Thursday, 20 July 2017 10:48

Visa says Australians ready for AI and IoT in commerce

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Credit card company Visa notes “more than half of Australians would prefer to use fingerprints, voice or retina scans in place of PINs when making payments and a quarter are ready for artificial intelligence to do their shopping".

Although cash should never die, despite credit card companies and governments fervently wishing it had already, it’s clearly that the people not only love cashless options, they love making intelligent payments via intelligent devices.

This and more is according to new research commissioned by Visa, and conducted by YouGov, using its “ActiveSampling to provide comprehensive market intelligence on a range of industry sectors”, sampling 500 people in Australia and conducted between 16 to 19 May.

The research showed that “more than a quarter (29%) of Australians are ready to use an Internet-connected device, like a smart home virtual assistant or connected fridge to make payments on their behalf". This number has grown dramatically in less than a year, from 12% in September 2016 (a result from a YouGov survey in September 2016).

We’re told that “this sharp increase is proof that Australia is a nation of enthusiastic adopters of new ways to pay".

Naturally, being research commissioned by Visa, Stephen Karpin, group country manager for Visa in Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific, had something to say on the topic, noting that “as technology continues to enable innovative experiences, Australia is on the brink of a new era of commerce".

Karpin said: ”Australian shoppers are at the forefront of the global evolution of commerce, providing a big opportunity to merchants and financial services providers to similarly lead their international counterparts in innovation.

“Over the past few years, we've seen developments that have significantly changed our payment experiences – from Visa payWave to wearables, such as smartwatches and even rings.

"As the Internet of Things and biometric capabilities become integrated into our everyday experiences, we'll experience a significant shift in how payments are made. In our lifetime, we will see infinitely more choice in how Australians pay, from watches, fridges and mobile phones, to eyes and fingers. And we'll experience personalisation that we never thought possible, powered by artificial intelligence."

On a global level, Visa tells us that “there are currently more than three billion Visa cards, accepted at 44 million merchant locations. Visa has predicted that with the introduction of connected devices and the continued growth of digital commerce, three billion cards will expand into 30 billion different ways of paying and 44 million merchant locations will become 400 million physical and digital acceptance points.”

It’s at this point that Visa points towards the futurist Anders Sorman-Nilsson, who we are told “shares this vision based on the trends he is tracking, and says that we're only at the beginning of a commerce revolution: ‘Ease of use will drive consumers to adopt new payment and commerce experiences. Connected, AI-enabled devices ready to pay will only be pervasive if the experience is easy, seamless and secure’.”

When it comes to biometrics, Visa explained that “many of the new payment methods are enabled by the use of biometrics as authentication – the most common example of this being the fingerprint scanner on a smartphone. More than half of respondents surveyed by YouGov (56%) said they are comfortable using their thumbprint, voice or retina for payment. According to the research, the appeal of biometrics is that it is more secure (45%) and the need to not have to remember a pin/password (40%) is driving consumer adoption and readiness".

But while consumers are keen to embrace biometric authentication, we learn that “less than half (39%) of respondents were willing to share their personal information in exchange for convenience in payments".

Karpin added: "This hesitance to share personal information in exchange for convenience is an important insight. At Visa, we believe in responsible innovation – that is, ensuring that security is built in from the start and that no new technology or capability comprises the integrity of the payments ecosystem.

"Australians are sophisticated adopters of technology and it's essential that we continue to assure them of the security of their information and identity. As technology enables truly personalised experiences that integrate elements of people's identities, such as fingerprints and irises, we will draw on our nearly 60 years of global leadership to continue securing the future of commerce.”

Visa has its separate report on “The Future of Payments” here.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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