactions on our mobile app than on our internet bank, which has been around since 1997 and was the first in financial services. In 2015, Nationwide has issued our three millionth contactless card, executed over a billion transactions and enable millions of mobile payments each month.

Looking beyond this year, it seems like the use of biometrics to provide a safe, secure and convenient way to authenticate payments will become a reality. Already, millions of people use fingerprints to unlock devices and to initiate mobile payments and organisations are exploring facial recognition, voice mapping and even the signature of someone’s blood flow as potential ways to authenticate transactions. As biometrics continue to evolve, highly personal ways to pay will transform the payments landscape.

For more detail on the payment methods offered by the Society please our Payments Hub. 

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