The Use of Contact-free is Accelerating

At Consult Hyperion, we have already seen the pandemic accelerate the adoption of contact-free payments in the face to face environment as customers have become wary of catching COVID by touching shared devices, such as self-service terminals and PIN pads.  The use of personal devices for payments is hardly new but the attraction of an in-app/in-store version of mobile payments, whereby the consumer uses an app on their own device to interact with the retailer or service provider and pay for services, has just increased dramatically. Solutions for parking (RingGo) and for restaurants (like the Wahaca app, powered by Judopay) were already demonstrating the benefits of such an approach for customers and businesses before COVID struck.

The Pain of Enrolment

The irony of course, is that for our first interaction with a service, an app-based solution on our own device actually suffers from a lot of friction.  First, we have to find the app in the app store and download it, then we need to set up an account with some details and put in our payment details before we can actually use the app.  Hardly frictionless. Often the customer will find themselves needing to do this app set-up just at the point they are trying to pay, will give up and fall back to tried and trusted alternatives such as cards.

Enter iOS App Clips

Apple is introducing App Clips as a way to address this in iOS14.  An App Clip is a lightweight version of an app that downloads and installs very quickly.  These can be installed and run by scanning a QR Code, following a link or tapping an NFC tag.  Apple is also mandating the use of ApplePay for payments done within App Clips meaning that there will be no need to enter any payment details.  Furthermore, where an account is needed, perhaps for something like a bike share service, Apple is mandating Sign in with Apple, meaning manual entry of new account credentials will never be required.  This removes the friction of setting up an account but also ensures privacy as a unique user id is used for accounts, which makes sense given the assumption that App Clips will be used with service providers where a long term relationship is not always expected.  Where a customer later decides to install the full app and an account is required, they will simply use the account automatically set-up in the App Clip.

Google have a similar solution on Android called Google Play Instant.

The Start of a Journey

If such approaches gain traction, which is more likely as a result of the pandemic, this could lead to more use of in-app for in-store interactions.  As a result of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to get consumers to do more face to face payments in-app.  Not only does such an approach help us a little with returning to normal in a COVID-19 world, but it can also benefit business by improving the customer experience and increasing efficiency.   

If App Clips and Google Play Instant prove to be successful, these technologies could become a gateway for in-app/in-store solutions with the benefits to business and consumers that come from this.  Once in-store transactions go in-app, a new range of possibilities open up regarding how customers are serviced, potentially enabling new ways of doing business that combine the best of remote servicing with the best of the face to face / in-store experience.

About Consult Hyperion

For over 30 years Consult Hyperion has been helping clients understand the technology landscape in payments and identity.  We work with clients to design systems that increase security, simplify the customer experience, and improve effectiveness. If you would like to learn more about our expertise, heritage and background, take a look at www.chyp.com.

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