Earlier this year, billionaire technology and entertainment entrepreneur Mark Cuban told CNBC he believes the next 10 years will produce the biggest technological revolution in history.
That’s a tall order, given how much technology has changed our lives in the last decade or so. From the iPhone and Facebook to Uber, Snapchat, Spotify, AirBnB, GoFundMe and Pinterest, it’s hard to imagine how we ever socialized or did business in the past.
Technology continues to shake up the payments landscape, too – which has credit unions and other financial institutions scrambling to keep pace.
According to Amy MacMullen, senior product manager at CO-OP Financial Services, “It’s a fast and furious world out there. Not only are credit unions grappling with fundamental new technologies, such as EMV, but they are also working hard to attract and retain younger members with products and services that appeal to these tech-savvy consumers.”
VR Shopping is Going Mainstream
Consider a recent blog post from Visa which reports that virtual reality (VR) technology and tools are expanding well beyond the realm of gaming and recreation and into commerce. These new innovations will soon allow consumers, for example, to try on clothing virtually – or experience a NASCAR race from the driver’s point of view, right behind the wheel.
In fact, the majority of these new commerce innovations will be supported by existing payment systems, MacMullen said, which means cards will remain the payment method of choice – with a twist.
Online retailers, and especially those that already have customer card data on file, will lead the way in offering not only new VR shopping experiences, but also a new generation of payment options featuring elements of VR.
“While this new era of payments will leverage technologies and systems that are already in place, consumers will be giving retailers permission to use their payment cards in a totally new way,” said MacMullen. She cites, for example, facial recognition technology, which will allow consumers to pay for items with a selfie, and future VR goggles that will enable users to “browse” a virtual shopping mall and order items with just a nod.
Shopping Meets the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) will radically change commerce as well, according to Visa. The payments processor said it is collaborating with tech firms to improve IoT convenience and security so that wearables, cars, appliances and other connected devices – estimated to number 20.8 billion in just three years – will become points of sale.
“I can see how that kind of connectivity will appeal broadly to consumers,” MacMullen said. As to what all of this might look like, she envisions gas pumps that communicate payment information directly with vehicles, and washing machines that automatically reorder detergent.
“All of this innovation is focused on improving the user experience,” she said. “And as long as these new payment options are easy, engaging and secure, a lot of people will give them a try.”