More companies are cutting out the distributors from their retail ecosystem, to embark on setting up or growing out their direct to consumer channel, an existing trend that was turbocharged by the pandemic as companies sought to beef up their digital marketplaces. With more businesses getting involved in direct sales to the end customer, the technology underpinning the payment mechanisms of these transactions comes into sharp focus. An announcement from Verizon Business and Mastercard in the US has provided an insight as to how new technologies can enhance the global payments ecosystem and support businesses in their retail operations. The pair have announced a strategic partnership that they expect to drive transformational solutions for the global payments and commerce ecosystem.
From contactless shopping and autonomous checkout technology to Cloud Point of Sale (POS) solutions, Mastercard and Verizon Business will collaborate to deliver scalable innovations that drive the industry forward and create new experiences for businesses and consumers alike.
Enabling the next leap forward in payments
The two companies say they will work closely to unlock Internet of Things (IoT) sensor connectivity with near real-time edge computing to power the fintech, payments and banking industries, in addition to working to provide small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with hyper-automated and immersive commerce experiences. Specifically, their plans include the following developments:
Enabling smartphones or connected devices to seamlessly accept payment
Mastercard’s commitment to delivering contactless payments at scale will be coupled with Verizon 5G to turn certain connected devices into commerce-enabled devices. This includes Tap on Phone, which allows any business to deliver new contactless consumer experiences by turning qualifying smartphones into acceptance devices.
Unlocking touchless retail shopping experiences
Verizon 5G and Mobile Edge Computing will be integrated with Mastercard’s retail technology solutions to reduce hardware requirements for autonomous checkout in-store, with a goal of faster deployments and new use cases, such as mobile updates, voice and video ordering, and more.
Creating new ways to consume physical and digital goods
Verizon and Mastercard will collaborate to create a digitally motivated network that allows both firms to insert new, innovative solutions that can entice further personalised consumer shopping experiences. This includes potential use cases such as access control for unattended retail stores and home door lock.
Empowering small business digital readiness
Verizon and Mastercard will continue to explore ways that 5G mobility, business internet and near real-time edge computing can provide real time access to industry best practices customised for SMBs through Mastercard’s Digital Doors curriculum, helping businesses drive greater efficiencies and effectiveness in their online operations to meet customer needs.
Enhancing the bill pay experience for Verizon customers
Verizon will tap Mastercard’s Bill Pay Exchange real-time messaging network to enable enhanced, immediate communication between consumers and billers. Bill Pay Exchange will allow Verizon to streamline bills paid through digital banking channels, digitise paper bills and deliver a mobile-first solution, reducing costs and enhancing the payment experience for Verizon customers. Verizon will also leverage technology from Ethoca, a Mastercard company, to quickly identify and resolve fraud.
"Business needs and consumer demands constantly fluctuate," said Sampath Sowmyanarayan, CRO at Verizon Business. "Critical components of long-term success are the ability to remain agile and align with strategic financial and payments partners that have the tools and capabilities to drive industries forward."
Experimentation in NYC
At Mastercard’s New York City Tech Hub, located in the Flatiron District, Mastercard and Verizon will test and embed 5G to accelerate the pace of innovation and collaboration. Mastercard and Verizon say they plan to explore 5G and mobile edge computing technology and use cases, while also enhancing the overall experience for Mastercard employees.
"Emerging technology such as 5G and mobile edge computing will undoubtedly reshape how we interact with each other, making it all the more critical for these exchanges - particularly payments - to be trusted and anticipate further changes," commented Linda Kirkpatrick, president, North America at Mastercard. "Through this collaboration, Mastercard and Verizon’s platforms, which connect billions of consumers, businesses, banks and governments around the world, will be a force in driving transformational change."
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