With 2022 quickly approaching, we’re looking towards the future and predicting the trends that will start (or continue, in some cases) to influence the way we pay. Whether you’re a consumer, merchant, bank, or provider, these trends will significantly impact the look and feel of merchant services from your perspective for potentially years to come. The world of payment is having an identity crisis, and the entire industry is being reimagined in the process. This is an exciting but turbulent time for merchant services, and these trends will most likely be the driving force behind this turbulence.
Trend 01: Customer Service Will Be a Differentiator
Payment processors and merchant service providers have to adapt to the times, and gone are the days where faster processing and better payment security are differentiators for merchants when choosing a partner. That’s not to say these things aren’t crucial; they are. The difference is that any provider that’s worth its weight will offer these things.
Comparing Provider A with Provider B is becoming increasingly difficult because they look more and more similar as technology advances. Adding a personal and human element to payment processing will be the difference-maker when trying to stand out from the competition, and merchants will find an overall increase in the quality of customer service as different providers try to prove their worth in 2022.
Trend 02: Ecommerce Isn’t Going Anywhere
The past two years have opened consumer’s eyes to the convenience of online shopping, and ecommerce has grown because of it. Providing a stellar online shopping experience for customers is easier and more critical than ever, and this will continue to be the case for 2022.
Fast-moving consumer goods like food and other consumables will also find more success online than before since consumer confidence in the security and legitimacy of ecommerce continues to grow. Ecommerce has been on the rise and shows no signs of slowing down, especially as new payment solutions and integrations make online shopping more convenient than brick-and-mortar alternatives.
Trend 03: Decentralized Networks and Crypto Will Enter the Mainstream
Cryptocurrency has been around for long enough that new and unique projects are moving towards the later stages of development. This means that we’ll soon see Bitcoin alternatives with more utility become easier to access and more beneficial for the everyday customer. Blockchain as a technology has stuck around in the periphery of the market, but 2022 might be its breakout year. Digital wallets are becoming more accessible, and ecommerce is growing increasingly crypto-friendly in the process. Soon, it’ll be as easy as entering your credit card information online, and possibly easier, to pay with cryptocurrency.
Trend 04: Merchant Services Will Be Frictionless
Frictionless Payments have been around for a while now at the consumer level, with digital payment solutions like Apple Pay solidifying their place in the industry. Smartphone apps, digital wallets, and contactless (tap) cards reduce barriers in the checkout process, resulting in higher customer retention and more sales.
The demand for speed and convenience has also trickled upwards to the merchant level, as merchants look to have quicker access to their money. A typical merchant account can take up to 3 business days to access the money from customer credit cards, which is incompatible with merchants’ increasing number of next-day funding requests. So, companies are jumping at the opportunity to offer a unique form of frictionless funding to merchants, giving them quick and easy access to their money. Much like frictionless payment solutions make the checkout experience easier and faster, frictionless merchant solutions will do the same for merchants looking to automate and gain instant access to funding. Evolve Payment has seen this firsthand with our merchants, and we offer multiple solutions to increase the speed at which our merchants get access to their money.
Trend 05: Brands Will Be Your Future Bank
Would you open an Amazon credit card if you received redeemable rewards for its store? Similarly, would you open a checking account with Amazon if you could pay for your purchases without having to enter any billing information? The answer for a growing number of consumers seems to be yes. Customer demand for convenience, speed, and simplicity while spending money has increased significantly, and integrations are breaking onto the scene that addresses this.
Embedded finance is a payment solution that’s grown in popularity over time as APIs become cheaper and more accessible for merchants. It’s a subsection of Bank as a Service, or BaaS. BaaS gives brands the ability to be banks, threatening traditional banks with obsoletion. Instead of paying with your Visa debit card that pulls from your existing checking account, why not open a Target debit card that provides discounted purchases on their online store? Embedded finance makes payment accessible and convenient for the customer while benefiting the brand by increasing loyalty and providing an additional revenue stream.
What's Driving These Trends?
The overarching pattern that influences these trends is that customers and merchants alike want speed, convenience, and customer service with their money. A merchant’s ability to provide a good shopping experience depends on a fluid checkout process and generous customer benefits like loyalty cards and payment integrations, which drive growth in online shopping over brick and mortar.
Similarly, merchants are looking towards automation and account alternatives that provide instant access to their money. Evolve Payment has experienced the start of these trends firsthand, and we’ve been setting our merchants up for success in anticipation of a formative 2022. If you’re interested in preparing for the next big thing in merchant services, reach out to our team, we’re always here to help.