Alternative payments and m-commerce.



As COVID shines a light on the vagaries of using cash, reports say the virus can live on bank notes for 28 days, alternative methods of payment (AMOP) have become the answer to clean money.

AMOP covers credit and debit cards, loyalty points as cash, crypto-currencies in all their indeterminate natures, e-wallets and any kind of online financial banking transfer. The most popular, plastic cards, has also been our longest tie to non cash transactions and has seen a resurgence as they became part of the mobile and online landscape and morphed into the popular e-wallets such as PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay. The least popular, outside of the USA, is the old paper cheque which still needs to be handled by way too many people to make it a viable clean alternative. This change in payment alternatives is forcing bricks and mortar retailers and service providers to increase their product range via digital diversity to reinvent themselves online. Frictionless transactions and multichannel payment options are shifting everything to m-commerce (mobile commerce) as retailers discern the need to stay online to survive.

Over the next decade, there will be following generations that will never again handle paper currency. These generations and all who follow them will be attached to their mobile devices with biometric recognition, be it facial, fingerprint or voice recognition, which will enable them to securely transact without even knowing what their currency looks like. The rise of m-commerce within e-commerce has come about because of the ubiquity of mobile devices and the ability to transact 24/7/365. In fact Juniper Research has estimated around 78% of e-commerce transactions took place over the ubiquitous mobile phone in 2020. The reach capacity of the mobile phone with its specific wallet and payment options has enabled customer engagement to take place at any time and any place. Add to this, the security to pay with a hand held device and the digitisation of payments is almost complete.

All methods of alternate payments will have the potential to be housed within your hand. This will be surreptitious, as research is suggesting mobile payment volumes for remote (see online) physical and digital products will increase globally by 730% over the next 5 years. As consumer awareness increases for frictionless transactions, m-commerce will need to be accepted by all merchants and anyone needing to survive online and otherwise. COVID has fundamentally changed buyer behaviours towards e-commerce via m-commerce and the growing concern that this is not a one off pandemic, will see these behaviours sustained.