TECHNOLOGY

Study: Real-time payments on pace to replace payment card usage

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

As new real-time payments infrastructure continues to be adopted, payment card usage will eventually fall by the wayside.

Based on the operational and cost benefits of real-time processing and settlement of payments, a majority of retailers (77%) believe that this option will replace the use of payment cards over time, according to “2018 Global Payments Insight Survey: Merchants,” from ACI Worldwide.

This sentiment is echoed globally. Despite their reliance on plastic cards in the marketplace, 77% of companies in the United States agree that real-time payments will eventually replace payment cards. A whopping 100% of merchants in the Netherlands agree, following the country’s success with online banking payment schemes.

Seventy eight percent of merchants believe real-time payments can help lower costs, a more than 20% increase from 2017 (57%). Meanwhile, 78% of merchants now believe real-time payments will deliver improvements in customer service. This is up from 59% in 2017.

Retailers also expect real-time payments to deliver enhancements to their customer experiences (82%). In Asia specifically, 82% of merchants are most positive about real-time payments delivering enhancements to their customer experience. In India, Malaysia and Thailand, more than 90% hold this view.

Real-time payments are gaining more attention, especially as companies struggle to balance fraud, security and shopping conversion rates. For example, 61% of merchants believe they are at a greater risk of a data security breach than a year ago, while 22% experienced theft of data in the same timeframe. Companies in Europe have been impacted the most at 26%.

Even bigger than fraud losses, and chargebacks for that matter, are those caused by abandoned baskets (59%). The retail and digital goods sectors are most pragmatic about the realities of fraud risk (64%, respectively).

“Real-time payments and security are clearly top of mind for merchants today,” said Mike Braatz, senior VP, ACI Worldwide. “Driven by customers’ shifting preferences in how they purchase and the channels they purchase through, merchants are finding the need to improve the customer experience and operating efficiency to maintain a competitive edge now and in the future.”

The rollout of new real-time payments infrastructure in 2017, notably in the U.S., Australia and the Single Euro Payments Area [SEPA] zone in Europe, “has driven a marked change in attitudes among both merchants and consumers,” said Kieran Hines, head of industries, Ovum. “Where real-time was perhaps seen as a financial plumbing issue, it is now more widely viewed as the key to delivering a series of operational benefits.”

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Tex-Mex restaurant chain targeted in cyber-attack

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Chili’s is the newest victim of a data breach.

Tex-Mex restaurant chain Chili’s Grill & Bar, which is owned by Brinker International, was hit by cyber-thieves on Saturday, May 12. Hackers gained access to customer payment card information for customers who visited corporate-owned restaurants between March and April. Chili’s announced the data breach online and on social media the day after it was discovered.

According to Brinker International, malware was used to gather payment card information, including credit or debit card numbers and cardholder names, from Chili’s payment-related systems at certain restaurants. The company did not reveal how many customers were affected.

Upon learning about the incident, the company immediately activated a response plan, which included working with third-party forensic experts who conducted a thorough investigation. Law enforcement has been notified of this incident, and the company continues to fully cooperate, and assess the scope of the incident.

“We deeply value our relationships with our guests, and our priority remains doing what is right for them. We are committed to sharing additional information on this ongoing investigation,” Brinker International reported.

Chili’s operates more than 1,600 locations in 31 countries and two territories.

The Tex-Mex chain is the latest company to suffer a data breach. In April, Panera Bread, Best Buy, Sears Holdings, and stores across Hudson’s Bay Co.’s Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th, and Lord & Taylor brands all announced they were targeted in cyber-attacks.

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Study: ‘Bridge Millennials’ drive spending across apparel and accessories

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Maturing and more established Millennials are becoming increasingly appealing to retailers, especially those in apparel.

Americans across generations, including Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers, spend $400 billion on apparel and accessories annually, accounting for 8% of all retail spending in the United States. However, bridge Millennials, a mobile-centric group comprised of 30- to 40-year-olds, are spending more on apparel and accessories than any other generation, according to the “Connected Consumer Report,” from Pymnts.

Millennials make an average of 19.3 apparel and accessories purchases annually. The digitally savvy bridge Millennial segment leads these purchases based on their shopping journeys that happen both online and offline. In fact, 40% either went online to find and buy clothes, or perused in the store and then purchased online.

Ultimately, preferences across all groups come down to consumer-retailer interactions both in stores and online. Consumers value easy, accessible shopping across various channels, and 71% said they would purchase from a merchant that offered a more seamless and meaningful experience. Bridge Millennials are no different, as 25% of these online shoppers prefer Amazon. Meanwhile, 30% have switched to or tried a new merchant in the past 30 days.

Realizing that digital shopping, both online and in stores, has come to change the way consumers shop, “brick-and-mortar stores will need to focus on becoming more digitally efficient to attract and retain customers — especially the promising bridge Millennials generation,” the study said. “Retailers are now working to perfect that consumer engagement in an increasingly digital world, endeavoring to make the situation meaningful and give all generations an optimum shopping experience.”

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