Paying for goods and services is a pretty simple process. Traditionally, we go to a store, restaurant, or wherever else, pick out what we want, bring it to the cash register and hand someone cash or a credit card. The person at the register then handles the payment, gives back any necessary change or receipt, and that’s about it. We’re on our way, and it only took about thirty seconds.
But in an age when we’ve grown used to finding information with a single voice command, sending messages with a few touches of a screen, and even purchasing goods online with a single click, thirty seconds is beginning to feel like a long time. We’re constantly striving for greater efficiency, and in most cases we’re getting it. Modern technology is increasingly reducing the amount of effort we put into day-to-day (and really moment-to-moment) practices. So naturally, we’re finding new, quicker ways to pay for our goods and services.
Perhaps the most common solution to the need (or let’s call it a desire) for quicker payments is the use of portable, simplified card swiping machines, which seem to be getting more popular in businesses of all shapes and sizes. Where these machines are concerned, WorldPay explains that the technology has an impact on various aspects of a business, whether it’s at the till, on the shop floor, or even out and about visiting customers. That alone represents a major step up in convenience for the customer. With portable card machines, the step of handing a card or cash over to an employee and waiting for processing is eliminated—the machine is simply in front of us, and we can swipe when we’re ready.
In some cases, the same types of machines are taken a step further as well, by offering what’s sometimes referred to as “contactless” payments. This basically means that the same portable card machines can accept swiped plastic cards and also scanned mobile apps that make use of systems like Apple Pay. More and more, we’ll be uploading our various credit cards (and even reward and gift cards) onto electronic payment services, and then scanning from there to make payments. This doesn’t actually shave off much extra time than using a credit card, but people nevertheless like the convenience of not having to carry their cards around anymore in the first place.
There have also been some efforts to make payments in stores and other businesses even more convenient for consumers. Perhaps most notably, Mobile Payments Today pointed out that some grocery chains have experimented with their own apps intended to let customers scan products in the aisles to pay for them. Basically, this eliminates the interactive nature of in-store payments altogether. This concept hasn’t really gained much traction, but it’s something that’s bound to be implemented in some types of businesses moving forward.
So basically, you should start getting used to paying on your own in one way or another. That of course sounds like a greater burden than it actually is. The point is that those pesky, aforementioned thirty seconds are being streamlined, and it won’t be long before your payments are going to be pretty much entirely up to you, either through flashing an app, scanning a barcode, or just swiping your own card.