Big data ‘could improve digital payments’

Among the growing number of applications businesses are find for big data within their organizations, many retailers could be able to use the innovations to improve their digital payment processes.

This is according to a new report from credit card provider Visa on the future of payments and their relationship with the latest technology. It was reported by Out-Law that the company has forecast the industry could move away from traditional card authentication and cardholder verification schemes in favor of a combination of “behavioral monitoring”, which could be used in combination with other solutions such as biometrics.

While many companies may already be familiar with the use of big data analytics to monitor customer buying behavior in order to inform their future strategies, Visa suggested that improvements in analytics tools could help make payments more convenient for consumers, while also guaranteeing a high level of security.

“Lying at the very centre of an authentication engine there could be a real-time scoring system, equipped with a complete profile of every customer,” the company stated in its report. “This would deduce whether each transaction is in character or not. It would calculate the attendant risks.”

Therefore, if the system determines a transaction is a routine payment that has been made many times before, or if an individual merchant has agreed to assume all the risk, it can decide there is no need for additional verification checks that could be time-consuming and frustrating for customers.

On the other hand, if the data analytics flag up more unusual activity, it can decide what extra authentication will be required to proceed.

In the coming years, Visa also predicted there will be a blurring of the physical and online spaces. On the internet, the need to remember login details could be removed, while in-store, systems using analytics of customer information can identify individuals and allow them to quickly choose an item and have it paid for automatically.

As a growing number of businesses are already turning to systems that can recognise customers and use existing customer loyalty data to serve up personalised marketing offerings when they walk into a store, it may only be a small step from this to other uses for this consumer information.

Visa commented: “If technology can recognise us and verify our identity without the need of any tokens, why bother with the risks or the inconvenience of carrying our payment credentials around with us in any form?”

However, such solutions would not be without their issues. The payments provider observed retailers would have to be prepared to take on the risks and liabilities associated with automatic payments, while they also need to answer questions about potential privacy implications in order to reassure their customers.

The payments industry also needs to pick up the pace of its evolution if it is to make the most of the new big data environment. Head of IT at Visa Europe Adam Banks said there is currently a shortage of skills to provide the expertise to make the most of insights gained from this innovation.