Self-Service and the Changing Payment Landscape

leadership_paulby Paul Burden

As mobile payment options grow and the credit card industry in the United States prepares for its biggest ever technological shift, self-service providers are faced with some important questions.

In the past year, the payment industry has shown such rapid change that it has been difficult for other sectors to respond swiftly to the advancements. From hardware to software, there seems to be an unending flow of new technology.

With Apple Pay growing exponentially and credit card companies getting set to roll out Integrated Circuit (IC) cards next year, it is increasingly difficult for companies to stay on top of these new trends and effectively provide for consumers a seamless experience.

Many companies rapidly react to these changes by implementing new technologies as quickly as possible; this requires drastic infrastructure overhauls along with major capital expenditures. More often than not, these reactionary measures can cause headaches for both the consumer and the seller.

This begs the question, is it worth being the first to implement a technology if consumer experience suffers? Is there a way to strike a balance – a way to effectively utilize new technology and enhance the consumer experience while also blazing a technological trail?

Most would agree that being first is not worth sacrificing your target customer’s overall experience. Retaining customers, after all, is hard enough without giving them an explicit reason to jump ship. So, how do we reconcile this dilemma? Enter patience and deliberation.

While it is true that responding quickly to market trends can attract a consumer’s attention in the crowded media landscape of today, it is also true that without ease-of-use and seamlessness, the consumer will abandon a solution and move on to the next best option. There are simply too many companies vying for their business.

For many, it is hard to find the perfect time to update or release a new technology that has the goal of effectively improving an experience. For others, it is simply hard to decide what new technology they need to use to efficiently solve the problem they are attempting to fix.

At Meridian, we know that consumers want the latest and greatest technology, but we also understand that it is critical to fully develop a solution before implementing it in real-world situations. While there are dozens of new technologies released each year, it is hard to determine immediately what trends will catch on. Knowing this, we observe trends in the payment industry closely to help us make better decisions that affect both our customers and the end users of our products.

Through this mindset, we have effectively created solutions that achieve the maximum utility possible in their respective areas. MzeroPay, for example, is a payment solution built on our MzeroPlatform software that supports both old and new forms of payment. By supporting outgoing magnetic stripe technology, MzeroPay will be able to communicate with any necessary components until the point at which they exit the marketplace. This, of course, is not an innovative capability.

mzero-payWhat makes MzeroPay different is its ability to traverse multiple payment options; whether it is Apple Pay, chip-based credit cards, PayPal, Google Wallet, or others, our payment solution can bridge any necessary components and create a seamless payment experience. With MzeroPay, merchants aren’t bound to choose between old and new technologies; even more, they are not bound to choose between customers using one technology or another.

Meridian has developed MzeroPay so that, in conjunction with our technology partners, we can assemble software and hardware solutions appropriately. Our software can then bring together these elements to aptly negotiate the complex playing field of payment. Further, Meridian’s MzeroPay brings together solutions that can traverse borders and regulatory environments.

Magnetic stripe technology will be around in until at least October 2015 in the U.S. After that, non-EMV-compliant merchants and issuers will assume liability for any fraudulent activity. Until then, many customers will not have made the change. MzeroPay seeks to give merchants offering self-service solutions the ability to comply and protect consumers while also retaining end users slow to adopt the new technology.

Allowing consumers to use any form of payment, regardless of the location, increases sales opportunities and boosts the possibility of repeat customers. Therefore, streamlining the payment process across various platforms is paramount in designing solutions for the evolving payment industry.